Friday, October 12, 2012

PSU hosts workshop on national pastimes


What is a national pastime? Can a nation have more than one national pastime? Is a "pastime" national based upon spectatorship or participation, or both?

These are some of the questions that the acclaimed scholars will be addressing during a two-day workshop hosted by the Pennsylvania State University.

This morning, Mark Dyreson, Professor of Kinesiology, open the "The Lives (and Deaths) of American National Pastimes" workshop addressing the early tensions in the development of the function and cultural significance of national pastimes in the United States.

Additionally to the faculty from Penn State, the workshop welcomes scholars from the University of Maryland, Ohio State University, Purdue University and George Mason University, among others. 

On Friday, the workshop will encompass lectures on how basketball, baseball, and footb`ll became constructed as "national pastimes." The scholars will also address the role of the media in this process of construction, as well as the relationship between law and the emergence of these activities.

To close the first day of the conference, John Nichols, Professor Emeritus at the College of Communications, will offer a commentary.  He will be addressing a talk titled "Intercollegiate Sports as National Pastimes -- Why American Football Became the Dominant College Sport" by Ronald Smith, Professor Emeritus of Sport and Exercise Studies, at 4pm.

The workshop continues on Saturday at 9am with sessions on horse racing and prize fighting. In closing, the scholars will address how social identity -- based on gender and race -- allowed for/limited access to "national pastimes."


Marie Hardin, Associate Director for Research at the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism will be commenting on Jaime Schultz's and Andrew Linden's talk "Women and National Pastimes," which begins at 11am.

The workshop is held at 110 Henderson Building. On Friday, the sessions end at 5pm, while on Saturday, they conclude at 1pm.

For updates, go to @CurleyCenter on Twitter and check back to our blog.

-- Dunja Antunovic

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