The Game Behind the Game

This course explores the cultural myths which have been foundational to the invention of basketball in America. From the myth of an “essence of the game” discovered by its Presbyterian inventor in 1891 to the NBA’s myth of “playing the right way,” the sport of basketball embodies a set of collective narratives that re-inscribe a politics of morality, race, class, sexuality, and gender. By assuming a heretical stance towards these myths, and the manner in which they are enacted in the game itself, students reveal the hidden power struggles in basketball, and learn to see the sport as a reflection of American society as a whole.

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