AMCULT 103 - First Year Seminar in American Studies
Winter 2020, Section 006 - Race, Gender, Recreation, and Sport in Twentieth Century America
Instruction Mode: Section 006 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: American Culture (AMCULT)
Department: LSA American Culture
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


During the 2016 Summer Olympics, African American athletes Simone Biles, Simone Manuel, Michelle Carter, and Ashley Johnson made history by performing extraordinarily well at sports that white athletes normally dominated (gymnastics, swimming, shot put, and water polo, respectively). Commentators explained with excitement that these athletes were “firsts” in their respective sport and named all the ways in which they were exceptional. This course will examine the historical reasons why these black women are exceptional. For African Americans in particular, anti-black racism, sexism, and exclusion from leisure spaces (e.g., parks, gymnasiums, playgrounds, swimming pools) hindered full participation and mastery in sport and recreational programs. In the twentieth century, what one did, or was able to do, in one’s spare time became more than merely personal choice, but battles over women’s rights, civil rights, respectability politics, citizenship, and class status. Through the use of historical essays, photography, documentary film, podcasts, and newspapers, we will explore how certain sports and leisure activities became racialized and gendered in the twentieth century.

This is a first-year seminar—an opportunity for students to critically examine a topic and become familiar with the expectations of college-level intellectual engagement. To these ends, the course will use several formats to enable students to gain their intellectual footing including presentations, short writing assignments, posing questions, active learning activities, class discussion, and a take-home final exam.


AMCULT 103 - First Year Seminar in American Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
006 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
007 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

The partner U-M / Barnes & Noble Education textbook website is the official way for U-M students to view their upcoming textbook or course material needs, whether they choose to buy from Barnes & Noble Education or not. Students also can view a customized list of their specific textbook needs by clicking a "View/Buy Textbooks" link in their course schedule in Wolverine Access.

Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for AMCULT 103.006

View/Buy Textbooks


Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for AMCULT 103 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi

CourseProfile (Atlas)

The Atlas system, developed by the Center for Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (Atlas)