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Always an Athlete
Jenne Blackburn
University of Tennessee Press, 2023
Always an Athlete is a comprehensive study of the ways in which athletes climb what author Jenné Blackburn terms “The Mountain”—the journey from youth sports, through high school and college sports, to, finally, professional, and Olympic sports. This steady climb and success over a long period of time, however, sets up athletes for an inevitable fall off “The Cliff” upon their retirement from competition.
            To help athletes in transition, Blackburn identifies “Three Pillars of the Cliff”—Mental Health, Physical Health, and Athlete Identity—and describes the issues that athletes have in each of these areas after they retire. After training, sacrificing, and devoting years, even decades, to a sport, athletes at every level will struggle within these three pillars. Blackburn believes that athletes must evolve from a competition mindset to a wellness mindset and match their new lifestyles in order to soften this transition into the real world. Fortunately, the “Inner Athlete” honed over many years of training and competition can show up as a “Parachute” as athletics recede, and other priorities rise to the forefront of their new life.
            Ultimately, Blackburn proposes cycling as a foundation and universal tool to help retired athletes resolve a lingering loss of identity, mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, and complications due to unchanged diet and exercise habits when they transition out of a performance-purposed existence. She advocates for fun community bike rides adjacent to sporting events and franchises to bring sports communities together around this critical yet overlooked topic for all athletes: life after competitive sports.

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Baltimore Sports
Stories from Charm City
Daniel A. Nathan
University of Arkansas Press, 2016

To read a sample chapter, visit

Baltimore is the birthplace of Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the incomparable Babe Ruth, and the gold medalist Michael Phelps. It’s a one-of-a-kind town with singular stories, well-publicized challenges, and also a rich sporting history. Baltimore Sports: Stories from Charm City chronicles the many ways that sports are an integral part of Baltimore’s history and identity and part of what makes the city unique, interesting, and, for some people, loveable.

Wide ranging and eclectic, the essays included here cover not only the Orioles and the Ravens, but also lesser-known Baltimore athletes and teams. Toots Barger, known as the “Queen of the Duckpins,” makes an appearance. So do the Dunbar Poets, considered by some to be the greatest high-school basketball team ever.

Bringing together the work of both historians and journalists, including Michael Olesker, former Baltimore Sun columnist, and Rafael Alvarez, who was named Baltimore’s Best Writer by Baltimore Magazine in 2014, Baltimore Sports illuminates Charm City through this fascinating exploration of its teams, fans, and athletes.


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Baseball as Mediated Latinidad
Race, Masculinity, Nationalism, and Performances of Identity
Jennifer Domino Rudolph
The Ohio State University Press, 2020
In her incisive study Baseball as Mediated Latinidad: Race, Masculinity, Nationalism, and Performances of Identity, Jennifer Domino Rudolph analyzes major league baseball’s Latin/o American players—who now make up more than twenty-five percent of MLB—as sites of undesirable surveillance due to the historical, political, and sociological weight placed on them via stereotypes around immigration, crime, masculinity, aggression, and violence. Rudolph examines the perception by media and fans of Latino baseball players and the consumption of these athletes as both social and political stand-ins for an entire culture, showing how these participants in the nationalist game of baseball exemplify tensions over race, nation, and language for some while simultaneously revealing baseball as a practice of latinidad, or pan-Latina/o/x identity, for others. By simultaneously exploring the ways in which Latino baseball players can appear both as threats to American values and the embodiment of the American Dream, and engaging with both archival research and new media representations of MLB players, Rudolph sheds new light on the current ambivalence of mainstream American media and fans towards Latin/o culture.

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The Baseball Film
A Cultural and Transmedia History
Aaron Baker
Rutgers University Press, 2022
Baseball has long been viewed as the Great American Pastime, so it is no surprise that the sport has inspired many Hollywood films and television series. But how do these works depict the game, its players, fans, and place in American society?
This study offers an extensive look at nearly one hundred years of baseball-themed movies, documentaries, and TV shows. Film and sports scholar Aaron Baker examines works like A League of their Own (1992) and Sugar (2008), which dramatize the underrepresented contributions of female and immigrant players, alongside classic baseball movies like The Natural that are full of nostalgia for a time when native-born white men could use the game to achieve the American dream. He further explores how biopics have both mythologized and demystified such legendary figures as Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson and Fernando Valenzuela.
The Baseball Film charts the variety of ways that Hollywood presents the game as integral to American life, whether showing little league as a site of parent-child bonding or depicting fans’ lifelong love affairs with their home teams. Covering everything from Bull Durham (1988) to The Bad News Bears (1976), this book offers an essential look at one of the most cinematic of all sports.

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Black Sporting Resistance
Diaspora, Transnationalism, and Internationalism
Joseph N. Cooper
Rutgers University Press, 2025
In recent years, there has been increased attention towards activism in sporting spaces. A vast majority of these contributions have focused on intra-nation tensions and impact. Yet, there is a dearth of scholarship that has engaged in a theoretically grounded analysis of how Black sportspersons have exhibited resistance in and through sport across national borders across time, space, and context. In this text, Joseph N. Cooper introduces the Black Sporting Resistance Framework (BSRF) as an analytic lens to examine how resistance actions in and through sport have contributed to the advancement of local and global racial justice efforts. Key concepts such as African (Black) diaspora, transnationalism, internationalism, sporting resistance typology, and sport activism typology are incorporated throughout the book. Black sporting resistance is also analyzed alongside broader social movements such as the Black Liberation Struggle, Black Nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and Black Radicalism. Insights on the ways in which sport can be used to advance social justice in the future are presented.

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Body Factory
Exploiting University Athletes' Healthcare for Profit in the Training Room
Kaitlin Pericak
Temple University Press, 2025
A university’s athletic training room is meant to care for and heal college athletes and ensure they are receiving the help they need. Although sports medicine staff members are sincere in their goal of centering athletes and providing the best healthcare possible, organizational constraints affect their approach. Chief among them is the pressure sports medicine staff members feel to keep athletes from profit-generating sports healthy enough to perform.

Body Factory enters an NCAA Division I athletic training room to examine the disconnect between what the NCAA states as its goal of athlete healthcare and what is actually happening. Kaitlin Pericak conducts observations in this space and interviews injured athletes and sports medicine staff members to show how institutional control over “best interests” often ends up exploiting the individual athlete. The influences at work are part of a neoliberal paradigm that explains why interest in an athlete’s care is greatly diminished once they are injured and can no longer play.

Body Factory considers how race, gender, and health before and after injury are deciding factors in these university training centers. The bureaucratic organization has a goal of maintaining power to generate profit, and Pericak shows this is almost always at the expense of the athlete.

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The Boxing Film
A Cultural and Transmedia History
Travis Vogan
Rutgers University Press, 2021
As one of popular culture’s most popular arenas, sports are often the subject of cinematic storytelling. But boxing films are special. There are more movies about boxing, by a healthy margin, than any other sport, and boxing accompanied and aided the medium’s late nineteenth-century emergence as a popular mass entertainment. Many of cinema’s most celebrated directors—from Oscar Micheaux to Martin Scorsese—made boxing films. And while the production of other types of sports movies generally corresponds with the current popularity of their subject, boxing films continue to be made regularly even after the sport has wilted from its once-prominent position in the sports hierarchy of the United States. From Edison’s Leonard-Cushing Fight to The Joe Louis Story, Rocky, and beyond, this book explores why boxing has so consistently fascinated cinema and popular media culture by tracing how boxing movies inform the sport’s meanings and uses from the late nineteenth century to the early twenty-first century.

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Break Point
Two Minnesota Athletes and the Road to Title IX
Sheri Brenden
University of Minnesota Press, 2022

How two teenage girls in Minnesota jump-started a revolution in high school athletics

Peggy Brenden, a senior, played tennis. Toni St. Pierre, a junior, was a cross country runner and skier. All these two talented teenagers wanted was a chance to compete on their high school sports teams. But in Minnesota in 1972 the only way on the field with the boys ran through a federal court—so that was where the girls went. Break Point tells the story, for the first time, of how two teenagers took on the unequal system of high school athletics, setting a legal precedent for schools nationwide before the passage of Title IX.

As Peggy’s younger sister, author Sheri Brenden is uniquely positioned to convey the human drama of the case, the stakes, and the consequences for two young women facing the legal machinery of the state, in court and in school. In an account that begins with Peggy painstakingly typing her appeal to the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union and concludes with a long view of what Brenden v. Independent School District 742 set in motion, Sheri Brenden summons the salient details of this landmark case as it makes its way through the courts. Peggy and Toni, coaches, administrators, and experts testify before Judge Miles Lord, whose decision, upheld in a precedent-setting appeal, would change these girls’ lives and open up athletic opportunities for innumerable others.

Grounded in newspaper coverage, court records, and interviews, Brenden’s deeply researched, scrupulously reported book is at heart the story of two talented teenage girls whose pluck and determination—and, often, heartache—led to a victory much greater than any high school championship.


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Canyon, Mountain, Cloud
Absence and Longing in American Parks
Tyra A. Olstad
Oregon State University Press, 2021
What do we seek and what do we find when we visit parks and protected areas? What does it mean to become so deeply attached to a beautiful, wild place that it becomes part of one’s identity? And why does it matter if a particular landscape doesn’t speak to one’s soul?

Part memoir and part scholarly analysis of the psychological and societal dimensions of place-creation, Canyon, Mountain, Cloud details the author’s experiences working and living in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Denali National Park and Preserve, Adirondack State Park, and arctic Alaska. Along the way, Olstad explores canyons, climbs mountains, watches clouds, rafts rivers, searches for fossils, and protects rare and fragile vegetation. She learns and shares local natural and cultural histories, questions perceptions of “wilderness,” deepens her appreciation for wildness, and reshapes her understanding of self and self-in-place.

Anyone who has ever felt appreciation for wild places and who wants to think more deeply about individual and societal relationships with American parks and protected areas will find humor, fear, provocation, wonder, awe, and, above all, inspiration in these pages.

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Changing on the Fly
Hockey through the Voices of South Asian Canadians
Courtney Szto
Rutgers University Press, 2021
Winner of the NASSS Outstanding Book Award

Hockey and multiculturalism are often noted as defining features of Canadian culture; yet, rarely are we forced to question the relationship and tensions between these two social constructs. This book examines the growing significance of hockey in Canada’s South Asian communities. The Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi broadcast serves as an entry point for a broader consideration of South Asian experiences in hockey culture based on field work and interviews conducted with hockey players, parents, and coaches in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. This book seeks to inject more “color” into hockey’s historically white dominated narratives and representations by returning hockey culture to its multicultural roots. It encourages alternative and multiple narratives about hockey and cultural citizenship by asking which citizens are able to contribute to the webs of meaning that form the nation’s cultural fabric.

