This seminar is a 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? It includes the history of athletics in ancient Greece, Victorian England, and America, and in college, Olympic, and professional athletics. It will review athletic competition as a social, spiritual, educational, and commercial institution. We will also discuss the relation to the amateur ideal of recent trends in higher education, including democratization, internationalization, and rising cost. Requirements: Presentations in class based on weekly reading and current events, and a 10- page research paper due at the end of the seminar, 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 past years, students in this seminar have uncovered fascinating, untold stories about Harvard’s place in sports history.
Meeting time: Mondays, 1-3pm