Category Archives: syllabi

Sport and Society – Films and Documentaries!

The following is a collection of films, both fiction and non-fiction, that have been recommended for use in a Sport and Society course.
We encourage you to recommend additional films, readings to be used alongside the films, or tell us about your experience.

*Special thanks to the NASSS community for providing so many suggestions.

Sport Films (Non-fiction):

  • Go Tigers! (2001)
  • Jump! (2007) – Awesome jump rope documentary
  • Rocks with Wings (2002) (dir: Rick Derby)
  • 100% Woman:  the Michelle Dumaresq Story (2004)
  • Golden Gloves (or the Real Million Dollar Babies) (2007)
  • A League of Their Own (the documentary film) (1993)
  • Training Rules (2009) – It concerns the scandal around former Penn State Women’s Basketball Coach, Rene Portland. Maybe available on Hulu.
  • When We Were Kings (1996)
  • Playing Unfair (2002)
  • Chasing October
  • Football Under Cover
  • Pink Ribbons, Inc. (2011) – Samantha King
  • A Hero for Daisy (1999) – a documentary about Title IX and rowing
  • PBS series “American Experience” has an episode on Jesse Owens – you can screen it online.
    Ahead of the Majority – It covers Patsy Mink’s political career and includes a section on her involvement in the politics of Title IX.
  • Bigger, Stronger, Faster (2008) - examples of hegemonic masculinity and how the media influences males’ self-images (not just females, as is so commonly discussed).
  • Hoop Dreams (1994) – [can be combined with the chapter by C.L. Cole and Samantha King, “The New Politics of Urban Consumption: Hoop Dreams, Clockers, and America,” in Ralph C. Wilcox, ed., Sporting Dystopias: The Making and Meaning of Urban Sport Cultures, pp. 14, 221-246.]
  • Viva Baseball
  • Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (2004)
  • In Whose Honor
  • Not Just A Game (2010) – Dave Zirin provides a sociological analysis of how sport influences our society, particularly the parallels between the institution of sport and the military.
  • Pursuing the Perfect 10 – This was a CNN documentary that is available on YouTube in several parts. I used it as a review after lessons on youth sports and deviance in sports
    Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvMpy6kEOZM
  • An Enforcer’s Story – This is a documentary style video available in conjunction with a piece that ran in the NY Times about hockey enforcer Derek Boogaard’s death.
    Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/04/sports/hockey/derek-boogaard-a-boy-learns-to-brawl.html )
  • Murderball (2005) – documentary film about tetraplegic athletes who play wheelchair rugby. It centers on the rivalry between the Canadian and U.S. teams leading up to the 2004 Paralympic Games.
  • Junior –documentary that follows a Canadian Hockey League team from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League called Baie-Comeau Drakker
    http://www.nfb.ca/film/Junior_en
  • Head Games (2012) – related to concussion and sport.
  • More Than a Game – Documents the early career of the heralded LeBron James’ high school experiences.
  • FIT: Episodes in the History of he Body (1991). This focuses on the history of the how we understand a ‘fit’ body, including analysis related to race, social class, gender, disability and age.
  • The Journey of the African American Athlete” (Parts 1 and 2)
  • Blood on the Flat Track – documentary on the rat city roller girls
  • Sonicsgate: Requiem for a Team
  • Joe Louis – America’s Hero Betrayed
  • Two Days In April – follows four NFL prospects through the process of preparing for and participating in the 2006 NFL Draft
  • 4th and Goal – Tale of six men trying to make it to the NFL
  • Undefeated – Oscar-winning 2011 documentary directed by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin. The film documents the struggles of a high school football team, the Manassas Tigers of Memphis, as they attempt a winning season after years of losses.
  • Born and Bred – documentary following young latino boxers in LA
  • The Morgan Lacrosse Story (pbs) – This film tells the story of the nation’s first and only college lacrosse team at a historically black institution.
  • Gridiron & Steel – Western Pennsylvania and football
  • On the Shoulders of Giants – Story of the Harlem Rens
  • Bra Boys (2007) – A movie about a particularly hyper-masculine group of male surfers (the Bra Boys) in Sydney, Australia. A good example of a fratriarchal sporting group, and all the problematic aspects associated with such groupings. Can be used in conjunction with the critique from Clifton Evers in the Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/false-prophets-of-surfing-bastardise-our-beaches/2007/03/12/1173548110229.html
  • Dogtown and Z Boys (2001) – The development of skateboarding in Southern California, great for revealing subcultural dynamics.
  • First Descent (2005) – A history of snowboarding and insight into the gender and age dynamics within core action sport groups.
  • This Ain’t California (2012) – In German with English subtitles, but offers a fascinating perspective on the development of skateboarding (and youth counter cultures) in East Berlin during the 1980s.
  • STRONG! – an awesome new documentary on Cheryl Hayworth, Olympic weightlifter. It deals well with questions of athleticism, gender, and normativity. http://strongthefilm.com/
  • Offside (2006) – from Iran. Interesting to look at cross-cultural understandings and expressions of gender. It looks at how gender is used to define spaces of sport: specifically the soccer stadium.
  • Fearless (2012)  – about Sarah Burke and top athletes who risk their life for high performance sport
  • The Legacy of Brendan Burke (2010) – about Brendan Burke, homosexuality, hockey.
  • The Code (2010) – about hockey’s unwritten law of fighting and the men who live by it.
  • The Rise and Fall of Theo Flury – (Part 1, 2008) (Part 2, 2010), about sexual abuse, homosexuality, masculinity in Junior A hockey (and professional hockey)
  • The Other Final – Made by two Dutch filmmakers who were dismayed that the Dutch national team did not make the 2002 World Cup, they arranged to have the then two bottom-ranked (by FIFA), Bhutan and Montserrat,  to play a match.
  • A State of Mind (2004) – on the mass games in N. Korea.
  • Sumo East and West
  • The Game of Their Lives (2002) – by Daniel Gordon on the N. Korean 1966 World Cup Team.
  • Kokoyakyu: High School Baseball – On high school teams competing in Japan’s famous national “Koshien” tournament.
  • Tokyo Olympiad parts – great for considering how Japan sought to represent itself during the 1964 Games.
  • A Normal Life: Chronicle of a Sumo Wrestler (2009)
  • Gaea Girls (2000) – on female wrestlers in Japan.
  • Brighton Bandits (2007) - first ever in-depth documentary about a gay soccer team
    trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvKN3X_RCxY
  • Justin (2008) — about gay footballer Justin Fashanu and a campaign against homophobia
    trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_o1IEhRuiE&list=UUoLTOkSW0_Taj3iL9KTi44w&index=7
  • Algorithm (2012) – gorgeous film about blind chess players in India
    trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHVZD2yrb7k&list=UUoLTOkSW0_Taj3iL9KTi44w&index=5
  • River of Life –about the breast cancer survivor voyageur canoe team  ”Paddlers Abreast” competing in the Yukon River Quest wilderness canoe race – 740 kms/460 miles in three days. Available for purchase (about $20 or so) through the NFB of Canada and free here:  http://www.nfb.ca/film/river_of_life/

