Why do athletes keep getting better and better in both individual and team sports? Genetic development? Improved coaching and training? What about technology? Changes in athletes’ size, strength, speed, and skill need to be explained through both genetic change and environmental, social, and cultural variation—an evolutionary mix providing incisive markers of human embodiment, difference, learning, and creativity. Moving from the pre-historic origins of sport to today’s cybernetic enhancement of physical capacity, this course will focus on extraordinary athletic performance in the post-1900 United States and the world. The game of football—American football as well as what we call soccer—will receive close consideration. Coursework will culminate in a research project, methodologies for which include big data and video analysis.
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7:00 – 8:15 pm
4 credits, Humanities or Social Science distribution requirement