Sports in American History: From Colonization to Globalization journeys from the early American past to the present to give students a compelling grasp of the historical evolution of American sporting practices. This text provides students with insights that will allow them to develop new and alternative perspectives, examine sport as a social and cultural phenomenon, generate a better understanding of current sport practices, and consider future developments in sport in American life.
This expansive text is the most comprehensive resource on sport history, providing coverage of sport by historical periods—from the indigenous tribes of premodern America, through colonial societies, to the era of sport in the United States today. Unlike previous sport history texts, Sports in American History examines how women, minorities, and ethnic and religious groups have influenced U.S. sporting culture. This gives students a broader knowledge of the complexities of sport, health, and play in the American experience and how historical factors, such as gender, ethnicity, race, and religion, provide a more complete understanding of sports in American history.
The easy-to-follow material is divided into nine chronological chapters starting with sporting practices in colonial America and ending with globalized sport today, making it ideal for a semester-long course. Each chapter includes objectives, an introduction, a summary of the points covered, and discussion questions to help students easily identify and remember the key concepts presented. In addition, the text has the following features:
- An extensive time line of significant sport and nonsport events gives students a handy reference point from which to view the past.
- End-of-chapter discussion questions help students comprehend the material and aid instructors in class preparation.
- Sidebars provide alternative perspectives about sport issues and developments, including international differences in the organization, play, and culture of sport. “People and Places” sidebars offer brief glimpses into key institutions and figures that have affected sport during a particular period.
- Primary documents from each historical period—including newspapers, illustrations, photographs, historical writings, quotations, and posters—are integrated into each chapter to bring the time periods to life for students.
- An extensive bibliography features primary and secondary sources in American sport history.
Sports in American History is unique in its level of detail, broad time frame, and focus on sports and the evolving definitions of physical activity and games. In addition, excerpts from primary documents provide firsthand accounts that will not only inform and fascinate readers but also provide a well-rounded perspective on the historical development of American sport. With sidebars offering an international viewpoint, this book will help students understand how historical events have shaped sport differently in the United States than in other parts of the world.
About the Author
Gerald R. Gems, PhD, is an international scholar and the author and editor of 8 books and more than 125 publications. He currently is a professor in health and physical education at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. Gems serves on the Executive Council and Scientific Committee of the International Society for History of Physical Education and Sport and is a past president of the North American Society for Sport History. He has been the book review editor of the Journal of Sport History since 1996.
Dr. Gems was awarded the Fulbright Senior Specialist Award for 2007 to 2012 and was an Illinois Roads Scholar in history from 1999 to 2003. He earned his PhD in sport history at the University of Maryland.
Linda J. Borish, PhD, an associate professor of history at Western Michigan University, has focused her research on American women’s sport and health history. Her research has been published in both national and international publications. She was selected in 2001-2002 as the International Ambassador for the North American Society for Sport History and also served on its Executive Council and Publications Board. She is executive producer and historian of the documentary film Jewish Women in American Sport: Settlement Houses to the Olympics and has received numerous research grants related to American women and sport history in rural and urban contexts. Borish was the book review coeditor on the Journal of Sport History from 1996 to 2000.
Dr. Borish earned her PhD in American studies from the University of Maryland. In addition to her role at Western Michigan, Borish is a research associate at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Brandeis University.
Gertrud Pfister, PhD, is a professor at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. She was president of the International Sport Sociology Society from 2001 to 2007. Pfister was also president of the International Society for the History of Sport and Physical Education from 1993 to 2000 and won the association’s award for lifelong achievements in the area of sport history in 2005.
Dr. Pfister earned an honorary doctorate from Semmelweis University in Budapest.
She is a fellow of the American Academy for Kinesiology and Physical Education
and the European College for Sport Science.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Sporting Experiences in Colonial America, 1400–1750
Native American Pastimes and Sports
Influence of Religion on English Colonists
Sport in American Colonies
Chapter 2. Sport and Pastimes in the American Revolutionary Era and Early National
The Great Awakening and the Place of Sport
Consumerism and Changing Patterns of Colonial Life
The Enlightenment in America and Ideas of Sport and the Body
Frontier and Backcountry Sport
Women’s Active Recreation in the Revolutionary Era and Early National Period
Native American Sport
Sporting Practices During the American Revolutionary War
Turn of the Nineteenth Century and Societal Patterns
Chapter 3. Antebellum Health Reforms and Sporting Forms, 1820–1860
Overview of the Antebellum Period
Women and Physical Activity
Rural Sporting Practices
Rise of Agricultural and Sporting Journalism
Sporting Practices of the Middle and Upper Class
Public Spaces for Health and Sport
Sporting Pastimes of African Americans and Native Americans
Immigrants and Sporting Cultures
Chapter 4. Rise of Rationalized and Modern Sport, 1850–1870
Concept of Modern Sport
Subcommunities and the Growth of Modern Sport
Growth of Sports Clubs and Advancing Rational Recreation
Growth of American Team Sport and Competition
Rise of Intercollegiate Sport
The Civil War and Sporting Experiences
Chapter 5. New Identities and Expanding Modes of Sport in the Gilded Age, 1870–1890
Sport and Social Stratification
Maintaining Ethnic Forms of Leisure
Development of an Intercollegiate Sporting Culture
Male Sporting Culture
Business of Sport
Gendered Sport, Class, and Social Roles
Regulation of Sport: Amateurism Versus Professionalism
Chapter 6. American Sport and Social Change During the Progressive Era, 1890–1920
Social Reformers of the Progressive Era
Play and Games in American Ideology
Sport and Colonialism
Resistance to Social Reform
Sport, Ethnicity, and the Quest for Social Mobility
Assimilation of Disparate Groups in American Society
Challenging Gender Boundaries
Sport and Technology
Modern Olympic Games
Sport During World War I
Chapter 7. Sport, Heroic Athletes, and Popular Culture, 1920–1950
War, Depression, and the Shaping of America
Social Change and the Spread of Sport
Heroes in the Golden Age
Media and the Commercialization of Sport
Chapter 8. Sport as TV Spectacle, Big Business, and Political Site, 1950–1980
Sport in the Cold War
Evolution of the Sport–Media Relationship
Incorporation of Alternative Heroes
Professional Sport and Labor Relations
Sport and the Civil Rights Movement
Sport, Narcissism, and the Existential Search for Self
Scientific Advancements and the Growth of Sport
Chapter 9. Globalized Sport, 1980–2007
Corporate Sporting Culture
Women and Sport
Sport and Cynicism in America
Enduring Icons of Sport
Text for undergraduate courses in sport history and American studies. Reference for libraries, historians, sport scientists, and sport enthusiasts.