30 for 30 (ESPN series) – many documentaries that could be useful for teaching. 

Sport Films (Fiction):

  • Friday Night Lights
  • North Dallas Forty
  • Girlfight
  • Eight Men Out
  • The Fighter
  • Invictus
  • Sugar – You can use this to talk about sports migrants, race, and ethnicity
  • Bingo Long Traveling All Stars and Motor Kings
  • Varsity Blues
  • Coach Carter
  • Hurricane Season
  • Bend it Like Beckham
  • Chariots of Fire – discuss sport and early 20th century nationalism

 

 

Environmental Justice

172/365  I Want to See the World

With Earth Day fast approaching, we’re seeing more stories about climate change (for example, see this sighting) and other environmental issues.  While there are many ways to study our environment sociologically, courses about environmental justice are becoming more popular.  Here we share a syllabus graciously provided by David Pellow at the University of Minnesota.  The description for his course, Race, Class, and the Politics of Nature, is provided below.  You can download the syllabus here:  Race, Class, and the Politics of Nature.

The phenomenon known as environmental racism has made headlines during the last three decades, in large part because the movement for environmental justice has placed this issue on the public agenda. This course introduces students to the theoretical and historical foundations of environmental racism and environmental inequality. We will examine and interrogate both the social scientific evidence concerning these phenomena and the efforts by governments, residents, workers, and community activists to combat it. We will consider the social forces that create environmental inequalities so that we may understand their causes and consequences. We will also consider ideas and practices that may lead to (1) a more equitable social distribution of the costs and benefits of markets and (2) more ecologically sustainable forms of production and social organization. Students will be expected to master several social scientific theories and concepts related to the subject matter. In particular, we pay close attention to the ways in which the concept of race intersects with gender, class, citizenship, indigeneity, and nation in order to better understand how systems of power and inequality are constructed, reinforced, and challenged.

Social Movements Syllabus

Evil Chase?