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The Chinese Communist Youth League
Juniority and Responsiveness in a Party Youth Organization
Konstantinos Tsimonis
Amsterdam University Press, 2021
The Chinese Communist Youth League is the largest youth political organization in the world, with over 80 million members. Former Chinese President Hu Jintao was a firm supporter of the League, and believed that it could play a bigger role in winning the hearts and minds of Chinese youth by actively engaging with their interests and demands. Accordingly, he provided the League with a new youth work mandate to increase its capacity for responsiveness under the slogan 'keep the Party assured and the youth satisfied'. This original investigation of the hitherto-unexamined organization uses a combination of interviews, surveys and ethnography to explore how the League implemented Hu’s mandate at both local and national levels, exposing the contradictory nature of some of its campaigns. By doing so, it also sheds light on the reasons for Xi Jinping’s turn against the League during his first term in office. The Chinese Communist Youth League: Juniority and Responsiveness in a Party Youth Organization develops the original concept of ‘juniority’ to capture the complex ways that generational power is institutionalized, alienating young people from official political processes, with significant implications for China’s political development. The book will be of interest to researchers and students of Chinese politics, as well as to scholars of comparative youth politics and sociology.

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City Games
The Evolution of American Urban Society and the Rise of Sports
Steven A. Riess
University of Illinois Press, 1989
Comprehensive and thoughtful, City Games looks at the complex interrelationship and interdependency between sport and the city. Steven A. Riess shows how demographic growth, evolving special arrangements, social reform, the formulation of class and ethnic subcultures, the expansion of urban government, and the rise of political machines and crime syndicates all interacted to influence the development of sports in the United States.

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Contesting Identities
Sports in American Film
Aaron Baker
University of Illinois Press, 2003

 Analysis of race, class and gender in American sports films

Since the earliest days of the silent era, American filmmakers have been drawn to the visual spectacle of sports and their compelling narratives of conflict, triumph, and individual achievement. In Contesting Identities Aaron Baker examines how these cinematic representations of sports and athletes have evolved over time--from The Pinch Hitter and Buster Keaton's College to White Men Can't Jump, Jerry Maguire, and Girlfight. He focuses on how identities have been constructed and transcended in American society since the early twentieth century.

Whether depicting team or individual sports, these films return to that most American of themes, the master narrative of self-reliance. Baker shows that even as sports films tackle socially constructed identities like class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender, they ultimately underscore transcendence of these identities through self-reliance.

Looking at films from almost every sporting genre--with a particular focus on movies about boxing, baseball, basketball, and football--Contesting Identities maps the complex cultural landscape depicted in American sports films and the ways in which stories about "subaltern" groups winning acceptance by the mainstream majority can serve to reinforce the values of that majority.

In addition to discussing the genre's recurring dramatic tropes, from the populist prizefighter to the hot-headed rebel to the "manly" female athlete, Baker also looks at the social and cinematic impacts of real-life sports figures from Jackie Robinson and Babe Didrikson Zaharias to Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan.


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Crossing Parish Boundaries
Race, Sports, and Catholic Youth in Chicago, 1914-1954
Timothy B. Neary
University of Chicago Press, 2016
Controversy erupted in spring 2001 when Chicago’s mostly white Southside Catholic Conference youth sports league rejected the application of the predominantly black St. Sabina grade school. Fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, interracialism seemed stubbornly unattainable, and the national spotlight once again turned to the history of racial conflict in Catholic parishes. It’s widely understood that midcentury, working class, white ethnic Catholics were among the most virulent racists, but, as Crossing Parish Boundaries shows, that’s not the whole story.
            In this book, Timothy B. Neary reveals the history of Bishop Bernard Sheil’s Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), which brought together thousands of young people of all races and religions from Chicago’s racially segregated neighborhoods to take part in sports and educational programming. Tens of thousands of boys and girls participated in basketball, track and field, and the most popular sport of all, boxing, which regularly filled Chicago Stadium with roaring crowds. The history of Bishop Sheil and the CYO shows a cosmopolitan version of American Catholicism, one that is usually overshadowed by accounts of white ethnic Catholics aggressively resisting the racial integration of their working-class neighborhoods. By telling the story of Catholic-sponsored interracial cooperation within Chicago, Crossing Parish Boundaries complicates our understanding of northern urban race relations in the mid-twentieth century.

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Dads, Kids, and Fitness
A Father's Guide to Family Health
Marsiglio, William
Rutgers University Press, 2016
Now more than ever, American dads act as hands-on caregivers who are devoted to keeping themselves and their families healthy. Yet, men are also disproportionately likely to neglect their own health care, diets, and exercise routines—bad habits that they risk passing on to their children. 
In Dads, Kids, and Fitness, William Marsiglio challenges dads to become more health-conscious in how they live and raise their children. His conclusions are drawn not only from his revealing interviews with a diverse sample of dads and pediatric healthcare professionals, but also from his own unique personal experiences—as a teenage father who, thirty-one years later, became a later-life dad to a second son. Marsiglio’s research highlights the value of treating dads as central players in what he calls the social health matrix, which can serve both healthy children and those with special needs. He also outlines how schools, healthcare facilities, religious groups, and other organizations can help dads make a positive imprint on their families’ health, fitness, and well-being.  
Anchored in compelling life stories of joy, tragedy, and resilience, Dads, Kids, and Fitness extends and deepens public conversation about health at a pivotal historical moment. Its progressive message breathes new life into discussions about fathering, manhood, and health.

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Dangerous Fun
The Social Lives of Big Wave Surfers
Ugo Corte
University of Chicago Press, 2022
A thrilling ethnography of big wave surfing in Hawaii that explores the sociology of fun. 

Straight from the beaches of Hawaii comes an exciting new ethnography of a community of big-wave surfers. Oahu’s Waimea Bay attracts the world’s best big wave surfers—men and women who come to test their physical strength, courage, style, knowledge of the water, and love of the ocean. Sociologist Ugo Corte sees their fun as the outcome of social interaction within a community. Both as participant and observer, he examines how mentors, novices, and peers interact to create episodes of collective fun in a dangerous setting; how they push one another’s limits, nourish a lifestyle, advance the sport and, in some cases, make a living based on their passion for the sport. 
In Dangerous Fun, Corte traces how surfers earn and maintain a reputation within the field, and how, as innovations are introduced, and as they progress, establish themselves and age, they modify their strategies for maximizing performance and limiting chances of failure. 
Corte argues that fun is a social phenomenon, a pathway to solidarity rooted in the delight in actualizing the self within a social world. It is a form of group cohesion achieved through shared participation in risky interactions with uncertain outcomes.  Ultimately, Corte provides an understanding of collective effervescence, emotional energy, and the interaction rituals leading to fateful moments—moments of decision that, once made, transform one’s self-concept irrevocably.   

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DC Sports
The Nation's Capital at Play
Chris Elzey
University of Arkansas Press, 2015
Washington, DC, is best known for its politics and monuments, but sport has always been an integral part of the city, and Washingtonians are among the country’s most avid sports fans. DC Sports gathers seventeen essays examining the history of sport in the nation’s capital, from turn-of-the-century venues such as the White Lot, Griffith Stadium, and DC Memorial Stadium to Howard-Lincoln Thanksgiving Day football games of the roaring twenties; from the surprising season of the 1969 Washington Senators to the success of Georgetown basketball during the 1980s. This collection covers the field, including public recreation, high-school athletics, intercollegiate athletics, professional sports, sports journalism, and sports promotion.

A southern city at heart, Washington drew a strong color line in every facet of people’s lives. Race informed how sport was played, written about, and watched in the city. In 1962, the Redskins became the final National Football League team to integrate. That same year, a race riot marred the city’s high-school championship game in football. A generation later, race as an issue resurfaced after Georgetown’s African American head coach John Thompson Jr. led the Hoyas to national prominence in basketball.

DC Sports takes a hard look at how sports in one city has shaped culture and history, and how culture and history inform sports. This informative and engaging collection will appeal to fans and students of sports and those interested in the rich history of the nation’s capital.

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The Making of a Sporting Mexican Diaspora
José M Alamillo
Rutgers University Press, 2020
Spanning the first half of the twentieth century, Deportes uncovers the hidden experiences of Mexican male and female athletes, teams and leagues and their supporters who fought for a more level playing field on both sides of the border.  Despite a widespread belief that Mexicans shunned physical exercise, teamwork or “good sportsmanship,” they proved that they could compete in a wide variety of sports at amateur, semiprofessional, Olympic and professional levels. Some even made their mark in the sports world by becoming the “first” Mexican athlete to reach the big leagues and win Olympic medals or world boxing and tennis titles.
These sporting achievements were not theirs alone, an entire cadre of supporters—families, friends, coaches, managers, promoters, sportswriters, and fans—rallied around them and celebrated their athletic success. The Mexican nation and community, at home or abroad, elevated Mexican athletes to sports hero status with a deep sense of cultural and national pride. Alamillo argues that Mexican-origin males and females in the United States used sports to empower themselves and their community by developing and sustaining transnational networks with Mexico. Ultimately, these athletes and their supporters created a “sporting Mexican diaspora” that overcame economic barriers, challenged racial and gender assumptions, forged sporting networks across borders, developed new hybrid identities and raised awareness about civil rights within and beyond the sporting world.

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Dominican Baseball
New Pride, Old Prejudice
Alan Klein
Temple University Press, 2014

Pedro Martínez. Sammy Sosa. Manny Ramírez.  By 2000, Dominican baseball players were in every Major League clubhouse, and regularly winning every baseball award. In 2002, Omar Minaya became the first Dominican general manager of a Major League team. But how did this codependent relationship between MLB and Dominican talent arise and thrive? 


In his incisive and engaging book, Dominican Baseball, Alan Klein examines the history of MLB's presence and influence in the Dominican Republic, the development of the booming industry and academies, and the dependence on Dominican player developers, known as buscones. He also addresses issues of identity fraud and the use of performance-enhancing drugs as hopefuls seek to play professionally.


Dominican Baseball charts the trajectory of the economic flows of this transnational exchange, and the pride Dominicans feel in their growing influence in the sport. Klein also uncovers the prejudice that prompts MLB to diminish Dominican claims on legitimacy. This sharp, smartly argued book deftly chronicles the uneasy and often contested relations of the contemporary Dominican game and industry. 


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Entre Nous
Between the World Cup and Me
Grant Farred
Duke University Press, 2019
In Entre Nous Grant Farred examines the careers of international football stars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, along with his own experience playing for an amateur township team in apartheid South Africa, to theorize the relationship between sports and the intertwined experiences of relation, separation, and belonging. Drawing on Jean-Luc Nancy's concept of relation and Heideggerian ontology, Farred outlines how various relationships—the significantly different relationships Messi has with his club team FC Barcelona and the Argentine national team; Farred's shifting modes of relation as he moved between his South African team and his Princeton graduate student team; and Suarez's deep bond with Uruguay's national team coach Oscar Tabarez—demonstrate the ways the politics of relation both exist within and transcend sports. Farred demonstrates that approaching sports philosophically offers particularly insightful means of understanding the nature of being in the world, thereby opening new paths for exploring how the self is constituted in its relation to the other.

