Global Sports Cultures

Global Sports Cultures

(Fall 2015 Version)

Course Description

Playing, watching, and talking about sports is perhaps the most popular pastime around the world today.  Taking an astonishing variety of forms in different locales, sports and the images, metaphors, narratives, and values that spring up around sports weave themselves into the stories we tell about ourselves and our world, even when we don’t think we’re talking about sports.  In this course, we’ll study stories and images purveyed and consumed within sports culture around the globe.  We’ll be looking at what they tell us about how we think about such things as play, beauty, goodness, violence, money, sex, gender, race, and nations.

Course Goals

A.             Identify our existing relationships (e.g. understanding, feelings, attitudes, prejudices, material investments) with various aspects of global sports culture.

B.             Articulate our positions—honestly, thoughtfully, and clearly—on different issues in global sports culture.

C.             Become acquainted with, and to learn to use, a set of general concepts of analyzing global sports culture.

D.             Think critically and contextually about contemporary global sports culture and its relationship to various social histories and contemporary issues.

E.              Understand US sports culture in the context of historical and international cultural processes.

Course Schedule

Date: Focal Point: Read and Watch or Write and Post
9/7 Course Syllabus and Course Concept Map
9/13 C. L. R. James Post “9/14 Assignments Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Sunday, 9/13 at 9 pm
9/14 C. L. R. James ·       Ben Carrington and David L. Andrews, “Introduction: Sport as Escape, Struggle, and Art,” from A Companion to Sport (Oxford: Blackwell, 2013), pp. 1-16 [CTools & CourseBrain].

·       James, “Preface” and “The Window” from Beyond a Boundary (Durham: Duke University Press, 2013), p. xxvii and pp. 3-20 [also CTools].

9/14 C. L. R. James Post “9/14 Lecture Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Monday, 9/14 at 9 pm
9/18 Post first “Global Sports Chronicle” to CTools by Friday, 9/18 at 9 pm
9/20 Muhammad Ali Post “9/21 Assignments Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Sunday, 9/20 at 9 pm
9/21 Muhammad Ali 1.     Harvey Young, “Between the Ropes: Staging the Black Body in American Boxing” from Embodying Black Experience: Stillness, Critical Memory, and the Black Body (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2010), pp. 76-118 [CTools].

2.     Michael Ezra, “Introduction” and “Good People” from Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2009), pp. 1-3 and 135-197 [CTools].

3.     When We Were Kings (D. Leon Gast, 1996) [YouTube]

9/21 Muhammad Ali Post “9/21 Lecture Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Monday, 9/21 at 9 pm
9/27 Zinedine Zidane Post “9/28 Assignment Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Sunday, 9/27 at 9 pm
9/28 Zinedine Zidane 1.     “Zidane Headbutt Original Footage” [YouTube]

2.     David Rowe, “Stages of the global: Media, sport, racialization and the last temptation of Zinedine Zidane,” International Review for the Sociology of Sport (45.3 (2010): pp. 355-371 [CTools]

3.     Tony Karon, “The Head Butt Furor: A Window on Europe’s Identity Crisis,” Time July 13, 2006. [CTools]

4.     Dave Zirin, “The 2006 World Cup: The Politics of Play Personified” from Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics, and Promise of Sport (Chicago: Haymarket, 2007), pp. 91-104. [CTools]

5.     Jean-Philippe Toussaint, “Zidane’s Melancholy,”New Formations 62 (Autumn, 2007), pp. 12-13 [CTools]

9/28 Zinedine Zidane Post “9/28 Lecture Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Monday, 9/28 at 9 pm
10/2 Post second “Global Sports Chronicle” to CTools by Friday, 10/2 at 9 pm
10/4 Serena Williams Post “10/5 Assignment Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Sunday, 10/4 at 9 pm
10/5 Serena Williams 1.     Ben Rothenberg, “Tennis’s Top Women Balance Body Image With Ambition,” New York Times, July 10, 2015

2.     Claudia Rankine, “The Meaning of Serena Williams,” New York Times, August 25, 2015

3.     Claudia Rankine, “II” from Citizen: An American Lyric (Minneapolis: Graywolf, 2014), pp. 21-37.

4.     Jaime Schultz, “Reading the Catsuit: Serena Williams and the Production of Blackness at the 2002 U.S. Open,” Journal of Sport and Social Issues 29.3 (2005): pp. 338-357.

5.     Sheila Scraton and Anne Flintoff, “Gender, Feminist Theory, and Sport,” from A Companion to Sport, Edited by David L. Andrews and Ben Carrington (Oxford: Blackwell, 2013), pp. 96-111.


