This insightful volume considers how to locate America in the sporting world: in the traditions and rituals of a national pastime or in the baseball academies run by American professional teams in the Dominican Republic? With the athletes that carry a flag in Olympic ceremonies or among the executives in the boardrooms of Nike? The contributors argue that 'America' is located in these familiar sites and practices but also and increasingly in these novel contexts, where the bodies, strategies, and aspirations of others are becoming subject to American ludic, agonistic, and moral orders. Collectively, their contention is that American sports as a category needs to be reconsidered, to take into account the extensive networks of expertise, finance, and performance moving out from American athletic institutions as well as the ever increasing influx of talent coming from abroad that sustains American collegiate and professional athletics.
As America strives to balance cosmopolitan objectives with resurgent nationalism, it is critical to consider 'American sports' from within and without. This book will be of great interest to scholars of culture, politics, and sport.
This book was previously published as a special issue of The International Journal of the History of Sport.
Table of Contents
1. Prologue: The Paradoxes of American Games from Within and Without Benjamin Eastman 2. Why Baseball, Why Cricket? Differing Nationalisms, Differing Challenges Boria Majumdar and Sean Brown 3. Let the Games Begin: Sport, U.S. Race Relations and Cold War Politics Damion Thomas 4. Capturing Racism: An Analysis of Racial Projects within the Lisa Simpson vs. University of Colorado Football Rape Case Todd Crosset 5. The Opposite of Losses: Where Lies the Soul of American Sports? Holly Swyers 6. Making the World Safe for Baseball: Reflections on Internationalism in Cooperstown and the World Baseball Classic John D. Kelly 7. Prototype: In Search of the Perfect Senegalese Basketball Physique Michael Ralph 8. Baseball in the Breach: Notes on Defection, Disaffection and Transition in Contemporary Cuba Benjamin Eastman 9. Latinizing the ‘National Pastime’ Alan Klein 10. Epilogue: It Was All a Dream (Wasn’t It?) Michael Ralph
Benjamin Eastman is a PhD candidate in socio-cultural anthropology at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on contemporary Cuban society and politics and in particular the relationships between sports, nationalism, and the transition to post-socialism in Cuba.
Sean Brown is a PhD student in sociology at Northeastern University.
Michael Ralph is a PhD candidate in socio-cultural anthropology at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on contemporary Senegal, in particular the prominence of sport in Senegalese encounters with globalization and neo-liberal reforms.