Baseball in Comparative History (3) Comparative survey of baseball history from its beginnings to the present.
HIST 113 Baseball in Comparative History (3)
This course, which fulfills the International Cultures (IL) requirement, provides an introduction to comparative social history. It uses the broad cultural and geographic diffusion of baseball over time to examine the diverse and changing social, economic, and political meanings of this activity in different cultural settings, emphasizing the ways in which a common activity may acquire unique meanings in different cultures. Although North America, Cuba, and Japan demand attention as the most striking examples of baseball's pervasive impact, the course will consider baseball as a global phenomenon, exploring the minimal impact or failure of baseball promotions in many European and African societies, for example. As an introduction, the course will confine itself to English language texts, but it will use a wide range of primary sources, including newspapers and journals, memoirs, correspondence, promotional materials, and photographs to introduce students to basic concepts of historical method and problems of evidence. Students will be encouraged to consider baseball's impact in particular historical contexts as a cultural process, from the manner of its introduction through its adoption to the emergence of distinctive proprietary, even nationalist attitudes and styles of play. Among the many topics required of a survey, the course will return periodically to the question of American influence and US imperial aspirations. But the evidence of baseball games in other countries as sites of resistance or hostility to US power and as expressions of a potent nationalist politics raises questions about baseball's value for many conventional historical models of “empire” as a form of political or economic subordination. Students' assignments will require a combination of reading, writing, and research skills, and the course will introduce through lecture and discussion the variety of materials available at Penn State for the study of this subject.
Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.