10/5 Serena Williams Post “10/5 Lecture Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Monday, 10/5 at 9 pm
10/11 Caitlyn Jenner Post “10/12 Assignment Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Sunday, 10/11 at 9 pm
10/12 Caitlyn Jenner 1.     “Arthur Ashe Award recipient: Caitlyn Jenner” (ESPN mini-documentary, 2015)

2.     Caitlyn Jenner, “ESPY Ashe Award Acceptance Speech” (2015)

3.     Elinor Burkett, “What Makes a Woman?” New York Times, June 7, 2015

4.     Vikki Krane and Katie Sullivan Barak, “Current Events and Teachable Moments: Creating Dialog About Transgender and Intersex Athletes,” Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance 83.4 (April 2012), pp. 38-43

5.     Nancy Theberge, “Gender and Sport,” from from Handbook of Sports Studies, Edited by Jay Coakley and Eric Dunning (London: Sage, 2006), pp. 322-333.

  Caitlyn Jenner Post “10/12 Lecture Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Monday, 10/12 at 9 pm
10/16 Post third “Global Sports Chronicle” to CTools by Friday, 10/16 at 9 pm
10/19 NONE –   Fall Break Consult discussion section instructors for this week’s plans.
10/23 Submit Comparative Essay by Friday 10/23 at 9 pm
10/25 Junior Seau Post “10/26 Assignment Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Sunday, 10/25 at 9 pm
10/26 Junior Seau 1.     Axel Gerdau, “An Excerpt From Sydney’s Seau’s Speech,” New York Times August 9, 2015

2.     “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis,” Frontline Documentary (PBS; 2013)

3.     Katie Rodgers, “’I was a Gladiator:’ Pain, Injury, and Masculinity in the NFL,” from The NFL: Critical and Cultural Perspectives, Edited by Thomas P. Oates and Zack Furness (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2014), pp. 142-159.

4.     Ivan Waddington, “Sport and Health: A Sociological Perspective” from Handbook of Sports Studies, Edited by Jay Coakley and Eric Dunning (London: Sage, 2006), pp. 408-421.

10/26 Junior Seau Post “10/26 Lecture Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Monday, 10/26 at 9 pm
10/30 Post fourth “Global Sports Chronicle” to CTools by Friday, 10/30 at 9 pm
11/1 Diego Maradona Post “11/2 Assignment Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Sunday, 11/1 at 9 pm
11/2 Diego Maradona 1.     Eduardo Galeano, selections from Soccer in Sun and Shadow (1995), Translated by Mark Fried (New York: Nation Books, 2013), pp. 15-50.

2.     Manu Chau, “Si yo fuera Maradona [If I Were Maradona” — song video, ft. Maradona (2008)

3.     “Si yo fuera Maradona” by Manu Chau (song lyrics)

4.     “Mano de dios [Hand of God] from the film Maradona by Kusturica (directed by Emir Kusturica, 2008)

5.     Eduardo P. Archetti, “The Spectacle of a Heroic Life: the Case of Diego Maradona,” from Sport Stars: The Cultural Politics of Sporting Celebrity, Edited by David L. Andrews and Steven J. Jackson (New York: Routledge, 2001), pp. 151-163.

6.     Barry Smart, “Global Sporting Icons” from A Companion to Sport, Edited by David L. Andrews and Ben Carrington (Oxford: Blackwell, 2013), pp. 513-531.

11/2 Diego Maradona Post “11/2 Lecture Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Monday, 11/2 at 9 pm
11/8 Monty Panesar Post “11/9 Assignment Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Sunday, 11/8 at 9 pm
11/9 Monty Panesar 1.     Matthew Beard, “Monty mania proves to be potent force for unity as Asian youths rush to emulate cricketing hero,” Independent, August 5, 2006

2.     “Monty is England’s Newest Poster Boy,” Hindustan Times, August 6, 2006

3.     Mike Walters, “From joke hero to cult hero…to sports personality of the year,” Daily Mirror, August 9, 2006.

4.     Daniel Burdsey, “Monty Panesar and the New (Sporting) Asian Britishness,” from A Companion to Sport, Edited by David L. Andrews and Ben Carrington (Oxford: Blackwell, 2013), pp. 548-563

5.     Dominic Malcolm, selections from Globalizing Cricket: Englishness, Empire, and National Identity (London: Bloomsbury, 2013)

