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CW 195 - [Special Topics] Players, Spectators & Fanatics: Writing on the Cultures of Sports

Fall 2018

This course covers various writing-related topics. Topics will change from semester to semester. The topic for Fall 2018 is Players, Spectators, & Fanatics: Writing on the Cultures in Sports. The unit value for Fall 2018 is 4 units.

Available in 
Fall and Spring
Fulfillment of both halves of the Reading and Composition Requirement, or permission of instructor.
Units and Format 
4 units
Grading Option 
Letter Grade





Class Number: 32304
Meeting time @ place:
TUTH 3:30pm - 5:00pm @ 110 Barrows Hall
Section Theme: Players, Spectators & Fanatics: Writing on the Cultures of Sports [Townsend Art of Writing]
Instructor: Ryan Sloan
Section Description:

This course is co-taught by Ryan Sloan and Michael Larkin. Co-sponsored by the Townsend Center Art of Writing series.

Sports do not build character – they reveal it. - John Wooden // Sport ... is war minus the shooting. - George Orwell

Whether you play, watch, or try to ignore it, sport is woven into our daily lives. In this class, we’re going to read some of the very best sports journalism with a critical lens. In so doing, we’ll examine intersections between business, race, culture, disability, gender, performance, technology, politics, social justice, and above all else attention to inquiry through thoughtful writing.

In what ways can each sport be considered its own culture, with distinct rituals, language, costumes, imagery and relationship networks?  How do we understand issues of fairness for college athletes in the age of massive broadcasting and apparel deals, when everyone seems to profit except the athletes? What constitutes “greatness” in the context of time, aging, and the marketing of self? And how do we start to understand the political, technological, and social trap that athletes find themselves in when asked to be role models and cultural symbols -- but not to speak out?

We'll have guest speakers, engage with interesting texts and video, have rich conversations -- and you’ll develop stronger analytical skills by writing in a variety of creative nonfiction genres on multimedia platforms.

Book List:

[Available at Campus Bookstore, University Press Books – and also used online]

Barthes, Roland.  What Is Sport?

Mark Kramer & Wendy Coll [ed]. Telling True Stories: a Nonfiction Writers’ Guide

Course Reader: bCourses [digital]