UI 435

Course Syllabus

Fall 2008


        Dr. Robert Hamblin, Professor of English, rhamblin@semo.edu, 573-651-2628

Catalog Description:

        The literary and sociological study of the role, both positive and negative, that sport plays in American society. 3 hours credit.

Interdisciplinary Nature of the Course:

        This course draws heavily upon the University Studies perspectives of Individual Expression (especially Literary Expression) and Human Institutions (Social Systems). The focus is upon the various ways that sport, both competitive and leisure, interrelates with the specific subject matter areas of literature, sociology, philosophy, history, economics, and psychology. Careful attention is paid to the University Studies upper-level subtheme, Integration of Knowledge: Living in an Interdependent Universe. Such integration is achieved largely by examining the various topics and interrelated disciplines in terms of functionalist and conflict theories of sport. Functionalist theorists argue that sports create and sustain feelings of good will and solidarity among members of a community or nation. Conflict theorists believe that sports, like other social orders, are based on exploitation and coercion, particularly with regard to gender, race, ethnicity, and social class. These contrasting theories form a unifying frame through which the relation of sport to all the various disciplines may be viewed.


        Completion of ninety hours, including the University Studies perspectives of Individual Expression, Social Systems, and Written Expression.


Basis of Student Evaluation:

Schedule of Class Activities

The professor reserves the right to make changes to this outline if need and circumstance dictate.

Note:  This is a web-supported class.  All students are expected to participate in both in-class and web-based activities.

August 25 – September 5

Introduction: “Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio” (handout)

Read the following stories in Sport Inside Out and discuss the stories on Forum.

“The Eighty Yard Run” (page 9)

“Roller Ball Murder” (p. 31)

“Fifty Grand” (p. 43)

“Ishmael in Arlis” (p. 174)

“The Coach Who Didn’t Teach Civics” (p. 680)

September 8 - 19

Complete the library assignment (due September 16).

Read Keeping Score and participate in the discussion of the book on Forum.  Submit answers to the study questions on the book (due date TBA).

September 22 – October 3

Read the following essays and participate in the discussions on Forum:

“The Sacred and the Secular” (p. 298)

“The Sort of Sacred, Sometimes Ritual” (p. 308)

“Religion in Sport” (p. 319)

“The Natural Religion” (p. 350)

"Wilderness Travel" (p. 363)

“Sacred Space, Sacred Time” (p. 725)

Write a personal essay on one of the topics selected from the Class Topics list (due October 2).  

October 6 - 24

Read The Celebrant and participate in the discussion of the book on Forum.  Submit answers to the study questions on the novel (due date TBA).

Send your instructor an e-mail message containing a topic proposal for your research paper.  Follow guidelines on the class handout.

October 27 – November 7

Read the following poems and participate in the discussions on Forum:

“The Poet Tries to Turn in His Jock” (p. 30)

“For the Death of Vince Lombardi” (p. 105)

“Night Game” (p. 108)

“To Wilt Chamberlain” (p. 399)

“Baseball and Writing” (p. 488)

“To an Athlete Turned Poet” (p. 490)

“The Double Play” (p. 491)

“Polo Grounds” (p. 714)

“On the Death of the Evansville University Basketball Team” (p. 750)

Work on your research paper.  Submit a working bibliography to your instructor via email attachment.

November 10 - 21

Read Friday Night Lights and participate in the discussion of the book on Forum.  Submit answers to the study questions on the book (due date TBA). 

Work on your research paper.  

November 24 – December 5

Read the following selections and participate in the discussions on Forum:

“The Interior Stadium” (p. 147)

“In Defense of the Competitive Urge” (p. 246)

“Baseball and the American Dream” (p. 267)

“Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu” (p. 400)
"Football Red and Baseball Green" (p. 716)

“Sport and Death” (p. 752)

December 8 - 12

Final summation and review.  Research paper due on December 8. 

December 15 – 18:  Final Exams week 

Course Topics List 
(for use in selecting topics for personal essay, panel presentation, and research paper)