11/9 Monty Panesar Post “11/9 Lecture Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Monday, 11/9 at 9 pm
11/13 Post fifth “Global Sports Chronicle” to CTools by Friday, 11/13 at 9 pm
11/15 Yao Ming Post “11/16 Assignment Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Sunday, 11/15 at 9 pm
11/16 Yao Ming 1.     Year of the Yao (Directed by Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern; 2004) (link is to part 1 of 5: view all 5 parts)

2.     Brook Larmer, “The Center of the World” Foreign Policy 150 (Sep-Oct, 2005), pp. 66-74.

3.     C. Richard King, “Anti-Asian (American) Sentiment in Sport,” Journal of Sport & Social Issues 30.4 (2006), pp. 340-352

4.     Chih-ming Wang, “Capitalizing the big man: Yao Ming, Asian America, and the China Global,” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 5.2 (2004), pp. 263-278.

  Yao Ming Post “11/16 Lecture Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Monday, 11/16 at 9 pm
11/22 March Madness Post “11/23 Assignment Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Sunday, 11/22 at 9 pm
11/23 March Madness 1.     Seth Davis, “Prologue” from When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball (New York: Holt, 2010), pp. 1-9.

2.     Taylor Branch, “The Shame of College Sports,” Atlantic Monthly (October 2011)

3.     Derek Van Reenen, “Exploitation in college sports: Race, revenue and educational reward,” International Review for the Sociology of Sport 48.5 (2012): 550-571

4.     Billy Hawkins, “Chapter 2: The New Plantation Model,” “Chapter 9: Athletic Reform and Decolonization” and “Conclusion” from The New Plantation: Black Athletes, College Sports, and Predominantly White NCAA Institutions (New York: Palgrave-MacMillan, 2007), pp. 42-55, 158-190.

11/23 March Madness Post “11/23 Lecture Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Monday, 11/23 at 9 pm
11/29 Tommie Smith & John Carlos Post “11/30 Assignment Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Sunday, 11/29 at 9 pm
11/30 Tommie Smith & John Carlos 1.     Salute (Directed by Matt Norman, 2008)

2.     Dave Zirin, selections from A People’s History of Sports in the United States (New York: The New Press, 2008), pp. 156-175.

3.     Eric Zolov, “The Harmonizing Nation: Mexico and the 1968 Olympics” from In the Game: Race, Identity, and Sports in the Twentieth Century, Edited by Amy Bass (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2005), pp. 191-217.

4.     Allen Guttman, “6. The Olympic Games,” from Games and Empires: Modern Sports and Cultural Imperialism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), pp. 120-138.

11/30 Tommie Smith & John Carlos Post “11/30 Lecture Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Monday, 11/30 at 9 pm
12/4 Post sixth “Global Sports Chronicle” to CTools by Friday, 12/4 at 9 pm
12/6 Post “12/7 Assignment Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Sunday, 12/6 at 9 pm
12/7 Free Running 1.     “After Banksy: The Parkour Guide to Gaza” (2015)

2.     Sara Sorcher, “Palestinian Parkour — Video” New York Times, October 13, 2010

3.     Alec Wilkinson, “No Obstacles,” The New Yorker, April 16, 2007

4.     Casino Royale — Opening Scene (Directed by Martin Campbell; 2006)

5.     Paula Geyh, “Urban Free-Flow: A Poetics of Parkour,” in MC Journal: A Journal of Media and Culture 9.3 (July 2006)

6.     Michael Atkinson, “Parkour, Post-sport and the Essence of Being” from A Companion to Sport, Edited by David L. Andrews and Ben Carrington (Oxford: Blackwell, 2013), pp. 359-374.

12/7 Free Running Post “12/7 Lecture Quotes and Notes” to CTools by Monday, 12/7 at 9 pm
12/16 Submit Collaborative Video by Wednesday 12/16 at 9 pm
12/18 Submit Research Story by Friday 12/18 at 9 pm

Course Format and Resources

A.             Course format

I’ve designed the course to work like a delicious, healthy meal, a good outfit, or a symphony: each course component serves a unique purpose and is complemented by other components.  Therefore, to get the most out of it you should fully engage with every component.  Course meetings include lectures (once per week) and discussion sections (twice per week).  I expect each of you to attend every scheduled lecture as well your discussion section every time it meets (see Course Requirements and Grading Policy below).

B.             Course Resources

1.              Besides your instructors and one another, your course resources include a variety of reading and viewing materials. Some are required, some are recommended, and some are simply supplementary reference materials. All of these are available in electronic format via both the course CTools site and on TheBrain, an interactive, online course concept map that I’ve created (see below).

