How much has American society changed since the 1960s? And how do you gauge the extent of this change? In this session we will try to answer these questions by exploring a few of the more significant and pivotal moments in American history through the prism of sports. We will look beyond competitive outcomes on the fields of play—who won, who lost, and by how much?—and instead will focus on what these moments can reveal about the struggles for racial justice and gender equality in our nation.
Throughout our session we will consider the ways sports—a marathon, a college football game, a prizefight, a tennis match—have reflected larger trends in American life as well as influenced American history and the nation we occupy today. Whether this influence has been positive or negative is another question we will consider.