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The Eternal Present of Sport
Rethinking Sport and Religion
Daniel A. Grano
Temple University Press, 2017
In his persuasive study The Eternal Present of Sport, Daniel Grano rethinks the sport-religion relationship by positioning sport as a source of theological trouble. Focusing on bodies, time, movement, and memory, he demonstrates how negative theology can be practically and theoretically useful as a critique of elite televised sport.
Grano asserts that it is precisely through sport’s highest religious ideals that controversies are taking shape and constituting points of political and social rupture. He examines issues of transcendence, “legacy”—e.g., “greatest ever,” or “all-time”—and “witnessing” through instant replay, which undermine institutional authority. Grano also reflects on elite athletes representing especially powerful embodiments of religious and social conflict, including around issues related to gender, sexuality, ability doping, traumatic brain injury, and institutional greed. 
Elite sport is in a period of profound crisis. It is through the ideals Grano analyzes that we can imagine a radically alternative future for elite sport.

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Euphoria and Exhaustion
Modern Sport in Soviet Culture and Society
Edited by Nikolaus Katzer, Sandra Budy, Alexandra Köhring, and Manfred Zeller
Campus Verlag, 2010

The architects of the Soviet Union intended not merely to remake their society—they also had an ambitious plan to remake the citizenry physically, with the goal of perfecting the socialist ideal of man. As Euphoria and Exhaustionshows, the Soviet leadership used sport as one of the primary arenas in which to deploy and test their efforts to mechanize and perfect the human body, drawing on knowledge from physiology, biology, medicine, and hygiene. At the same time, however, such efforts, like any form of social control, could easily lead to discontent—and thus, the editors show, a study of changes in public attitude towards sport can offer insight into overall levels of integration, dissatisfaction, and social exhaustion in the Soviet Union.


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A Fan's Life
The Agony of Victory and the Thrill of Defeat
Paul Campos
University of Chicago Press, 2022
A lifelong sports fanatic plumbs the depths of the fan mindset, tracking the mania from the gridiron to the national political stage and beyond.

The Pass. The Curse. The Double Doink. A sports fan’s life is not just defined by intense moments on a field, it’s scarred by them. For a real fan, winning isn’t everything—losing is. The true fans, it’s said, are those who have suffered the most, enduring lives defined by irrational obsession, fervid hopes, and equally gut-wrenching misery. And as Paul Campos shows, those deep feelings are windows not just onto an individual fan’s psychology but onto some of our shared concepts of community, identity, and belonging—not all of which are admirable. In A Fan’s Life, he seeks not to exalt a particular team but to explore fandom’s thorniest depths, excavating the deeper meanings of the fan’s inherently unhappy life.
A Fan’s Life dives deep into the experience of being an ardent fan in a world defined more and more by the rhetoric of “winners” and “losers.” In a series of tightly argued chapters that suture together memoir and social critique, Campos chronicles his lifelong passion for University of Michigan football while meditating on fandom in the wake of the unprecedented year of 2020—when, for a time, a global pandemic took away professional and collegiate sports entirely. Fandom isn’t just leisure, he shows; it’s part of who we are, and part of even our politics, which in the age of Donald Trump have become increasingly tribal and bloody. Campos points toward where we might be heading, as our various partisan affiliations—fandoms with a grimly national significance—become all the more intense and bitterly self-defining. As he shows, we’re all fans of something, and making sense of fandom itself might offer a way to wrap our heads around our increasingly divided reality, on and off the field.

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The Fast Track
Inside the Surging Business of Women's Sports
Jane McManus
Temple University Press, 2025

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Fit Nation
The Gains and Pains of America's Exercise Obsession
Natalia Mehlman Petrzela
University of Chicago Press, 2022
How is it that Americans are more obsessed with exercise than ever, and yet also unhealthier? Fit Nation explains how we got here and imagines how we might create a more inclusive, stronger future.

If a shared American creed still exists, it’s a belief that exercise is integral to a life well lived. A century ago, working out was the activity of a strange subculture, but today, it’s almost impossible to avoid exhortations to exercise: Walk 5K to cure cancer! Awaken your inner sex kitten at pole-dancing class! Sweat like (or even with) a celebrity in spin class! Exercise is everywhere.

Yet the United States is hardly a “fit nation.” Only 20 percent of Americans work out consistently, over half of gym members don’t even use the facilities they pay for, and fewer than 30 percent of high school students get an hour of exercise a day. So how did fitness become both inescapable and inaccessible?

Spanning more than a century of American history, Fit Nation answers these questions and more through original interviews, archival research, and a rich cultural narrative. As a leading political and intellectual historian and a certified fitness instructor, Natalia Mehlman Petrzela is uniquely qualified to confront the complex and far-reaching implications of how our contemporary exercise culture took shape. She explores the work of working out not just as consumers have experienced it, but as it was created by performers, physical educators, trainers, instructors, and many others.

For Petrzela, fitness is a social justice issue. She argues that the fight for a more equitable exercise culture will be won only by revolutionizing fitness culture at its core, making it truly inclusive for all bodies in a way it has never been. Examining venues from the stage of the World’s Fair and Muscle Beach to fat farms, feminist health clinics, radical and evangelical college campuses, yoga retreats, gleaming health clubs, school gymnasiums, and many more, Fit Nation is a revealing history that shows fitness to be not just a matter of physical health but of what it means to be an American.

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Frank Merriwell and the Fiction of All-American Boyhood
The Progressive Era Creation of the Schoolboy Sports Story
Ryan K. Anderson
University of Arkansas Press, 2015
Gilbert Patten, writing as Burt L. Standish, made a career of generating serialized twenty-thousand-word stories featuring his fictional creation Frank Merriwell, a student athlete at Yale University who inspired others to emulate his example of manly boyhood. Patten and his publisher, Street and Smith, initially had only a general idea about what would constitute Merriwell’s adventures and who would want to read about them when they introduced the hero in the dime novel Tip Top Weekly in 1896, but over the years what took shape was a story line that capitalized on middle-class fears about the insidious influence of modern life on the nation’s boys.

Merriwell came to symbolize the Progressive Era debate about how sport and school made boys into men. The saga featured the attractive Merriwell distinguishing between “good” and “bad” girls and focused on his squeaky-clean adventures in physical development and mentorship. By the serial’s conclusion, Merriwell had opened a school for “weak and wayward boys” that made him into a figure who taught readers how to approximate his example.

In Frank Merriwell and the Fiction of All-American Boyhood, Anderson treats Tip Top Weekly as a historical artifact, supplementing his reading of its text, illustrations, reader letters, and advertisements with his use of editorial correspondence, memoirs, trade journals, and legal documents. Anderson blends social and cultural history, with the history of business, gender, and sport, along with a general examination of childhood and youth in this fascinating study of how a fictional character was used to promote a homogeneous “normal” American boyhood rooted in an assumed pecking order of class, race, and gender.

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Games People Played
A Global History of Sport
Wray Vamplew
Reaktion Books, 2023
Now in paperback, this first global history of sports offers all spectators and participants a reason to cheer—and to think.
Games People Played is, surprisingly, the first global history of sports. The book shows how sports have been practiced, experienced, and made meaningful by players and fans throughout history. It assesses how sports developed and diffused across the globe, as well as many other aspects, from emotion, discrimination, and conviviality; to politics, nationalism, and protest; and how economics has turned sports into a huge consumer industry. It shows how sports are sociable and health-giving, and also contribute to charity. However, it also examines their dark side: sports’ impact on the environment, the use of performance-enhancing drugs, and match-fixing. Covering everything from curling to baseball, boxing to motor racing, this book will appeal to anyone who plays, watches, and enjoys sports, and wants to know more about their history and global impact.

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Golden and Blue Like My Heart
Masculinity, Youth, and Power Among Soccer Fans in Mexico City
Roger Magazine
University of Arizona Press, 2007
For fans of pro soccer in Mexico City, the four most popular teams represent distinct identities that embody such attributes as political power, nationalism, and working-class values. One of these teams, the Pumas, is associated with youthfulness, and its equally youthful fans take pride in the fact that their heroes have not yet been corrupted by corporate or political interests. This ethnographic study examines Puma fans’ understanding of the ideal that the team represents, considers the practices they employ to express and sometimes contradict this ideal, and reveals how soccer fandom in contemporary Mexico has emerged as a nexus of tensions among competing visions of state and society.

Roger Magazine takes readers inside Mexico’s soccer stadiums to explore young men’s participation in struggles over the future of that country’s urban society. His firsthand observations of the fan clubs—las porras—yield a unique inside look at confrontations in the stands over group organization, particularly at the emergence of rebel segments within the clubs. His study offers a close-up look at ground-level struggles over social organization in contemporary urban Mexico, showing how young male fans both blindly reproduce and consciously manipulate images of violence and disorder derived from national myths about typical urban Mexican men.

Golden and Blue Like My Heart offers a new way of understanding the dynamics of fandom while shedding new light on larger social processes and youth culture in Mexico. And with its insight into soccer culture, politico-economic transition, and masculinity, it has important and wide-reaching implications for all of Latin America.

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Gridiron Capital
How American Football Became a Samoan Game
Lisa Uperesa
Duke University Press, 2022
Since the 1970s, a “Polynesian Pipeline” has brought football players from American Sāmoa to Hawaii and the mainland United States to play at the collegiate and professional levels. In Gridiron Capital Lisa Uperesa charts the cultural and social dynamics that have made football so central to Samoan communities. For Samoan athletes, football is not just an opportunity for upward mobility; it is a way to contribute to, support, and represent their family, village, and nation. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, archival research, and media analysis, Uperesa shows how the Samoan ascendancy in football is underpinned by the legacies of US empire and a set of imperial formations that mark Indigenous Pacific peoples as racialized subjects of US economic aid and development. Samoan players succeed by becoming entrepreneurs: building and commodifying their bodies and brands to enhance their football stock and market value. Uperesa offers insights into the social and physical costs of pursuing a football career, the structures that compel Pacific Islander youth toward athletic labor, and the possibilities for safeguarding their health and wellbeing in the future.

Duke University Press Scholars of Color First Book Award recipient

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Gridiron Gourmet
Gender and Food at the Football Tailgate
Maria J. Veri
University of Arkansas Press, 2019
On football weekends in the United States, thousands of fans gather in the parking lots outside of stadiums, where they park their trucks, let down the gates, and begin a pregame ritual of drinking and grilling.

Tailgating, which began in the early 1900s as a quaint picnic lunch outside of the stadium, has evolved into a massive public social event with complex menus, extravagant creative fare, and state-of-art grilling equipment. Unlike traditional notions of the home kitchen, the blacktop is a highly masculine culinary environment in which men and the food they cook are often the star attractions.

Gridiron Gourmet examines tailgating as shown in television, film, advertising, and cookbooks, and takes a close look at the experiences of those tailgaters who are as serious about their brisket as they are about cheering on their favorite team, demonstrating how and why the gendered performances on the football field are often matched by the intensity of the masculine displays in front of grills, smokers, and deep fryers.

