Sport and society – Reed Magazine

Anthro 324 with Professor Silverstein examines how sport strengthens and challenges fundamental social constructs.

September 10, 2021

Sports are deeply entangled and interwoven with social processes, cultural institutions and daily life in much of the world. In Anthropology 324, Professor Paul Silverstein approaches the game of sport as a set of embodied practices and performances, as a primary site both to replicate fundamental categories such as gender, class, race and ethnicity. , and to innovate them.

Through case studies of sporting practices (including football, cricket, baseball, basketball, weight training, boxing, capoeira, skateboarding and parkour), students examine how the colonial legacy s ‘literally embodies in contemporary forms of urban space. They also examine the relationship between sport, colonialism, nationalism and globalization.

“I like to encourage Reedies to take sport seriously,” says Prof Silverstein. “At first glance, it seems counterintuitive for Reed’s intellectual self-image, and yet sport turns out to be a fantastic lens through which to investigate very serious questions regarding culture, identity, inequalities and geopolitics. Sport is a part of all of our lives, whether we love it or hate it, and we all have embodied experiences to bring to the discussion. And we play cricket on the front lawn!

Prof. Silverstein is a cultural anthropologist who teaches courses in Middle Eastern culture and politics, the anthropology of colonialism, the anthropology of classes, and the anthropology of immigration.

He is the author of Postcolonial France: race, Islam and the future of the Republic (Pluto, 2018) and Algeria in France: transpolitics, race and nation (Indiana, 2004). He is co-editor (with Ussama Makdisi) of Memory and violence in the Middle East and North Africa (Indiana, 2006) and (with Jane Goodman) of Bourdieu in Algeria: colonial policy, ethnographic practices, theoretical developments (Nebraska, 2009). He is completing an ethnography on Amazigh / Berber ethno-politics, historical consciousness and development in south-eastern Morocco, and is pursuing new research on the history and politics of immigrant labor in the coal mines of the ‘Post-war Europe. Last year he and his students published Quarantine logs in Reed Magazine.

He holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and has worked at Reed since 2000.

Tags: Courses we would like to take, Studies, Sports and adventures

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