Teaching a sociocultural course on hockey at the undergraduate level: Thoughts on course content and critically engaging students
January 4, 2013 14 Comments
Starting next week, I will be teaching a third year course to undergraduates in University of Toronto’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education. The course is called “Hockey in Canadian Society” – and yes, I realize that the title is incredibly similar to the name of this blog! I am extremely excited, if a little nervous, about starting the course. I do not have nerves about public speaking or about the course preparation – I have been excited to teach this course for months and so have already spent quite a lot of time on its design – but rather whether I can successfully impart the complexities of hockey’s social construction in Canadian society to undergraduate students.
This post simply offers an overview of the course, my thoughts about engaging students critically with a sport many of them love, and presents a list of sources that students will read. I hope that it may provide a useful resource for other scholars teaching about hockey and more generally provide a useful list of some good academic and online sources about the sport. If you have any comments, feedback, or suggestions please let me know!
Course Units and Topics
UNIT 1: HOCKEY IN CANADIAN SOCIETY
Week 1: Introduction to Hockey in Canadian Society
Week 2: Creating and Contesting the Social Meaning of Hockey in Canada
UNIT 2: HOCKEY AND IDENTITY
Week 3: Hockey and Masculinity
Week 4: Girls and Women in Canadian Hockey
Weeks 5 & 6: Race and Ethnicity in Canadian Hockey
UNIT 3: SOCIOPOLITICAL ISSUES IN HOCKEY
Weeks 7 & 8: Producing Hockey – Mass Media and New Media
Weeks 9 & 10: Hockey, Labour, and Commercialism
Week 11: Violence in Hockey Cultures
UNIT 4: HOCKEY AND POLITICS IN TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY CANADA
Week 12: Hockey and Contemporary Canadian Politics
This blog has helped immensely in my ability to think and communicate critically about hockey, and I hope this will translate well in the classroom. It has also provided the inspiration for what I hope will be an educational and enjoyable form of participation: a class blog. As part of their participation grades, students will be required to publish three short blog posts linking current events to course material and will also be required to provide constructive feedback on five of their peers’ posts. This may turn out to be more chaotic than I anticipate, but I hope that it is a productive exercise. In particular, I am hoping that it accomplishes three objectives: 1) providing an alternative form of participation, though not a replacement for in-class discussion, of students; 2) allowing students to relate course material, much of which was published many years ago, to ongoing events in hockey; and 3) to teach students about the political and advocacy possibilities offered by new media such as blogs.
In addition to participation in class and on the blog, I am requiring students to write a book review on a popular or academic hockey book, design and implement a group project, and write a take-home final exam. The book review offers students an opportunity to read one of the many amazing hockey books out there; however, given that there is also a tremendous amount of hockey books lacking in critical approaches to the sport, I am vetting the books that students choose. For the group project, I am allowing students significant leeway in developing a project relating to hockey. This could take the form of a media analysis, some sort of new media production, qualitative or quantitative data collection and analysis, or any other number of options. I am optimistic, if cautiously so, that students will develop some creative and insightful projects. As the students will have to submit a proposal to me before beginning their work, and as I will give them time in class to work together on the project, I hope that I will be able to guide them throughout the research process.
I am expecting students to read a wide range of sources, including online readings from newspapers or a blogs (including this one). Unfortunately there is not enough time to include all of the excellent hockey writing that is out there, so I have had to exclude some excellent sources. In addition to readings, I am planning to use a variety of A/V materials, including excerpts from CBC’s Hockey: A People’s History. Below is the full list of readings.
Selected chapter(s) from:
Michael Atkinson & Kevin Young, (2008), Deviance and Social Control in Sport.
David Cruise & Alison Griffiths, (1991), Net Worth: Exploding the Myths of Pro Hockey.
Richard Gruneau & David Whitson, (1993), Hockey Night in Canada: Sport, Identities, and Cultural Politics.
Cecil Harris, (2005), Breaking the Ice: The Black Experience in Professional Hockey,
Chapters from edited volumes:
Mary Louise Adams, (2006), “The Game of Whose Lives? Gender, Race, and Entitlement in Canada’s “National” Game,” in D. Whitson & R. Gruneau (Eds.), Artificial Ice: Hockey, Culture, and Commerce (pp. 71-84).