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In Praise of Athletic Beauty
Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht
Harvard University Press, 2006

“A thought-provoking—and academically rigorous—defense of the grace and aesthetic worth of sports.” —Sports Illustrated

By the hundreds of millions we show up, stand in line, turn on, and tune in to watch, mesmerized, as athletes perform. And yet this experience, so widely craved and intensely felt, we commonly dismiss as “only a game.” A book that looks beyond the usual explanations of why sports fascinates, In Praise of Athletic Beauty also strives for a language that can frame—even enhance—the pleasure we take in watching athletic events.

The vicarious thrill, anxiety release, competitive spirit: in place of these traditional answers to the mystery of sports’ allure, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht proposes a more powerful and provocative alternative. The fascination with watching sports, he argues, is probably the most popular and potent contemporary form of aesthetic experience—in the classic, very literal sense of this concept. In exploring this idea, Gumbrecht develops a lucid reflection on the pleasures of sports spectatorship and the nature of athletic beauty. Where we might readily pronounce certain athletic moves and plays “beautiful,” this book gives us the means to explore, understand, and enjoy even more acutely the aesthetic experience that our words-in-passing barely suggest.

With a new perspective on the appreciation of—and, indeed, a new tone of praising—sports, Gumbrecht also offers a new way of narrating the history of athletics and a fresh vocabulary for analyzing various sports. Exploring athletic beauty, this book makes us understand the widespread passion sport inspires as an untamed form of aesthetic fascination.


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Indian Spectacle
College Mascots and the Anxiety of Modern America
Guiliano, Jennifer
Rutgers University Press, 2015
Amid controversies surrounding the team mascot and brand of the Washington Redskins in the National Football League and the use of mascots by K–12 schools, Americans demonstrate an expanding sensitivity to the pejorative use of references to Native Americans by sports organizations at all levels. In Indian Spectacle, Jennifer Guiliano exposes the anxiety of American middle-class masculinity in relation to the growing commercialization of collegiate sports and the indiscriminate use of Indian identity as mascots.
Indian Spectacle explores the ways in which white, middle-class Americans have consumed narratives of masculinity, race, and collegiate athletics through the lens of Indian-themed athletic identities, mascots, and music. Drawing on a cross-section of American institutions of higher education, Guiliano investigates the role of sports mascots in the big business of twentieth-century American college football in order to connect mascotry to expressions of community identity, individual belonging, stereotyped imagery, and cultural hegemony.  
Against a backdrop of the current level of the commercialization of collegiate sports—where the collective revenue of the fifteen highest grossing teams in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has well surpassed one billion dollars—Guiliano recounts the history of the creation and spread of mascots and university identities as something bound up in the spectacle of halftime performance, the growth of collegiate competition, the influence of mass media, and how athletes, coaches, band members, spectators, university alumni, faculty, and administrators, artists, writers, and members of local communities all have contributed to the dissemination of ideas of Indianness that is rarely rooted in native people’s actual lives. 

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Interrogating Integration
Sports, Celebrity, and Scandal in the Making of New Germany
Kate Zambon
University of Michigan Press, 2025
Interrogating Integration explores how media campaigns, public debates, and international sporting spectacles construct national identity in an era of rising nationalism. Across Europe, “integration” has emerged as a guiding concept to regulate and control cultural differences, particularly in Germany where integration has become a watchword since the introduction of birthright citizenship in 2000. The expansion of German citizenship threatened the homogeneous definition of the nation and spurred increased scrutiny of people identified as migrants. This has opened a new chapter in the complicated, often ambivalent relationship between the White Christian-German majority and immigrants and Germans of color, particularly Muslim and Black Germans. The celebrations, scandals, and debates analyzed here reveal how the admission of new citizens inspired an optimistic cosmopolitanism that claimed to definitively separate the new Germany from its fascist past while simultaneously reinscribing racialized hierarchies and providing fuel for growing far-right politics.

Using touchstones of public memory, including events surrounding men’s World Cup soccer and the record-breaking success of a book blaming Muslims for Germany’s decline, Zambon challenges persistent problems in European conceptions of race, where racializing projects take place under an “ideology of racelessness” and the atrocities of historical and transnational racisms are used to deny current local forms of racism. Interrogating Integration builds on this concept by exploring how the integration paradigm in popular media played into a new nationalist resurgence and how nativist arguments have deep roots to the core of modern democratic policies and discourses. 

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It Was Always a Choice
Picking Up the Baton of Athlete Activism
David Steele
Temple University Press, 2022

The recent flashpoint of Colin Kaepernick taking a knee renews a long tradition of athlete-activists speaking out against racism, injustice, and oppression. Like Kaepernick, Jackie Robinson, Paul Robeson, Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, Tommie Smith, and John Carlos—among many others, of all races, male and female, pro and amateur—all made the choice to take a side to command public awareness and attention rather than “shut up and play,” as O. J. Simpson, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods did. Using their celebrity to demand change, these activists inspired fans but faced great personal and professional risks in doing so. It Was Always a Choice traces the history and impact of these decisive moments throughout the history of U.S. sports.

David Steele identifies the resonances and antecedents throughout the twentieth century of the choices faced by athletes in the post-Kaepernick era, including the advance of athletes’ political organizing in the era of activism following the death of George Floyd. He shows which athletes chose silence instead of action—“dropping the baton,” as it were—in the movement to end racial inequities and violence against Black Americans. The examples of courageous athletes multiply as LeBron James, Megan Rapinoe and the activist-athletes of the NBA, WNBA, and NFL remain committed to fighting daily and vibrantly for social change.


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Kicking Center
Gender and the Selling of Women's Professional Soccer
Allison, Rachel
Rutgers University Press, 2018
Winner of the 2018 Early Career Gender Scholar Award from the Sociologists for Women in Society-South

Girls and young women participate in soccer at record levels and the Women’s National Team regularly draws media, corporate, and popular attention. Yet despite increased representation and visibility, gender disparities in opportunity, compensation, training resources, and media airtime persist in soccer, and two professional leagues for women have failed since 2000. 

In Kicking Center, Rachel Allison investigates a women’s soccer league seeking to break into the male-dominated center of U.S. professional sport. Through an examination of the challenges and opportunities identified by those working for and with this league, she demonstrates how gender inequality is both constructed and contested in professional sport. Allison details the complex constructions of race, class, gender, and sexuality in the selling and marketing of women’s soccer in a half-changed sports landscape characterized by both progress and backlash, and where professional sports are still understood to be men’s territory. 

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Lakota Hoops
Life and Basketball on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Alan Klein
Rutgers University Press, 2020
For over 150 years the Lakota have tenaciously defended their culture and land against white miners, settlers, missionaries, and the U.S. Army, and paid the price. Their economy is in shambles and they face serious social issues, but their culture and outlook remain vibrant. Basketball has a role to play in the way that people on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation configure their hopes for a better future, and for pride in their community.

In Lakota Hoops, anthropologist Alan Klein trains his experienced eye on the ways that Lakota traditions find a seamless expression in the sport. In a variety of way such as weaving time-honored religious practices into the game or extending the warrior spirit of Crazy Horse to the players on the court, basketball has become a preferred way of finding continuity with the past. But the game is also well suited to the present and has become the largest regular gathering for all Lakota, promoting national pride as well as a venue for the community to creatively and aggressively confront white bigotry when needed.

Richly researched and filled with interviews with Pine Ridge residents, including both male and female players, Lakota Hoops offers a compelling look at the highs and lows of a community that has made basketball its own.

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Leftist Theories of Sport
A Critique and Reconstruction
William J. Morgan
University of Illinois Press, 1994
The degradation of modern sport--its commercialization, trivialization, widespread cheating, cult of athletic stars and celebrities, and manipulation by the media--has led to calls for its transformation. William J. Morgan constructs a critical theory of sport that shores up the weak arguments of past attempts and points a way forward to making sport more humane, compelling, and substantive. Drawing on the work of social theorists, Morgan challenges scholars and fans alike to explore new spaces in sport culture and imagine the rich cultural and political possibilities to be found in the pastimes we follow with such passion.

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Legal Bases
Baseball And The Law
Roger Abrams
Temple University Press, 1998
If baseball is the heart of America, the legal process provides the sinews that hold it in place. It was the legal process that allowed William Hulbert to bring club owners together in a New York City hotel room in 1876 to form the National League, and ninety years later, it allowed Marvin Miller to change a management-funded fraternity of ballplayers into the strongest trade union in America.

But how does collective bargaining and labor arbitration work in the major leagues? Why is baseball exempt from the antitrust laws? In Legal Bases, Roger Abrams has assembled an all-star baseball law team whose stories illuminate the sometimes uproarious, sometimes ignominious relationship between law and baseball that has made the business of baseball a truly American institution.

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Locker Room Talk
A Woman’s Struggle to Get Inside
Melissa Ludtke
Rutgers University Press, 2024

While sportswriters rushed into Major League Baseball locker rooms to talk with players, MLB Commissioner Bowie Kuhn barred the lone woman from entering along with them. That reporter, 26-year-old Sports Illustrated reporter Melissa Ludtke, charged Kuhn with gender discrimination, and after the lawyers argued Ludtke v. Kuhn in federal court, she won. Her 1978 groundbreaking case affirmed her equal rights, and the judge’s order opened the doors for several generations of women to be hired in sports media.
Locker Room Talk is Ludtke’s gripping account of being at the core of this globally covered case that churned up ugly prejudices about the place of women in sports. Kuhn claimed that allowing women into locker rooms would violate his players’ “sexual privacy.” Late-night television comedy sketches mocked her as newspaper cartoonists portrayed her as a sexy, buxom looker who wanted to ogle the naked athletes’ bodies.  She weaves these public perspectives throughout her vivid depiction of the court drama overseen by Judge Constance Baker Motley, the first Black woman to serve on the federal bench. She recounts how her lawyer, F.A.O. “Fritz” Schwarz employed an ingenious legal strategy that persuaded Judge Motley to invoke the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause in giving Ludtke access identical to her male counterparts. Locker Room Talk is both an inspiring story of one woman’s determination to do a job dominated by men and an illuminating portrait of a defining moment for women’s rights.  


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Loving Sports When They Don't Love You Back
Dilemmas of the Modern Fan
By Jessica Luther and Kavitha A. Davidson
University of Texas Press, 2020

Triumphant wins, gut-wrenching losses, last-second shots, underdogs, competition, and loyalty—it’s fun to be a fan. But when a football player takes a hit to the head after yet another study has warned of the dangers of CTE, or when a team whose mascot was born in an era of racism and bigotry takes the field, or when a relief pitcher accused of domestic violence saves the game, how is one to cheer? Welcome to the club for sports fans who care too much.

In Loving Sports When They Don’t Love You Back, acclaimed sports writers Jessica Luther and Kavitha A. Davidson tackle the most pressing issues in sports, why they matter, and how we can do better. For the authors, “sticking to sports” is not an option—not when our taxes are paying for the stadiums, and college athletes aren’t getting paid at all. But simply quitting a favorite team won’t change corrupt and deplorable practices, and the root causes of many of these problems are endemic in our wider society. An essential read for modern fans, Loving Sports When They Don’t Love You Back challenges the status quo and explores how we might begin to reconcile our conscience with our fandom.


