Welcome to the course website for Cultural Politics of Sport, taught at UCSD in the Communication department in Winter quarter 2014.

The class will explore the many ways sports matter in our cultural lives and affect (and are affected by) global politics.

Questions? Contact the course instructor, Dr. Sarah Rebolloso McCullough at smcc@ucsd.edu.

Basic Course Information

Time & Location of class: MWF 10-10:50 am in HSS 1128A

Office Hours & Location: Wed 11-1 pm in MCC 205


This is a class about how sport and athletic competition naturalize cultural dynamics of power. The class begins by considering why sport “matters” and how it can serve as a rich site for cultural analysis. We will then consider how the athletic body and “fitness” is culturally constructed historically. This material will not only serve as a basis for further investigation of the cultural resonance of sport, but also provide a theoretical framework for considering the Cultures of Sport Project. The course then examines the institutionalization of sports by looking at key sporting institutions, including the proliferation of certain popular sports, the Olympics, and alternative sports in the U.S. We will consider the role of nation, gender, race, sexuality, and ability in the production of sporting practices. These weeks will study how cultural values became part and parcel of what is ostensibly “just a game.” Given that the class will be happening during the Winter Olympics, we will capitalize on the coverage as a site for cultural analysis. The last weeks of the course will consider the role of technology, science, and performance, while also considering how our relationship to fitness continues to have a moral valence. Do we still cling to the idea that there are “better bodies” more fit for this nation or the globalized world than others?


A considerable portion of the material on this site came from Cathy Hannabach (with permission), who in turn grew her immense resources from many other gifted scholars and teachers. Thank you for your willingness to share!

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