Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Sport, Politics and Society and the United States
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 16 one hour lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 5 one hour seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   FINAL EXAMINATION X1  60%
Semester Assessment 2500 WORD ESSAY X1  40%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
1. Critically evaluate the overall inter-relationship between sport and politics during the twentieth century;
2. Examine and critically evaluate the significance of domestic and international sporting experience on American politics and society;
3. Assess the significance of the Olympic Games and the International Olympic Committee in historical and contemporary international relations;
4. Examine the inter-relationship of issues such as drugs and race on American politics and society at both domestic and international levels;
5. Critically examine the themes of sport and diplomacy; sport and state recognition; sport and race and sport as cultural America


This module would provide a new teaching area for the Department by critically examining the increasingly prescient inter-relationship of sport and international politics. It will allow students to explore aspects of this relationship in-depth by focusing on the experiences and events connected to the experience of the United States.

Brief description

This module examines the role of sport as a facet of politics and national identity in both thematic and historical contexts. There is a strong focus on the United States and the Olympic Games but other sports which might be perceived as particularly `American' are also examined.


1. Introduction: Why does sport matter?
2. Politics and the Olympic games: inevitable bedfellows?
3. `Made in America': US sport and national identity
4. Baseball and society: the 1919 Black Sox scandal
5. Sport and race in America: Avery Brundage and the 1936 `Nazi' Olympics
6. `War minus the shooting': the US, the Olympics and the Cold War
7. American diplomacy and Olympic recognition - divided Germany
8. American diplomacy and Olympic recognition - divided China
9. Sport and Civil Rights: the 1960s and `Black Power'
10. The US and the Middle East: the impact of the 1972 Munich massacre
11. The Olympic boycotts: from Moscow to Los Angeles
12. Eminently forgettable? The 1994 FIFA World Cup
13. The politics of Professionalisation
14. Sport, drugs and society
15. Sport and the economy
16. The United States and sport in the twenty first century: Beijing 2008
1. Introduction: sport and politics
2. Sport, race and the 1936 `Nazi' Olympics
3. Nixon, China and `ping pong diplomacy'
4. The 1980 Moscow boycott: foreign policy success or failure?
5. American sport and politics in the twenty first century

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to articulate their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to how to present their arguments most effectively. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. Students will also be required to submit their report in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their assessed essay. The need to contribute to seminar discussions and to meet coursework deadlines will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as through electronic information sources. The students will be provided with a course website to facilitate the learning process and communication with the module convenor. Students will also be expected to make use of the resources that will be available on the Blackboard VLE.
Personal Development and Career planning This module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives - listening, thinking and responding to comments and questions in both written and verbal contexts. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of an essay will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of students' ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research for all elements of the assessed work. This will involve utilizing media and web sources, as well as more conventional academic texts. Students will in part be assessed on their ability to gather appropriate and interesting resources materials. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: Developing the ability to use evidence in a sophisticated way to construct an argument, including using detailed and accurate referencing techniques to identify sources used ; Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module ; Ability to evaluate competing perspectives ; Demonstrate subject specific research techniques
Team work Teamwork will not be a central component of this module. However, students will need to learn how to interact and communicate effectively within a group setting during seminars.


This module is at CQFW Level 6