Professional football player Tim Tebow publicly kneels in prayer before almost every game. Elite runner Mo Farah rescheduled his Ramadan fast in 2011 when the Muslim month of fasting coincided with the world championships. What happens when religion and sports meet? Can a sport really be a religion? This course will teach students how to think about sports as ritual that brings people together, divides them, and gives athletes the power to remake themselves through the way they use and talk about their bodies. We will first look at the ceremonial and ritual aspects of sports from the view of the spectator or fan, considering the question of whether sports teams are totems-- symbols of greater entities that communities gather around for identity and unity. Then we will look at the ritual aspect of sport from the viewpoint of the athlete, considering the ways that athletes use their bodies in sports to foster community and even spirituality. There will be a secondary focus on raising ethical questions through a discussion of case studies based on real events. Issues of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, age and disability will be prominently featured. There will be guest speakers- athletic and academic and at least one class visit to a sporting event. Sports discussed include but are not limited to American Football, Cricket, Futbo (Soccier), Lacrosse, Rowing, Basketball and Track & Field.
Section 301 - LEC
TR 1030AM-1200PM