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Mascot Nation
The Controversy over Native American Representations in Sports
Andrew C. Billings, Jason Edward Black
University of Illinois Press, 2018
The issue of Native American mascots in sports raises passions but also a raft of often-unasked questions. Which voices get a hearing in an argument? What meanings do we ascribe to mascots? Who do these Indians and warriors really represent? Andrew C. Billings and Jason Edward Black go beyond the media bluster to reassess the mascot controversy. Their multi-dimensional study delves into the textual, visual, and ritualistic and performative aspects of sports mascots. Their original research, meanwhile, surveys sports fans themselves on their thoughts when a specific mascot faces censure. The result is a book that merges critical-cultural analysis with qualitative data to offer an innovative approach to understanding the camps and fault lines on each side of the issue, the stakes in mascot debates, whether common ground can exist and, if so, how we might find it.

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A Nation of Family and Friends?
Sport and the Leisure Cultures of British Asian Girls and Women
Aarti Ratna
Rutgers University Press, 2024
In A Nation of Family and Friends, sociologist Aarti Ratna examines the complex and dynamic relationships between South Asian women and sporting and leisure cultures. Mining autobiographical insights (as a South Asian scholar living in the UK) she links the chapters of this innovative book using the sociological concepts of family and friends, particularly as they relate to an analysis of wider debates about the complexities of race, gender, and the nation. Ratna underscores the importance of studying informal spaces of sport and leisure as friendly, familial, sociable, and political spaces. She simultaneously highlights the role of earlier sociological research in disseminating myths about South Asian women as too physically weak to play competitive sports; culturally passive victims of South Asian cultures and religions; and as sexually exotic women requiring saving through colonial and imperial projects led by white men and women.

Ratna also examines two key cultural objects - the popular films "Bend it Like Beckham" and “Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal” - to examine in detail the gendered representation of South Asian soccer players’ engagement in amateur and elite levels of the sport. She critiques studies of women’s football fandom and sport that fail to acknowledge social differences relating to race, class, age, disability, and sexuality. By linking the social forces (across time and space) that differentially affect their sporting choices and leisure lifestyles, Ratna portrays the women of the South Asian diaspora as active agents in the shaping of their life courses and as skilled navigators of the complexities affecting their own identities. Ultimately Ratna examines the intersections of class, caste, age, generation, gender, and sexuality, to provide a rich and critical exploration of British Asian women's sport and leisure choices, pleasures, and lived realities.

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New Orleans Sports
Playing Hard in the Big Easy
Thomas Aiello
University of Arkansas Press, 2019
New Orleans has long been a city fixated on its own history and culture. Founded in 1718 by the French, transferred to the Spanish in the 1763 Treaty of Paris, and sold to the United States in 1803, the city’s culture, law, architecture, food, music, and language share the influence of all three countries. This cultural mélange also manifests in the city’s approach to sport, where each game is steeped in the city’s history.

Tracing that history from the early nineteenth century to the present, while also surveying the state of the city’s sports historiography, New Orleans Sports places sport in the context of race relations, politics, and civic and business development to expand that historiography—currently dominated by a text that stops at 1900—into the twentieth century, offering a modern examination of sports in the city.

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No Boston Olympics
How and Why Smart Cities Are Passing on the Torch
Chris Dempsey and Andrew Zimbalist
University Press of New England, 2017
In 2013 and 2014, some of Massachusetts’ wealthiest and most powerful individuals hatched an audacious plan to bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to Boston. Like their counterparts in cities around the world, Boston’s Olympic boosters promised political leaders, taxpayers, and the media that the Games would deliver incalculable benefits and require little financial support from the public. Yet these advocates refused to share the details of their bid and only grudgingly admitted, when pressed, that their plan called for billions of dollars in construction of unneeded venues. To win the bid, the public would have to guarantee taxpayer funds to cover cost overruns, which have plagued all modern Olympic Games. The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) chose Boston 2024’s bid over that of other American cities in January 2015—and for a time it seemed inevitable that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would award the Games to Boston 2024. No Boston Olympics is the story of how an ad hoc, underfunded group of diverse and engaged citizens joined together to challenge and ultimately derail Boston’s boosters, the USOC, and the IOC. Chris Dempsey was cochair of No Boston Olympics, the group that first voiced skepticism, demanded accountability, and catalyzed dissent. Andrew Zimbalist is a world expert on the economics of sports, and the leading researcher on the hidden costs of hosting mega-events such as the Olympics and the World Cup. Together, they tell Boston’s story, while providing a blueprint for citizens who seek to challenge costly, wasteful, disruptive, and risky Olympic bids in their own cities.

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No Slam Dunk
Gender, Sport and the Unevenness of Social Change
Cooky, Cheryl
Rutgers University Press, 2018
In just a few decades, sport has undergone a radical gender transformation. However, Cheryl Cooky and Michael A. Messner suggest that the progress toward gender equity in sports is far from complete. The continuing barriers to full and equal participation for young people, the far lower pay for most elite-level women athletes, and the continuing dearth of fair and equal media coverage all underline how much still has yet to change before we see gender equality in sports.  

The chapters in No Slam Dunk show that is this not simply a story of an “unfinished revolution.” Rather, they contend, it is simplistic optimism to assume that we are currently nearing the conclusion of a story of linear progress that ends with a certain future of equality and justice.  This book provides important theoretical and empirical insights into the contemporary world of sports to help explain the unevenness of social change and how, despite significant progress, gender equality in sports has been “No Slam Dunk.”  

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Only a Black Athlete Can Save Us Now
Grant Farred
University of Minnesota Press, 2021

A call to arms exploring the protest movements of 2020 as they reverberated through the athletic world

Starting with the refusal of George Hill of the Milwaukee Bucks to participate in an August 2020 playoff game following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Grant Farred shows how the Covid-restricted NBA “bubble” released an energy that spurred athletes into radical action. They disrupted athletic normalcy, and in their grief and rage against American racism they demonstrated the true progressivism lacking in even the most reformist-minded politicians and pundits. Farred goes on to trace the radicalism of black athletes in a number of sports, including the WNBA, women’s tennis, the NFL, and NASCAR, locating contemporary athletes in a lineage that runs through Muhammad Ali as well as Tommy Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics. 

Only a Black Athlete Can Save Us Now uses sport as a point of departure to argue that the dystopic crisis of our current moment offers a singular opportunity to reimagine how we live in the world.

Forerunners: Ideas First is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital publications. Written between fresh ideas and finished books, Forerunners draws on scholarly work initiated in notable blogs, social media, conference plenaries, journal articles, and the synergy of academic exchange. This is gray literature publishing: where intense thinking, change, and speculation take place in scholarship.


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The Persistence of Violence
Colombian Popular Culture
Toby Miller
Rutgers University Press, 2020
Colombia’s headline story, about the peace process with guerrilla and its attendant controversies, does not consider the fundamental contradiction of a nation that spans generosity and violence, warmth and hatred—products of its particular pattern of invasion, dispossession, and enslavement. The Persistence of Violence fills that gap in understanding. Colombia is a place that is two countries in one—the ideal and the real—summed up in the idiomatic expression, not unique to Colombia, but particularly popular there, "Hecha la ley, hecha la trampa" (When you pass a law, you create a loophole). Less cynically, and more poetically, the Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez deemed Colombians capable of both the most noble acts and the most abject ones, in a world where it seems anyone might do anything, from the beautiful to the horrendous.The Persistence of Violence draws on those contradictions and paradoxes to look at how violence—and resistance to it—characterize Colombian popular culture, from football to soap opera to journalism to tourism to the environment.

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Philly Sports
Teams, Games, and Athletes from Rocky's Town
Ryan Swanson
University of Arkansas Press, 2016

Philadelphia sports—anchored by the Eagles, Flyers, Phillies, and 76ers—have a long, and sometimes tortured, history. Philly fans have booed more than their share and have earned a reputation as some of the most hostile in the country. They’ve been known, so the tales go, to jeer Santa Claus and cheer at the injury of an opposing player.

Strangely though, much of America’s perception of Philadelphia sports has been shaped by a fictional figure: Rocky. The series of Hollywood films named after their title character has told and retold the Cinderella story of an underdog boxer rising up against long odds. One could plausibly make the argument that Rocky is Philadelphia’s most famous athlete.

Beyond the major sports franchises and Rocky, lesser-known athletic competition in Philadelphia offers much to the interested observer. The city’s boxing culture, influence on Negro Leagues baseball, role in establishing interscholastic sport, and leadership in the rise of cricket all deserve and receive close investigation in this new collection.  Philly Sports combines primary research and personal experiences—playing in the Palestra, scouting out the tombstones of the city’s best athletes, enjoying the fervor of a Philadelphia night with a local team in pursuit of a championship title. The essence of Philadelphia sport, and to a certain extent the city itself, is distilled here.


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The Pleasure Principle
Sport for the Sake of Pleasure, Volume 105
David L. Andrews, ed.
Duke University Press
From the ancient Olympic games to the savage gladiatorial contests of the Roman Empire, from the thrill of the World Cup to the hype of the Super Bowl, sport represents a singular source of social belonging and communal enjoyment—sometimes as intense as religious faith. The Pleasure Principle addresses the issue of sport as a form of pleasure, contending that sport, like any form of popular culture, reveals a lot about the society in which it appears. Examining sports through various theoretical lenses, including Marxist, feminist, and poststructuralist, and from numerous disciplinary viewpoints—history, sociology, cinema studies, literature, and cultural studies—this special issue demonstrates the complexity of contemporary sports culture.

Ranging from the humorous to the ironic, from the personal to the theoretical, and from sports as dissimilar as baseball and rugby, gambling and karate, this issue explains fandom itself and explores the intersections of sport and politics, sport and class, and sport and identity. One timely essay addresses the use of Native American imagery and nicknames and the recent NCAA ban on these references. Another classifies gambling as a popular American sport, one that in 2003 attracted three times as many attendees as all Major League Baseball franchises combined. Another essay delves into the history of the golfing mecca of Pinehurst, North Carolina, discussing the resort’s roots in the age of Jim Crow. Among the other topics addressed in this issue are how soccer fandom and commodity culture can be one and the same; why Liverpool’s 2005 victory in the European Champion’s League proves that God is red; and why the Olympic Games can represent performative nationalism.