2.              Course Concept Map I have created an interactive, online course concept map (a/k/a The Brain) at that is free and accessible to the public, including all of you. You do not need to download free or paid software or have an account on the site in order to use it.  Just click on the link above and the course concept map will open in your browser.  Instructions for how to use it will appear in the lower half of your browser window.  You may access all required course materials via the course concept map.

3.              Course Materials on CTools The CTools site for course section 001 (the lecture). In the “Resources” tab on the left you’ll find dated folders within which you’ll find files or links to all the required and recommended materials for the course.

4.              Each of your instructors has also created a CTools site for your individual discussion section.  There you’ll use some combination of “Forums” and “Assignments” to share work with them and with your classmates, as well as to read each other’s works. Your discussion section instructor will go over this in detail the first day and you’ll also find more detailed instructions about these assignments below in VI. Course Requirements and Grading Procedures below)

5.              Follow the Course on Twitter I’ve also created a Twitter account for the course that I will be using to publicize news items and events of interest to the course.

Course Requirements and Grading Procedures

Each and every day this semester each of you will be making choices in this course: whether or not to do the reading, show up for class, turn off your cell phone, check your writing for typos one more time.

As you make these decisions, if you consider nothing else, please consider two things:

1) someone is paying a shit ton of money so that you can have the luxury of making these decisions;

2) each and every decision will either help your mind and self to grow stronger or cause it to atrophy and become useless.

So, you make the call.

A.             Attendance

The stuff most important to your learning will be done in class: watching, reading, thinking, talking and listening together with your classmates and instructors.

Think of our class as a team. We each have to show up. We each will have to discover our roles and play them to the best of our ability for each of us individually and our class as a whole to succeed in meeting our goals.

Attendance means showing up for every lecture, and each of your scheduled discussion section meetings, in accordance with the University of Michigan Student Class Attendance Policy.

B.             Attention

Can you learn anything if you are not paying attention? Really? Well, actually you’re wrong: many studies have demonstrated that you can’t.  But so what, right? If you aren’t learning anything, that’s your business, right? Well, no, wrong again: many studies have also shown that in group settings one person’s failure to pay attention affects the learning capacities of others.

1.              Attention means:

a)              Your cell phone is turned off and put away when you get into class. If this becomes a problem we will collect them at the beginning of class and return them at the end.

b)              You are only using electronic devices like laptops, tablets, or readers for class purposes. All other applications are closed and the device itself is closed and put away when you are not viewing assigned materials.

c)               You are quiet when others are speaking and you are actively listening with your full attention and respect and with an open mind to whomever is speaking.

d)              Imagine an athlete you respect: texting, posting to social media, or checking e-mail in the middle of a game? Or joking with others while a teammate or coach was giving instructions?  Would that be okay?  Exactly.

2.              Attention will be graded as part of your participation grade as described below.

C.              Participation

The heart of this class will be conversation, in lecture but especially in discussion section and what you get out of them will depend in part on what you put into them and in part on what your classmates put into them.

Because you have prepared for class and paid attention and have a heart and a brain you will always have feelings, opinions and thoughts.

Participation means having the courage—regardless of whatever insecurities you have—and the respect for yourself, those who have helped you get to college, your classmates and your instructors to share honestly and thoughtfully the feelings, opinions and thoughts that you’ve had as you prepared for class or in the course of a class meeting.

D.             Reading and Watching

I’ve put a lot of thought into identifying course materials and I’ve spent a lot of time gathering them and rendering them available to you.  That’s okay, because that’s my job and because I enjoy it.

Your job is to put just as much time into reading or watching these assigned materials and just as much thought into considering their significance and impact and into preparing yourself to discuss them with classmates.

Think of your engagement with these materials as an opportunity to widen our conversation to include some really smart and interesting people on a subject (sports) that you care a whole lot about. Who wouldn’t want that? And who wouldn’t pay full attention in that conversation?

1.              A list of required reading and viewing appears in section “VII. Course Schedule” below as well as on the course concept map here.

2.              You are to read and/or watch all required assignments before lecture on the Monday they are due.

3.              You can find all required reading and viewing materials (either as PDF files or as weblinks) in two places:

a)              On the course CTools site: go to “Resources,” open the folder with the appropriate date. and open the folder in that called “Assigned Readings.” Inside you’ll find files and links.

b)              On the course concept map: activate the “Schedule” thought, then activate the thought for the date in question, then activate the “Required Resources” thought for that date.  You’ll find each of the required assignments linked there and each will be accompanied by some brief notes to help you orient yourself.

