Preston Robert Tisch Institute for Global Sport

HOW BASKETBALL CAN SAVE THE WORLD An Exploration of Society, Politics, Culture and Commerce Through the Game

This interdisciplinary course will explore the game of basketball as a prism that uniquely and profoundly reflects and refracts major global social, cultural, political, and commercial issues. Students will learn the origins of the game from the ancient Mesoamericans and Mayans to its modern incarnation invented by Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian working in Massachusetts. Students will analyze the special properties and societal models inherent in the game -- individualist versus collectivist, socialistic versus capitalistic, structured versus expository ¿ and why the sport has been a haven for social isolation, and the sport of ¿the other.¿ Students will explore why the game powerfully appeals to and influences indigenous peoples and immigrants, as well as urban and rural alike. The course will examine basketball¿s influence and leadership on race, gender, and sexuality. Students will also see how basketball has served as a signpost for transformative trends in commerce and culture through areas like Hip-Hop music, fashion, sneakers, social media, and global iconoclasm (eg. Michael Jordan, Yao Ming.). Students will also learn about basketball¿s role in struggles for national identity (eg. Lithuania, Israel, the former Yugoslavia). Finally, the course will understand the global popularity of basketball and its role as a 21st-century platform for diplomacy and peace (eg. Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong Un, US and China). (Counts as a liberal arts humanities course for all students)
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