Contributors. David L. Andrews, Amy Bass, Norman K. Denzin, Grant Farred, Keya Ganguly, John Hartley, Jane Juffer, Liz Moor, Jeffrey T. Nealon, Annie Paul, George Ritzer, Jim Shepard, Orin Starn, Kenneth Surin


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Regulating Football
Commodification, Consumption and the Law
Steve Greenfield and Guy Osborn
Pluto Press, 2001

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Rooting for the Home Team
Edited by Daniel A. Nathan
University of Illinois Press, 2013
Rooting for the Home Team examines how various American communities create and maintain a sense of collective identity through sports. Looking at large cities such as Chicago, Baltimore, and Los Angeles as well as small rural towns, suburbs, and college towns, the contributors consider the idea that rooting for local athletes and home teams often symbolizes a community's preferred understanding of itself, and that doing so is an expression of connectedness, public pride and pleasure, and personal identity.
Some of the wide-ranging essays point out that financial interests also play a significant role in encouraging fan bases, and modern media have made every seasonal sport into yearlong obsessions. Celebrities show up for big games, politicians throw out first pitches, and taxpayers pay plenty for new stadiums and arenas. The essays in Rooting for the Home Team cover a range of professional and amateur athletics, including teams in basketball, football, baseball, and even the phenomenon of no-glove softball.
Contributors are Amy Bass, Susan Cahn, Mark Dyreson, Michael Ezra, Elliott J. Gorn, Christopher Lamberti, Allison Lauterbach, Catherine M. Lewis, Shelley Lucas, Daniel A. Nathan, Michael Oriard, Carlo Rotella, Jaime Schultz, Mike Tanier, David K. Wiggins, and David W. Zang.


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San Francisco Bay Area Sports
Golden Gate Athletics, Recreation, and Community
Rita Liberti
University of Arkansas Press, 2017

San Francisco Bay Area Sports brings together fifteen essays covering the issues, controversies, and personalities that have emerged as northern Californians recreated and competed over the last 150 years. The area’s diversity, anti-establishment leanings, and unique and beautiful natural surroundings are explored in the context of a dynamic sporting past that includes events broadcast to millions or activities engaged in by just a few.

Professional and college events are covered along with lesser-known entities such as Oakland’s public parks, tennis player and Bay Area native Rosie Casals, environmentalism and hiking in Marin County, and the origins of the Gay Games. Taken as a whole, this book clarifies how sport is connected to identities based on sexuality, gender, race, and ethnicity. Just as crucial, the stories here illuminate how sport and recreation can potentially create transgressive spaces, particularity in a place known for its nonconformity.


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Schools for Scandal
The Dysfunctional Marriage of Division I Sports and Higher Education
Sheldon Anderson
University of Missouri Press, 2024
For well over a century, big-time college sports has functioned as a business enterprise, one that serves to undermine the mission of institutions of higher education.This book chronicles the long and tortured history of the NCAA’s attempt to maintain the myth of amateurism and the student-athlete, along with the attendant fiction that the players’ academic achievement is the top priority of Division-I athletic programs. It is an indictment of the current system, making the case that big-time college sports cannot continue its connection to universities without undermining the mission of higher education. It concludes with bold proposals to separate big-time college sports from the university, transforming them into on-campus business operations.


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Seattle Sports
Play, Identity, and Pursuit in the Emerald City
Terry Anne Scott
University of Arkansas Press, 2020

Seattle Sports: Play, Identity, and Pursuit in the Emerald City, edited by Terry Anne Scott, explores the vast and varied history of sports in this city where diversity and social progress are reflected in and reinforced by play. The work gathered here covers Seattle’s professional sports culture as well as many of the city’s lesser-known figures and sports milestones. Fresh, nuanced takes on the Seattle Mariners, Supersonics, and Seahawks are joined by essays on gay softball leagues, city court basketball, athletics in local Japanese American communities during the interwar years, ultimate, the fierce women of roller derby, and much more. Together, these essays create a vivid portrait of Seattle fans, who, in supporting their teams—often in rain, sometimes in the midst of seismic activity—check the country’s implicit racial bias by rallying behind outspoken local sporting heroes.


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Separate Games
African American Sport behind the Walls of Segregation
David K. Wiggins
University of Arkansas Press, 2017

Winner of the 2017 NASSH Book Award for best edited collection.

The hardening of racial lines during the first half of the twentieth century eliminated almost all African Americans from white organized sports, forcing black athletes to form their own teams, organizations, and events. This separate sporting culture, explored in the twelve essays included here, comprised much more than athletic competition; these “separate games” provided examples of black enterprise and black self-help and showed the importance of agency and the quest for racial uplift in a country fraught with racialist thinking and discrimination.

The significance of this sporting culture is vividly showcased in the stories of the Cuban Giants baseball team, basketball’s New York Renaissance Five, the Tennessee State Tigerbelles track-and-field team, black college football’s Turkey Bowl Classic, car racing’s Gold and Glory Sweepstakes, Negro League Baseball’s East-West All-Star game, and many more. These teams, organizations, and events made up a vibrant national sporting complex that remained in existence until the integration of sports beginning in the late 1940s. Separate Games explores the fascinating ways sports helped bind the black community and illuminate race pride, business acumen, and organizational abilities.


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Jean-Philippe Toussaint
Rutgers University Press, 2019
Growing up in Belgium, soccer was Jean-Philippe Touissant’s life, a passion not shared by his bookish family. Now an acclaimed novelist, essayist, and filmmaker, he reflects upon his lifelong love for the game with an intellectual’s keen mind and a sports fan’s heart. What, he ponders, has a lifetime of soccer fandom taught him about life and the passage of time itself.
Soccer takes readers on an idiosyncratic journey that delves deep into the author’s childhood memories, but also transports us to World Cup matches in Japan, Germany, South Africa, and Brazil. Along the way, it kicks around such provocative questions as: How does soccer fandom both support and transcend nationalism? How are our memories of soccer matches both collective and distinctly personal? And how can a game this beautiful and this ephemeral be adequately captured in words?
Part travelogue, part memoir, and part philosophical essay, Soccer is entirely unique, a thrilling departure from the usual clichés of sports writing. Even readers with little knowledge of the game will be enthralled by Touissant’s profound musings and lyrical prose.

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Soccer in American Culture
The Beautiful Game’s Struggle for Status
G. Edward White
University of Missouri Press, 2023
2022 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

In Soccer in American Culture: The Beautiful Game’s Struggle for Status, G. Edward White seeks to answer two questions. The first is why the sport of soccer failed to take root in the United States when it spread from England around much of the rest of the world in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The second is why the sport has had a significant renaissance in America since the last decade of the twentieth century, to the point where it is now the 4th largest participatory sport in the United States and is thriving, in both men’s and women’s versions, at the high school, college, and professional levels.

White considers the early history of “Association football” (soccer) in England, the persistent struggles by the sport to establish itself in America for much of the twentieth century, the role of public high schools and colleges in marginalizing the sport, the part played by FIFA, the international organization charged with developing soccer around the globe, in encumbering the development of the sport in the United States, and the unusual history of women’s soccer in America, which evolved in the twentieth century from a virtually nonexistent sport to a major factor in the emergence of men’s—as well as women's—soccer in the U.S. in the twentieth century.
Incorporating insights from sociology and economics, White explores the multiple factors that have resulted in the sport of soccer struggling to achieve major status in America and why it currently has nothing like the cultural impact of other popular American sports—baseball and American football— which can be seen by the comparative lack of attention paid to it in sports media, its low television ratings, and virtually nonexistent radio broadcast coverage.

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Soccer in Mind
A Thinking Fan's Guide to the Global Game
Andrew M. Guest
Rutgers University Press, 2022
From the FIFA World Cup to pick-up games at your local park, soccer is the closest thing in our world to a universal entertainment. Many writers use this global popularity to describe the game’s winners and losers, but what happens when we use social science to explore how soccer intersects with culture, society, and the self?
This book provides a thinking fan’s guide to the world’s most popular game, proposing a way of engaging soccer that sparks intellectual curiosity and employs critical consciousness. Using stories and data, along with ideas from sociology, psychology, and across the social sciences, it provides readers with new ways of understanding fanaticism, peak performance, talent development, and more. Drawing on concepts ranging from cognitive bias to globalization, it illuminates meanings of the game for players and fans while investigating impacts on our lives and communities. While it considers soccer cultures across the globe, the book also analyzes what makes U.S. soccer culture special, including its embrace of the women’s game.
As a scholar, former minor league player and coach, and fan, Andrew Guest offers a distinctive perspective on soccer in society. Whatever name you call it, and whatever your interest in it, Soccer in Mind will enrich your own view of the one truly global game.

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Special Admission
How College Sports Recruitment Favors White Suburban Athletes
Kirsten Hextrum
Rutgers University Press, 2021
Honorable Mention - 2022 Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award​

Special Admission contradicts the national belief that college sports provide upward mobility opportunities. Kirsten Hextrum documents how white middle-class youth become overrepresented on college teams. Her institutional ethnography of one elite athletic and academic institution includes over 100 hours of interviews with college rowers and track & field athletes. She charts the historic and contemporary relationships between colleges, athletics, and white middle-class communities that ensure white suburban youth are advantaged in special athletic admissions. Suburban youth start ahead in college admissions because athletic merit—the competencies desired by university recruiters—requires access to vast familial, communal, and economic resources, all of which are concentrated in their neighborhoods. Their advantages increase as youth, parents, and coaches strategically invest in and engineer novel opportunities to maintain their race and class status. Thus, college sports allow white, middle-class athletes to accelerate their racial and economic advantages through admission to elite universities.

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A Spectacular Leap
Black Women Athletes in Twentieth-Century America
Jennifer H. Lansbury
University of Arkansas Press, 2014
When high jumper Alice Coachman won the high jump title at the 1941 national championships with "a spectacular leap," African American women had been participating in competitive sport for close to twenty-five years. Yet it would be another twenty years before they would experience something akin to the national fame and recognition that African American men had known since the 1930s, the days of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens. From the 1920s, when black women athletes were confined to competing within the black community, through the heady days of the late twentieth century when they ruled the world of women's track and field, African American women found sport opened the door to a better life. However, they also discovered that success meant challenging perceptions that many Americans--both black and white--held of them. Through the stories of six athletes--Coachman, Ora Washington, Althea Gibson, Wilma Rudloph, Wyomia Tyus, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee--Jennifer H. Lansbury deftly follows the emergence of black women athletes from the African American community; their confrontations with contemporary attitudes of race, class, and gender; and their encounters with the civil rights movement. Uncovering the various strategies the athletes use to beat back stereotypes, Lansbury explores the fullness of African American women's relationship with sport in the twentieth century.

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Sport and Political Ideology
By John M. Hoberman
University of Texas Press, 1984

Across the modern political spectrum, left-wing and right-wing political theorists have invested sport with ideological significance. That significance, however, varies distinctively and characteristically with the ideology—a phenomenon John Hoberman terms "ideological differentiation." Taking this phenomenon as its point of departure, this provocative work interprets the major sport ideologies of the twentieth century as distinct expressions of political doctrine.

Hoberman argues that a political ideology's interpretation of sport is shaped in part by the value it assigns to work and play as modes of experience; the political anthropologies of right and left can be distinguished by examining their resistance to—or affinity for—sportive imagery of their leaders and of the state itself; there exists a fascist temperament that shows an affinity to athleticism and the sphere of the body that is not shared by the left.

Tracing modern sport ideology back to its premodern antecedents, Hoberman examines the interpretations of sport that have been promulgated by European political intellectuals, such as cultural conservatives and contemporary neo-Marxists, and by the official ideologists of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, the German Democratic Republic, and China before and after Mao.

