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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

English (ENGL)

ENGL 234 (GH) Sports, Ethics, and Literature (3) Exploration of social and ethical issues in sports through a variety of literary texts.

ENGL 234 Sports, Ethics, and Literature (3)

A passing glance at a newspaper sports page is enough to confirm how ethically fraught the sports world is. This course explores the ethical issues that arise in a culture of competition, and it uses a variety of literary texts to ground that exploration. It seeks to provide students with a nuanced understanding of how dependent sports are on narratives, and how a variety of ethical issues underwrite existing narratives about sports. With a focus on "the big three" (baseball, basketball, and football), the course has a U.S. focus but also has opportunities for students to write about other sports and in non-U.S. contexts. The course connects issues in literature to issues that arise in real time as the semester unfolds. Through the readings, students will develop a heightened awareness of how different a sport can look from the "inside," as an athlete or coach. The literature, that is, develops ethical imaginations and helps students think in a more complicated way about one of the most talked-about phenomena in American culture: athletics, at all levels. Units on baseball, basketball, and football focus on issues specific to those sports (e.g., the basketball unit features texts and discussions about Title IX and gender equity in sport; football on violence, injury, and athlete expendability. The course seeks to equip students to have more sophisticated conversations about sports issues, and to be more discerning as spectators and consumers of sports.

General Education: GH
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Spring 2015

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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