The Global History of Modern Sports
1. When sport emerged in the modern world, why was it limited almost entirely to men? Where did this occur? What purposes were served by keeping sports a male activity? How did it come to be challenged? Were such challenges successful? 2. Are the Olympic Games or the men’s soccer World Cup the most meaningful test of a nation’s prestige and success? How is success measured? When did each competition become a truly global mega-event? By what criteria can that be determined? 3. Why did soccer take so long to catch on in the USA? Has it been able to challenge baseball, football, and basketball as culturally hegemonic activities? Does it have anything to do with American exceptionalism? Is there even such a thing as American exceptionalism? Are the failure of socialism and soccer to gain US acceptance proof of exceptionalism? Are they even related? 4. Which historical category is central to understanding the history of sports. Is it class, race, gender, nation or a combination? Give concrete examples of how one, another or a combination of all of them can explain modern sport’s evolution in a variety of national contexts 5. Did sports divert the industrial working class from its “assigned” historical role as the leader of world revolution? Were socialists right to suspect it? Were nationalists right to embrace it? 6. Do you think Nazi/fascist sport and Soviet sport were the same? If not, how were they different? Which was more successful in gaining global acceptance from the world’s public? What were the differences on matters of class, gender, nation and race? 7. Historically, was sport a post-racial sphere in which talent exclusively determined success? What roles did sports play in the global evolution of race relations throughout the world over the last two centuries? 8. Do you believe that the political right or the political left was more effective in making use of sports for political purposes? Do not limit your answer to a single time and places. Did different sports appeal to different social groups? Expand 9. What role or roles did sports play in the spread of empires and their eventual destruction? 10. Trace the evolution of the practices of amateur and professional sports. How was each concept or approach defined, or were they ever truly defined? How did they evolve? How did these questions effect relations among social classes in the various places where sport emerged?