As a form of mass theater, sport can advertise any ideology. But the deeper relationship between sport and political ideology has never before been explored wth such vigor. Presenting the first general theory of sport and political ideology to appear in any language, Hoberman's groundbreaking work is a unique and invaluable contribution to the intellectual and political history of sport in the twentieth century.


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Sport and the Law
Historical and Cultural Intersections
Samuel O. Regalado
University of Arkansas Press, 2014
This new collection examines not only how athletes looked to the nation’s judicial system to solve conflicts but also how their cases trans¬formed the interpretation of laws. These essays examine a vast array of social and legal controversies including Heywood v. NBA (1971), which allowed any player to enter the draft; Flood v. Kuhn (1972), which considered baseball’s antitrust status; the Danny Gardella lower level 1948 case regarding free agency and baseball; Muhammad Ali’s celebrated stance against the U.S. draft; Renée Richards’s 1976 lawsuit against the U.S. Tennis Association and its due process ramifications; and human rights violations in international law with respect to the increased recruitment of underage Latin baseball players in the Caribbean region are a few examples of the vast array of stories included. Sport and the Law links these cases to other cases and topics, giving the reader the opportunity to see the threads weaving law and sport together in American society.

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Sport and the Neoliberal University
Profit, Politics, and Pedagogy
King-White, Ryan
Rutgers University Press, 2018
College students are now regarded as consumers, not students, and nowhere is the growth and exploitation of the university more obvious than in the realm of college sports, where the evidence is in the stadiums built with corporate money, and the crowded sporting events sponsored by large conglomerates. 

The contributors to Sport and the Neoliberal University examine how intercollegiate athletics became a contested terrain of public/private interests. They look at college sports from economic, social, legal, and cultural perspectives to cut through popular mythologies regarding intercollegiate athletics and to advocate for increased clarity about what is going on at a variety of campuses with regard to athletics. Focusing on current issues, including the NCAA, Title IX, recruitment of high school athletes, and the Penn State scandal, among others, Sport and the Neoliberal University shows the different ways institutions, individuals, and corporations are interacting with university athletics in ways that are profoundly shaped by neoliberal ideologies.  

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The Sport Marriage
Women Who Make It Work
Steven M. Ortiz
University of Illinois Press, 2020
In The Sport Marriage, Steven M. Ortiz draws on studies he conducted over nearly three decades that focus on the marital realities confronted by women married to male professional athletes. These women, who are usually portrayed in unflattering and/or unrealistic terms, face enormous challenges in their attempts to establish and maintain functional marital and family lives while the husband routinely puts his career first.

Ortiz defines the traditional sport marriage as a career-dominated marriage, illustrating how it encourages women to contribute to their own subordination through adherence to an unwritten rulebook and a repertoire of self-management strategies. He explains how they make invaluable contributions to their husbands’ careers while adjusting to public life and trying to maintain family privacy, managing power and control issues, and coping with pervasive groupies, overinvolved mothers, a culture of infidelity, and husbands who prioritize team loyalty. He gives these historically silent women a voice, offering readers perceptive and sensitive insight into what it means to be a woman in the male-dominated world of professional sports.


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Sport, Physical Culture, and the Moving Body
Materialisms, Technologies, Ecologies
Joshua I. Newman
Rutgers University Press, 2020
2020 Choice​ Outstanding Academic Title

The moving body—pervasively occupied by fitness activities, intense training and dieting regimes, recreational practices, and high-profile sporting mega-events—holds a vital function in contemporary society. As the body moves—as it performs, sweats, runs, and jumps—it sets in motion an intricate web of scientific rationalities, spatial arrangements, corporate imperatives, and identity politics (i.e. politics of gender, race, social class, etc.). It represents vitality in its productive and physiological capacities, it drives a complex economy of experiences and products, and it is a meaningful site of cultural identities and politics.
Contributors to Sport, Physical Culture, and the Moving Body work from a simple premise: as it moves, the material body matters. Adding to the burgeoning fields of sport studies and body studies, the works featured here draw upon the traditions of feminist theory, posthumanism, actor network theory, and new materialism to reposition the physical, moving body as crucial to the cultural, political, environmental, and economic systems that it constitutes and within which is constituted. Once assembled, the book presents a study of bodies in motion—made to move in contexts where technique, performance, speed, strength, and vitality not only define the conduct therein, but provide the very reason for the body’s being within those economies and environments. In so doing, the contributors look to how the body moving for and about rational systems of science, medicine, markets, and geopolity shapes the social and material world in important and unexpected ways.
In Sport, Physical Culture, and the Moving Body, contributors explore the extent to which the body, when moving about both ostensibly active body spaces (i.e., the gymnasium, the ball field, exercise laboratory, the track or running trail, the beach, or the sport stadium) and those places less often connected to physical activity (i.e. the home, the street, the classroom, the automobile), is bounded to technologies of life and living; and to the political arrangements that seek to capitalize upon such frames of biological vitality. To do so, the authors problematize the rise of active body science (i.e. kinesiology, sport and exercise sciences, performance biotechnology) and the effects these scientific interventions have on embodied, lived experience.
Contributors to Sport, Physical Culture, and the Moving Body will be engaging a range of new and emerging theoretical perspectives, including new materialist, political ecology, developmental systems theory, and new material feminist approaches, to examine the actors and assemblages of movement-based material, political, and economic production. In so doing, contributors will vividly and powerfully illustrate the extent to which a focus on the fleshed body and its material conditions can bring forth new insights or ontological and epistemological innovation to the sociology of sport and physical activity. They will also explore the agency of the body as and amongst things. Such a performative materialist approach explicates how complex assemblages of sport and physical activity—bringing into association everything from muscle fibers and dietary proteins to stadium concrete or regional aquifers—are not only meaningful, but ecological.
By focusing on the confluence of agentive materialities, disciplinary technologies, vibrant assemblages, speculative realities, and vital performativities, Sport, Physical Culture, and the Moving Body promises to offer a groundbreaking departure from representationalist tendencies and orthodoxies brought about by the cultural turn in sport and physical cultural studies. It brings the moving body and its physics back into focus: recentering moving flesh and bones as locus of social order, environmental change, and the global political economy.

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Female Fandom in the United States
Andrei S. Markovits
Temple University Press, 2012

The typical female sports fan remains very different from her male counterparts. In their insightful and engaging book, Sportista, Andrei S. Markovits and Emily Albertson examine the significant ways many women have become fully conversant with sports—acquiring a knowledge of and passion for them as a way of forging identities that until recently were quite alien to women.
Sportista chronicles the relationship that women have developed with sports in the wake of the second wave of feminism of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The changes women athletes have achieved have been nothing short of revolutionary. But, as Markovits and Albertson argue, women’s identities as sports fans, though also changed in recent decades, remain notably different from that of men. Sportista highlights the impediments to these changes that women have faced and the reality that, even as bona fide fans, they “speak” sports differently from and remain largely unaccepted by men.

In the series Politics, History and Social Change, edited by John C. Torpey


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Sports in Africa, Past and Present
Todd Cleveland
Ohio University Press, 2020

These groundbreaking essays demonstrate how Africans past and present have utilized sports to forge complex identities and shape Africa’s dynamic place in the world.

Since the late nineteenth century, modern sports in Africa have both reflected and shaped cultural, social, political, economic, generational, and gender relations on the continent. Although colonial powers originally introduced European sports as a means of “civilizing” indigenous populations and upholding then current notions of racial hierarchies and “muscular Christianity,” Africans quickly appropriated these sporting practices to fulfill their own varied interests. This collection encompasses a wide range of topics, including women footballers in Nigeria, Kenya’s world-class long-distance runners, pitches and stadiums in communities large and small, fandom and pay-to-watch kiosks, the sporting diaspora, sports pedagogy, sports as resistance and as a means to forge identity, sports heritage, the impact of politics on sports, and sporting biography.


front cover of The Sports Revolution
The Sports Revolution
How Texas Changed the Culture of American Athletics
By Frank Andre Guridy
University of Texas Press, 2021

The story of Texas’s impact on American sports culture during the civil rights and second-wave feminist movements, this book offers a new understanding of sports and society in the state and the nation as a whole.

In the 1960s and 1970s, America experienced a sports revolution. New professional sports franchises and leagues were established, new stadiums were built, football and basketball grew in popularity, and the proliferation of television enabled people across the country to support their favorite teams and athletes from the comfort of their homes. At the same time, the civil rights and feminist movements were reshaping the nation, broadening the boundaries of social and political participation. The Sports Revolution tells how these forces came together in the Lone Star State.

Tracing events from the end of Jim Crow to the 1980s, Frank Guridy chronicles the unlikely alliances that integrated professional and collegiate sports and launched women’s tennis. He explores the new forms of inclusion and exclusion that emerged during the era, including the role the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders played in defining womanhood in the age of second-wave feminism. Guridy explains how the sexual revolution, desegregation, and changing demographics played out both on and off the field as he recounts how the Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers and how Mexican American fans and their support for the Spurs fostered a revival of professional basketball in San Antonio. Guridy argues that the catalysts for these changes were undone by the same forces of commercialization that set them in motion and reveals that, for better and for worse, Texas was at the center of America’s expanding political, economic, and emotional investments in sport.


front cover of Sportsex
Toby Miller
Temple University Press, 2002
Sportsex examines the landscape of sports writ globally. And it is about the way sport allows men and women -- but mostly men - to consider their looks, their vitality, and their relationship to their gender in ways that in any other context would be considered taboo.

Miller pays particular attention to the way celebrity is considered around the world through a number  of different athletic activities. Along the way he also offers his own personal connection to sport as both a researcher and recipient of its abuses and pleasures.

In a world where everything is considered in its relationship to globalization, sport is one of the few arenas of social life that can be concretely seen in international terms. Sportsex opens that world up in a way that is accessible and significant for anyone interested in the shape of our emerging world culture.

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An American Dreamland
Lipsyte, Robert
Rutgers University Press, 2018
Tough and witty, SportsWorld is a well-known commentator’s overview of the most significant form of mass culture in America—sports. It’s a sweaty Oz that has grown in a century from a crucible for character to a complex of capitalism, a place where young people can find both self-fulfillment and cruel exploitation, where families can huddle in a sanctuary of entertainment and be force fed values and where cities and countries can be pillaged by greedy team owners and their paid-for politicians. But this book is not just a screed, it’s a guided visit with such heroes of sports as Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Joe Namath, who the author knew well, and with some he met in passing, like Richard Nixon, who seemed never to have gotten over missing the cut in college varsity football, a major mark of manhood. We see how SportsWorld sensibilities help elect our politicians, judge our children, fight our wars, and oppress our minorities. And now featuring a new introduction by the author,SportsWorld is a book that will provide the foundation for understanding today’s world of sports and the time of Trump. 

In the America of 2017—where the SuperBowl is worth billions, athletes are penalized or forced out of sports for political and anti-racist activism, and Title IX is constantly questioned and undermined—Robert Lipsyte’s 1975 critique remains startlingly and intensely relevant.