The first of many roundtables on TSP explores how social scientists study social movements.  It would be a great complement to a discussion on social movements or a discussion of research methodology.  And, to give you more ideas on teaching social movements, Professor Ron Aminzade was kind enough to provide us with a syllabus he has used in the past.  The syllabus is from 2004, so adding this roundtable and some other new literature would be a good step.  Download it here!

Sociology 101

 

In need of some last minute ideas for your sociology 101 course?  Nathan Palmer has compiled a great set of lecture slides, activities, syllabi, and assignments that you can download for free!  Here is the link.

sociology of law and legal institutions syllabus

gavelIn the interest of maintaining a diversity of topics for instructors of sociology, I spent some time this week searching through syllabi for courses in the sociology of law. I came across one in particular that I thought offered a number of interesting readings and dealt with administrative issues and overall course structure quite well. The syllabus is designed for a course called ‘Sociology of Law and Legal Institutions‘ by Daniel John Steward of Oberlin College. The syllabus is available online. [Click here]

The course uses the following books, as well as additional online materials and journal articles outlined in the syllabus itself.

Balkin, Jack M. ed. 2002. What Brown v. Board of Education Should Have Said: The Nation’s Top Legal Experts Rewrite America’s Landmark Civil Rights Decision. New York, NY: New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-9890-X.

Friedman, Lawrence M. 2004. Law in America: A Short History. New York, NY: The Modern Library. ISBN 0-8129-7285-6.

Sutton, John R. 2001. Law/Society: Origins, Interactions, and Change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press. ISBN 0-7619-8705-3.

Stewart articulates the following objectives for the course:

Law will be examined as an institutionalized field of contests over the rules of social life. We will open the semester with readings on the historical development of core institutions such as courts, codes, constitutions, criminals, and counsellors. With this common ground, we will then turn our attention to some of the questions and concerns that sociologists (and other law & society scholars) raise with respect to these institutions. For example: To what extent can we use changes in legal form to understand changes in social relations? How do some legal rules acquire legitimacy for members of a society—and why are other rules ignored or despised? Do legal rules (and their enforcers) inevitably serve powerful political or economic interests—or does law have some autonomy? How do legal institutions enable and constrain movements for social justice? We will consider this last question through a study of the history of racial segregation in schools and the legal and cultural significance of Brown v. Board of Education. Over the course of the semester, students will be expected to:

  • Appreciate the challenge and complexity of living in accord with a rule of law.
  • Cultivate their legal literacy by approaching legal rules and institutions from several perspectives, including those of legal professionals, active citizens, and social critics.
  • Enhance their research and writing skills through the completion of a course notebook.

constructing the syllabus

Still not bright enoughFor many instructors, putting together a syllabus is the first (and often daunting) step toward a new teaching experience. A few years ago, at the American Sociological Association’s annual meetings, a panel on ‘Teaching Sociology for Beginners’ dealt with syllabus construction, among a number of other topics aimed to provide more resources for first-time instructors of introductory-level courses. The sociology department at the University of Buffalo has made some of these materials available electronically. 

Check out the links below.

course: sociological perspectives on race, class, and gender

Contexts Magazine graduate editorial board member Shannon Golden has offered a syllabus and in-class exercise to our readers for a course addressing ‘Sociological Perspectives on Race, Class, and Gender.’ The materials were developed as part of a course in the Sociology of Higher Education offered by Professor Ron Aminzade in the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota.

The syllabus:

  • For a semester-length course meeting twice weekly
  • Assignments include weekly media reaction papers as well as two longer papers, designed to be ‘writing-intensive’
  • The section devoted to ‘Course Dialogue’ provides a great example of how to encourage students to engage in respectful debate about controversial issues.  - A must-read for all first-time instructors.

In-class exercise:

  • Title: ‘A White African-American?’
  • Written scenario about whether a student typically identified as ‘White’ can be considered for an academic award aimed at recognizing accomplishments of African-American students
  • Provides discussion questions to get students talking about the scenario
  • Engages students in small group discussion
  • Based on an actual event, with some details modified

american race relations syllabus

Check out this great resource from Contexts Magazine Graduate Editorial Board Member Kristin Haltinner. This proposed syllabus was prepared as a part of the ‘Sociology of Higher Education’ graduate seminar taught by Professor Ron Aminzade in the department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota. 

Assets of this syllabus:

  • Outlines a community service learning (CSL) opportunity for students
  • Provides a number of well selected video clips for course topics
  • A great template for the section on ‘Course Expectations’
  • See the section on ‘Classroom Etiquette’ – especially helpful