Rhetoric and Sports

R211 — Spring 2020

Justin Hodgson
Days and Times
9:30-10:45 TR
Course Description

The sports industry is a financial and cultural behemoth that regularly responds to significant ethical and legal situations with little more than sound-bytes from public relations executives or leading figureheads. Combine that with the limited federal oversight into the governance and function of these multi-billion dollar entities, the intensity of media coverage and investigation with regards to the athlete/celebrity figure, the diverse cultural backdrops in which athletes emerge (with issues ranging from race to privilege, class to exploitation), and the ever-present role of social media and self-branding, and what we are presented with is a petri dish of rhetorical situations, ecologies, homologies, and practices. Given this dynamic, this course will ask students to be more than mere sports fans—asking them to critically and creatively engage key sports issues, texts, artifacts, and moments in exploring the intersections of sports, rhetoric, and culture.

The grade for this course will be determined by some combination of class participation, blog/vlog posts, podcasts or video creations, short papers, and/or exams.

Course artifacts may include films (like Hoosiers, Green Street Hooligans, Warrior, League of the Own, etc.), selections from texts (Sperber’s Beer and Circus, Kissinger’s Friday Night Lights, etc.), as well as any number of print and online scholarly articles related to contemporary rhetoric, sports, and culture issues.