4.              As you read or watch, I recommend taking notes.  Even if you only jot down or underline or somehow flag or bookmark passages or images that especially impacted you, that will help you enormously with your in class participation as well as in composing your Quotes and Notes and even in conceiving and completing your papers.

E.              Quotes and Notes

“Quotes and Notes” is the name I gave to the two-part journaling assignment for the course.  At a most basic level, they are way of making sure you are putting in the minimal effort of attending lecture (“Lecture Quotes and Notes”) and looking at the required materials (“Assignments Quotes and Notes”).

But they also serve other purposes.  They will encourage you to spend a bit of time both collecting and articulating your feelings and thoughts about the lecture and the assigned materials.

Because you have to share them with the class on CTools, you’ll likely put at least a bit of effort into clarifying them for yourself and your classmates.  Because of this, you will also have a chance to see what your classmates are thinking, which may in turn clarify your own thinking or spark new lines of thought.

They can serve as points of departure, inspirations or even basic raw materials for some of your other assigned activities like the collaborative media project, the comparative essay, or the research story.

As I say, they are in two entirely separate parts so you have no responsibility to relate them to one another: “Lecture Quotes and Notes” and “Assignments Quotes and Notes”.  Here’s how they work:

1.              “Assignment Quotes and Notes”

a)              Do the assigned reading or viewing and take notes as you do so.

b)              Select a quotation from the assigned reading or viewing that impacted you especially strongly: it could be something that moved you, that you had never thought of, that you thought was put especially well, that you disagreed or agreed with, that angered or upset you.

c)               Briefly tell why you selected the quote you chose and describe its impact on you. I don’t care about how polished or long your note is. I do care that you do it and that you do it with total honesty and candor.

d)              Post your quote and note with your name as a “New Conversation” within the appropriate “Topic” in the “Forums” section of your discussion section CTools website.

e)              Read your classmates’ quotes and notes.

2.              “Lecture Quotes and Notes”

a)              Attend lecture and take notes as you do so.

b)              Select a quotation from the notes that impacted you especially strongly: it could be something that moved you, that you had never thought of, that you thought was put especially well, that you disagreed or agreed with, that angered or upset you.

c)               Briefly tell why you selected the quote you chose and describe its impact on you. I don’t care about how polished or long your note is. I do care that you do it and that you do it with total honesty and candor.

d)              Post your quote and note with your name as a “New Conversation” within the appropriate “Topic” in the “Forums” section of your discussion section’s CTools website.

e)              Read your classmates’ quotes and notes.

F.              Global Sports Chronicle

The Global Sports Chronicle is one of the ways in which you practice using the concepts and skills you’re developing in the course by engaging with real world examples of global sports cultures outside the classroom.  Through this assignment you’ll deepen your engagement with some aspect of global sports cultures and exercise your ability to think critically and independently.   Here’s how it works:

1.              You choose either

a)              a global sport (excluding American men’s professional and amateur football, basketball, baseball or hockey—but anything else goes, including any of these sports if they are either played by women or played outside the US) or

b)              or any international daily publication (online is acceptable; consult your instructors if you would like suggestions)

2.              You will follow your sport or publication on a daily basis throughout the semester (so choose carefully).  By “follow” I mean that you will spend 15 minutes per day, every day of the week, reviewing current news items about your sport or reviewing the sports page of the international daily publication you’re following.

3.              You will take notes on what you encounter in your daily 15 minute review.

4.              Once every two weeks, beginning Friday, September 18th  (but excluding Friday, November 27th), you will post to CTools a 250-500 word account of what most struck you during the past two weeks, why it struck you and why you think the rest of us should care.

G.             Collaborative Media Project (Due, Wednesday, December 16, 9 pm; 15 %)

Visual media is an increasingly important element of global sports cultures.  For your collaborative media project you are doing to demonstrate your understanding of global sports cultures by creating your own example of global sports culture.  Athletes can be among the most creative individuals in our culture, so let yourself be inspired by the combination of imagination, courage, effort and attention to detail that mark the world’s most creative athletes!  Here’s how this will work:

1.              You must work in a group with at least two other classmates.

2.              Your video can take any form, but it should express your understanding of the visual dimensions and possibilities of global sports cultures.

3.              The length should be whatever is necessary to your chosen form.

4.              All forms should include a concluding segment in which you explain what you were aiming for, what it has to do with visual global sports cultures, and how you tried to meet your aims.

