From the mid-19th Century to today, baseball has inspired myths, legends, stories, and histories in both the US and abroad. By reading works about baseball from around the world, students enrolled in this course will explore how place shapes the game of baseball and how, in turn, the game shapes those particular places. Whose stories get told? How are these stories usually told? Why? Among other topics, throughout the course students will consider how notions of race, class, gender, and sexuality prevalent in different places at different times have been reproduced, contested, and overturned on the diamond, spawning many of the popular stories of the game told and retold today.
Students in the course will read everything from oral literature to sports writing to children’s literature, hopefully have the opportunity to visit several ballparks in the area, and maybe interview a former player or two. If you don’t know the stories of Specs Toporcer, of integrated baseball in Bismark, ND in the 1930s, or of Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, you will by the end of this course! (P4)