Freshman Seminar 49y: Amateur Athletics

Fall 2013

The study of sports as a lens through which to explore social and ethical paradoxes of American life. Where did the amateur ideal come from, and does it make sense today? The history of athletics in ancient Greece, Victorian England, and America. College, Olympic, and professional athletics. Athletic competition as a social, spiritual, educational, and commercial institution. The relation to the amateur ideal of recent trends in higher education, including democratization, internationalization, and rising cost. Requirements: Short papers based on weekly readings and targeted questions, and one 10-page research paper due at the end of the course, with a draft due earlier. The research project will be on a topic of the student’s choosing related to the history and development of college sports. Students will learn to use the Harvard Archives, where in previous years students in this seminar have uncovered fascinating, untold stories about Harvard’s place in sports history. Students should also expect to be active discussants and engaged followers of current events, calling relevant news stories to the attention of their fellow students. 

Meeting time: Wednesdays, 1-3pm

Location: Maxwell Dworkin 323