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American Culture Studies

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Topics in AMCS: Empire of Hoop: Basketball as American Culture

American Culture Studies 3025 - Spring 2020

"Yeah, I live here," basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar once said of America, "But it's not really my country." The same might be said of basketball; born in Massachusetts in 1891, the game is globally popular such that it belongs to everyone and no one. Since Dr. James Naismith invented it, basketball has been embraced as a progressive form of athletic expression by people across boundaries of race, gender, sexual orientation, and cultural heritage. Tellingly, the game serves social justice icons like Abdul-Jabbar just as surely as the forces of nationalism he rejected. In this course, we will consider the history, myths, and culture of basketball, and ask: What does basketball tell us about America and Americans? What does it obscure? Who benefits from the game? What are its consequences? From Naismith to Brittney Griner, pick-up ball to the Harlem Globetrotters, we will examine the cultural features of the game and reflect on its impact on millions of people, both in the U.S. & around the world.
Course Attributes: EN HBU HumBU BAAS HUMAS SD IFA HUMAR HUM

Section 01

Topics in AMCS: Empire of Hoop: Basketball as American Culture
INSTRUCTOR: Cohan
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