With its heroes and hustlers, its victors and victims, its stars and spectators, sport was, is, and will remain undeniably popular and significant. Ancient and modern civilizations share what amounts to an obsession with physical contests and public performances, but what is “sport” and how can it be studied and understood historically? This course will examine the prominence, variety, cultural distinctiveness and functions of sports (and spectacles) in ancient and modern societies.
Class lectures and discussions will be interactive, engaging and complemented by documentaries/film screenings. We will visit together the Soccer Museum in Florence and students will be required to attend on their own a professional game of the local soccer team, Fiorentina, which is playing at the top level of the professional Italian soccer series (Serie A).
Meets with SPM 300.1.
Semesters: Fall, Spring