Politics and Sports: Identity, Activism, and Political Economy
The course aims to introduce first year students to key themes, concepts, and issues in political science – power, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, nationalism, social movements, activism, and political economy – through the lens of sports and those who participate in them. Sport is often considered a microcosm for broader political, economic, and societal trends. At the same time, sport and those involved in it impact politics. As such, there is an increasing recognition of a two-way relationship between sports and politics. Numerous examples including the civil rights movement and Black Lives Matter protests in the US, apartheid boycotts against South Africa, the role of nationalism in the Olympics, soccer riots in England or Latin America, Title IX in the US, LGBTQ activism in sports, corruption in bidding processes of mega-sporting events, and the role of global corporations in professional sports are indicative of this two-way relationship between sports and politics. This interaction provides fertile and interesting ground to introduce students to key concepts, themes, and issues in political science. Each week, the course will actively integrate literature from multiple subfields in political science – in particular, comparative politics, development, and international political economy – with case studies related to sport. A significant portion of the course focuses substantially on issues of diversity and identity seen through the lens of sports including race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and nationalism.
Restricted to first-year students
Not eligible for CR/NCR option.
Format and Requirements
One two-hour seminar per week. Course requirements TBA.