RCHUMS 334 - Special Topics in the Humanities
Section: 004 The Cultures of Basketball
Term: WN 2015
Subject: RC Humanities (RCHUMS)
Department: LSA Residential College
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

From the time of its invention in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891 as a means of cultivating Christian morals and progressive social values, the game of basketball has been inseparable from society, both here in the United States and Abroad. As the game grew in popularity, the ranks of players diversified in terms of gender, race and ethnicity and nationality, and with this diversification came often changes in styles of play. These changes often occasioned contentious debates, continuing even to this day, in the pages of rulebooks, training manuals, newspapers and magazines, popular media such as biography, autobiography and film, and even scholarly treatises. Within these debates we can identify certain recurrent patterns of assumptions, images, and narratives that attach themselves to particular players, teams, games, or eras—from James Naismith to LeBron James—and convey ideas about the nature of basketball, its tactical, moral and aesthetic characteristics, and its proper relationship to society. In this course we will study these patterns, which I call myths, investigating closely the shapes they take, the conditions under which they arose, the assumptions they make and the elements of social and basketball history they suppress. In doing so, we will place special emphasis on the examining the ways these narratives deal with race and ethnicity and with gender. We will also look at alternatives to these myths and experiment with creating ways of telling the story of basketball. After an initial exploration of the early development of the sport, our focus will be primarily on the National Basketball Association (NBA), but we at times will necessarily broaden the scope of our study.

Course Requirements:

In addition to active in-class participation based on careful reading of both primary and scholarly materials, students will be expected to complete several short projects (some traditional writing assignments and some more unconventional creative projects).

Intended Audience:

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Class Format:

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RCHUMS 334 - Special Topics in the Humanities
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
M 8:00PM - 10:00PM
W 7:00PM - 10:00PM
003 (SEM)
WF 2:30PM - 4:00PM
004 (SEM)
1RC Ugrd
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
007 (SEM)
M 2:00PM - 5:00PM
Note: Class will meet at the Detroit Center, as part of the Semester in Detroit.
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