5.              Some possibilities for form:

a)              Teach me your sport. Make a brief instructional video in which you show how to execute a particular skill or move that you consider especially representative of a sport of your choosing.

b)              Interview a classmate or your section instructor.

c)               Parody some existing visual genre in global sports culture. Some of these genres include

(1)             The post-game athlete interview

(2)             The expert hot-take roundtable

(3)             The product advertisement

(4)             The public service announcement

(5)             The play by play + color analyst broadcast

(6)             The youtube highlight reel (official or unofficial)

H.             Comparative Essay

Just by expanding the scope of our study of sports from the US to the world, we invite the possibility for recognizing that sports cultures are different around the world, and with the recognition of difference, we invite the possibility of comparison.

However, unlike comparison in everyday life—especially in sports, we aren’t really interested in determining whether one thing is better than another.  Instead, we are using comparison as an investigative instrument by which we shed new and unexpected light on each of two things and on the relationship between them by comparing them to one another.

In that sense, we think of comparative analysis as a kind of “lens” that allows us to see something we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.  For example, comparing a cricket pitch to a baseball diamond might help you to better see any number of things about the two sports (the physics underlying them, the specific challenges and skills players must develop in each, or the ways in which cultural values get expressed through the rules of sport):  these things might be more visible when you look at the sports side by side than if you looked at either one in isolation.

Encountering difference is an inevitable part of our human existence. Learning to identify, appreciate and reflect upon difference in a constructive way is an important intellectual and life skill. Here’s how this works:

1.              Choose any two sporting phenomena (a sporting phenomenon could be a team, an individual player, a rule, a sport, a moment or play, an event or a contest, or a sport-related news item or other media object).

2.              Write a paper of no less than 5 typed, double-spaced pages in which you should show:

a)              Comparability: Why and how these two phenomena are comparable

b)              Analytical Value: What your comparison has taught us about each of them and about the relationship between them that we might not have seen without the benefit of your comparison.

c)               Interest: Why we should care that we can now see this

I.               Research Story

At the heart of everything we do in a university is a commitment to the individual and collective importance of expanding our knowledge and understanding of our selves, each other, and the world through open inquiry and the free exchange of ideas.

What drives our ability to fulfill that promise is curiosity.  Curiosity begins with a humbly acknowledged experience of wonder and uncertainty and then takes the form of questions.  Remember the incredible ability to generate questions that you had as a child: why is the sky blue? Where do we come from? How many stars are there? Will I still be me when I’m big?  It’s the same force at work in what we do in the university.

Furthermore, we can think of questions as sparking quests, like heroic quests, in which we travel out from the familiar ground of what we have always known and journey, encountering obstacles and aids in the course of our adventure.  We may or may not get to our destination in the sense of a final, definitive answer to our question, but we surely will have acquired valuable experience, learned a great deal, and have some stories to share.  Here’s how this works:

1.              Here’s how this works:

a)              Discover an open-ended question provoked by a figure, event, concept, story, passage, argument, theme or image you’ve encountered in the course (it can even be something that you dealt with in your quotes and notes, your global sports chronicle, your collaborative video, or your comparative essay).  Use the kinds of questions you asked as a kid to guide you in choosing your question.

b)              Do research to explore that what others have had to say about your question.

(1)             Cite at least three sources.

(2)             One of the three must originally have been published in print form (though you are permitted to consult and cite it in its electronic form).

(3)             No more than one of the three can be a required reading or video from the course.

c)               Tell me (in 7-10 typed, double spaced pages) the story of your question, where it came from, why it matters to you, your quest to understand more about it, and what you’ve learned about the topic, yourself, others, the world, and knowledge and storytelling in the process.

d)              It’s an adventure, like many you’ve already undertaken in your life in and out of school.  So draw upon what you know about how to have adventures: 

(1)             use your imagination 

(2)             be resourceful

(3)             be smart

(4)             be brave

(5)             have fun.

Academic Integrity

I expect this not to be an issue.  But I want to emphasize that in an intellectual community like a university, plagiarism is a form of stealing.  If you are in doubt as to whether or not you should cite a source for a quotation or idea you are including your written work, my suggestion is that you cite the reference.  You will never be penalized for “over-citation.”  If you are caught plagiarizing, you will be asked to meet with me to discuss the issue and to determine what consequences and further procedures may be required.

For more on plagiarism, please consult the following website which contains links to excellent explanations of plagiarism and why it is so harmful to a university community as well as tips to help you avoid it: