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The Politics of Sport

Edited by Anna Carroll


This unit on the politics of sport is designed to expand on students’ existing talents for the critical analysis of sports and the different social issues that are played out on the fields, courts, and arenas of athletic spectacle. These readings explore overlapping themes of ethics, social justice, and mass consumption of popular culture. Here students will find a range of topics—a model for the broad range of possible research questions they might ask in their own projects. Since sport is one of the most ubiquitous points of common interest on the planet, students are encouraged to think critically about what makes athletics such a compelling outlet for people of all kinds, and what kind of problems arise from such intense investment.


  • “Commemorating 9/11 NFL-Style,” Mia Fischer
  • “Offensive Play,” Malcolm Gladwell
  • “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight,” Clifford Geertz
  • “A Yellow Card, then Unfathomable Violence, in Brazil,” Jereth Longman and Taylor Barnes
  •  “I Wanted Black Skates: Gender, Cash, Pleasure, and the Politics of Criticism,” Erica Rand
  • “Serena The Great,” Stephen Rodrick