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Steel Chair to the Head
The Pleasure and Pain of Professional Wrestling
Nicholas Sammond, ed.
Duke University Press, 2005
The antagonists—oiled, shaved, pierced, and tattooed; the glaring lights; the pounding music; the shouting crowd: professional wrestling is at once spectacle, sport, and business. Steel Chair to the Head provides a multifaceted look at the popular phenomenon of pro wrestling. The contributors combine critical rigor with a deep appreciation of wrestling as a unique cultural form, the latest in a long line of popular performance genres. They examine wrestling as it happens in the ring, is experienced in the stands, is portrayed on television, and is discussed in online chat rooms. In the process, they reveal wrestling as an expression of the contradictions and struggles that shape American culture.

The essayists include scholars in anthropology, psychology, film studies, communication studies, and sociology, one of whom used to wrestle professionally. Classic studies of wrestling by Roland Barthes, Carlos Monsiváis, Sharon Mazer, and Henry Jenkins appear alongside original essays. Whether exploring how pro wrestling inflects race, masculinity, and ideas of reality and authenticity; how female fans express their enthusiasm for male wrestlers; or how lucha libre provides insights into Mexican social and political life, Steel Chair to the Head gives due respect to pro wrestling by treating it with the same thorough attention usually reserved for more conventional forms of cultural expression.

Contributors. Roland Barthes, Douglas L. Battema, Susan Clerc, Laurence de Garis, Henry Jenkins III, Henry Jenkins IV, Heather Levi, Sharon Mazer, Carlos Monsiváis, Lucia Rahilly, Catherine Salmon, Nicholas Sammond, Phillip Serrat, Philip Sewell


front cover of Strong Women. Better World
Strong Women. Better World
Title IX's Global Effect
Sarah Hillyer
University of Tennessee Press, 2022
Every story has a hero, every hero has a superpower, and when used with intentionality, sport is an incredible superpower in the fight for gender equality. Strong Women, Better World celebrates the global superheroes who use the potent mix of sport and education to kick down social, cultural, or political barriers and build stronger, more equitable communities. The book highlights nine members and alumnae of the Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP) Sisterhood, an award-winning sports diplomacy and mentorship exchange program implemented by the University of Tennessee’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society (CSPS) in partnership with the U.S. Department of State and espnW. The stories of these nine superheroes are captivating examples of Title IX’s global ripple effect and illustrate how helping empower women and girls worldwide to achieve their own Title IX moments provides multidimensional wins for us all.

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Suicide Squeeze
Taylor Hooton, Rob Garibaldi, and the Fight against Teenage Steroid Abuse
William C. Kashatus
Temple University Press, 2016

Appearance- and performance-enhancing drugs—specifically, anabolic steroids (APEDs)—provide a tempting competitive advantage for amateur baseball players. But this shortcut can exact a fatal cost on talented athletes. In his urgent book Suicide Squeeze, William Kashatus chronicles the experiences of Taylor Hooton and Rob Garibaldi, two promising high school baseball players who abused APEDs in the hopes of attracting professional scouts and Division I recruiters. However, as a result of their steroid abuse, they ended up taking their own lives.

In Suicide Squeeze—named for the high-risk play in baseball to steal home—Kashatus identifies the symptoms and dangers of steroid use among teens. Using archival research and interviews with the Hooton and Garibaldi families, he explores the lives and deaths of these two troubled young men, the impact of their suicides on MLB, and the ongoing fight against adolescent APED use by their parents.

A passionate appeal to prevent additional senseless deaths by athletes, Suicide Squeeze is an important contribution to debates on youth and sports and on public policy.


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Testing for Athlete Citizenship
Regulating Doping and Sex in Sport
Henne, Kathryn E
Rutgers University Press, 2015
Incidents of doping in sports are common in news headlines, despite regulatory efforts. How did doping become a crisis? What does a doping violation actually entail? Who gets punished for breaking the rules of fair play? In Testing for Athlete Citizenship, Kathryn E. Henne, a former competitive athlete and an expert in the law and science of anti-doping regulations, examines the development of rules aimed at controlling performance enhancement in international sports. 
As international and celebrated figures, athletes are powerful symbols, yet few spectators realize that a global regulatory network is in place in an attempt to ensure ideals of fair play. The athletes caught and punished for doping are not always the ones using performance-enhancing drugs to cheat. In the case of female athletes, violations of fair play can stem from their inherent biological traits. Combining historical and ethnographic approaches, Testing for Athlete Citizenship offers a compelling account of the origins and expansion of anti-doping regulation and gender-verification rules. 
Drawing on research conducted in Australasia, Europe, and North America, Henne provides a detailed account of how race, gender, class, and postcolonial formations of power shape these ideas and regulatory practices. Testing for Athlete Citizenship makes a convincing case to rethink the power of regulation in sports and how it separates athletes as a distinct class of citizens subject to a unique set of rules because of their physical attributes and abilities. 

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That Futebol Feeling
Sport and Play in Brazil's Heartland
David Faflik
Temple University Press, 2025
Futebol, or soccer for Americans, is the planet’s spectator sport of choice. In the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, nestled in the country’s southeastern heartland, futebol generates powerful, lifelong emotions.

That Futebol Feeling captures the region’s enthrallment with “the beautiful game,” and shows us how and why play is central to the human condition. David Faflik profiles members of the most celebrated local team, Clube Atlético Mineiro (CAM), as well as its passionate, never-say-die fans, to show how futebol and fandom shape their everyday lives and perspectives. He discovers bonds of work and play, as well as pride, identity, and community. Additionally, Faflik’s analysis of Brazil’s futebol culture reflects sports fandom worldwide.

CAM stands as a symbol for a way of life in Minas Gerais, the birthplace of Pelé. Faflik interrogates what playing the game means to those who dedicate their lives to the sport. He writes, “The feelings that football inspires are the best of me.” That Futebol Feeling shares that special feeling with the rest of us.

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Transnational Sport
Gender, Media, and Global Korea
Rachael Miyung Joo
Duke University Press, 2012
Based on ethnographic research in Seoul and Los Angeles, Transnational Sport tells how sports shape experiences of global Koreanness, and how those experiences are affected by national cultures. Rachael Miyung Joo focuses on superstar Korean athletes and sporting events produced for transnational media consumption. She explains how Korean athletes who achieve success on the world stage represent a powerful, globalized Korea for Koreans within the country and those in the diaspora. Celebrity Korean women athletes are highly visible in the Ladies Professional Golf Association. In the media, these young golfers are represented as daughters to be protected within the patriarchal Korean family and as hypersexualized Asian women with commercial appeal. Meanwhile, the hard-muscled bodies of male athletes, such as Korean baseball and soccer players, symbolize Korean masculine dominance in the global capitalist arena. Turning from particular athletes to a mega-event, Joo discusses the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan, a watershed moment in recent Korean history. New ideas of global Koreanness coalesced around this momentous event. Women and youth assumed newly prominent roles in Korean culture, and, Joo suggests, new models of public culture emerged as thousands of individuals were joined by a shared purpose.

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Twin Cities Sports
Games for All Seasons
Sheldon Anderson
University of Arkansas Press, 2020
The histories in Twin Cities Sports are rooted in the class, ethnic, and regional identity of this unique upper midwestern metropolitan area. The compilation includes a wide range of important studies on the hub of interwar speedskating, the success of Gopher football in the Jim Crow era, the integration of municipal golf courses, the building of a world-renowned park system, the Minneapolis Lakers’ basketball dynasty, the Minnesota Twins’ connections to Cuba, and more.

front cover of Velocipedomania
A Cultural History of the Velocipede in France
Corry Cropper
Bucknell University Press, 2023
When blacksmith Pierre Michaux affixed pedals to the front axle of a two-wheeled scooter with a seat, he helped kick off a craze known as velocipedomania, which swept France in the late 1860s. The immediate forerunner of the bicycle, the velocipede similarly reflected changing cultural attitudes and challenged gender norms. 
Velocipedomania is the first in-depth study of the velocipede fad and the popular culture it inspired. It explores how the device was hailed as a symbol of France’s cutting-edge technological advancements, yet also marketed as an invention with a noble pedigree, born from the nation’s cultural and literary heritage. Giving readers a window into the material culture and enthusiasms of Second Empire France, it provides the first English translations of 1869’s Manual of the Velocipede, 1868’s Note on Monsieur Michaux’s Velocipede, and the 1869 operetta Dagobert and his Velocipede. It also reprints scores of rare images from newspapers and advertisements, analyzing how these magnificent machines captured the era’s visual imagination. By looking at how it influenced French attitudes towards politics, national identity, technology, fashion, fitness, and gender roles, this book shows how the short-lived craze of velocipedomania had a big impact. 

front cover of Waikiki Dreams
Waikiki Dreams
How California Appropriated Hawaiian Beach Culture
Patrick Moser
University of Illinois Press, 2024

Despite a genuine admiration for Native Hawaiian culture, white Californians of the 1930s ignored authentic relationships with Native Hawaiians. Surfing became a central part of what emerged instead: a beach culture of dressing, dancing, and acting like an Indigenous people whites idealized.

Patrick Moser uses surfing to open a door on the cultural appropriation practiced by Depression-era Californians against a backdrop of settler colonialism and white nationalism. Recreating the imagined leisure and romance of life in Waikīkī attracted people buffeted by economic crisis and dislocation. California-manufactured objects like surfboards became a physical manifestation of a dream that, for all its charms, emerged from a white impulse to both remove and replace Indigenous peoples. Moser traces the rise of beach culture through the lives of trendsetters Tom Blake, John “Doc” Ball, Preston “Pete” Peterson, Mary Ann Hawkins, and Lorrin “Whitey” Harrison while also delving into California’s control over images of Native Hawaiians via movies, tourism, and the surfboard industry.

Compelling and innovative, Waikīkī Dreams opens up the origins of a defining California subculture.


front cover of Whose Game?
Whose Game?
Gender and Power in Fantasy Sports
Rebecca Joyce Kissane and Sarah Winslow
Temple University Press, 2020

Fantasy sports have the opportunity to provide a sporting community in which gendered physical presence plays no role—a space where men and women can compete and interact on a level playing field. Whose Game? shows, however, that while many turn to this space to socialize with friends or participate in a uniquely active and competitive fandom, men who play also depend on fantasy sports to perform a boyhood vision of masculinity otherwise inaccessible to them. Authors Rebecca Kissane and Sarah Winslow draw on a rich array of survey, interview, and observational data to examine how gender, race, and class frame the experiences of everyday fantasy sports players.

This pioneering book examines gendered structures and processes, such as jock statsculinity—a nerdish form of masculine one-upmanship—and how women are often rendered as outsiders. Ultimately, Whose Game? demonstrates that fantasy sports are more than just an inconsequential leisure activity. This online world bleeds into participants’ social lives in gendered ways—forging and strengthening relationships but also taking participants’ time and attention to generate negative emotions, stress, discord, and unproductivity.


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