James Gillett, Philip White, & Kevin Young, (1995), “The Prime Minister of Saturday Night: Don Cherry, the CBC, and the Cultural Production of Intolerance.” In H. Holmes & D. Taras (Eds.), Seeing Ourselves: Media, Power and Policy in Canada (pp. 59-72).
John Hannigan, (2006), “From Maple Leaf Gardens to the Air Canada Centre: The Downtown Entertainment Economy in “World Class” Toronto,” in D. Whitson & R. Gruneau (Eds.), Artificial Ice: Hockey, Culture, and Commerce (pp. 201-214).
Jean Harvey, (2006), “Whose Sweater is this? The Changing Meanings of Hockey in Quebec,” in D. Whitson & R. Gruneau (Eds.), Artificial Ice: Hockey, Culture, and Commerce (pp. 29-52).
Robert Pitter, (2006), “Racialization and Hockey in Canada: From Personal Troubles to a Canadian Challenge,” in D. Whitson & R. Gruneau (Eds.), Artificial Ice: Hockey, Culture, and Commerce (pp. 123-139).
Brian Wilson, (2006) “Selective Memory in a Global Culture: Reconsidering Links between Youth, Hockey, and Canadian Identity,” in D. Whitson & R. Gruneau (Eds.), Artificial Ice: Hockey, Culture, and Commerce (pp. 53-70).
Kristi Allain, (2008), ““Real fast and tough”: The construction of Canadian hockey masculinity,” Sociology of Sport Journal, 25, 462-481.
Bruce Kidd, (1996), “The Making of a Hockey Artifact: A Review of the Hockey Hall of Fame,” Journal of Sport History, 23(3), 328-334.
Margaret MacNeill, (1995), “Networks: Producing Olympic Ice Hockey for a National Television Audience,” Sociology of Sport Journal, 13(2), pp. 103-124.
Michael Messner, (1992), “When Bodies Are Weapons,” Peace Review, 4(3), 28-31.
Mark Norman, (2012), “Saturday Night’s Alright for Tweeting: Cultural Citizenship, Collective Discussion, and the New Media Consumption/Production of Hockey Day in Canada,” Sociology of Sport Journal, 29, 306-324.
Michael Robidoux, (2002), “Imagining a Canadian Identity through Sport: A Historical Interpretation of Lacrosse and Hockey,” Journal of American Folklore, 115(456), 209-225.
Jay Scherer and Jordan Koch, (2010), “Living with war: Sport, citizenship, and the cultural politics of post-9/11 Canadian identity,” Sociology of Sport Journal, 27, 1-29.
Jay Scherer & Lisa McDermott, (2011), “Playing Promotional Politics: Mythologizing Hockey and Manufacturing “Ordinary” Canadians,” International Journal of Canadian Studies, 43, 107-134.
Jay Scherer & David Whitson, (2009), Public Broadcasting, Sport, and Cultural Citizenship: The Future of Sport on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation?, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 44, pp. 213-229.
Nancy Theberge, (1995), “Playing with the Boys: Manon Rhéaume, Women’s Hockey, and the Struggle for Legitimacy,” Canadian Women’s Studies, 15(4), 37-41.
Megan Williams, (1995), “Women’s Hockey: Heating up the Equity Debate,” Canadian Women’s Studies, 15(4), 78-81.
Ellen Etchingham, (2012, January 12), “A Women’s Place is in the Corners,” A Theory of Ice.
Mark Norman, (2011, November 9), “Bursting the Dam? The Slow Erosion of Hockey Homophobia,” Hockey in Society.
Jim Parcels, (1999), “Straight Facts About Making it in Pro Hockey,” CBC.
Kevin Plummer, (2012, January 14), “Historicist: The Cree Ojibway Hockey Tour,” Torontoist.
Laura Robinson, “Gods and Monsters – More Disturbing Stories about Hockey Violence against Women,” Play the Game.
Matt Ventresca and Marty Clark, (2012, March 11), “Understanding Goon: Nice Guys Finish First,” Hockey in Society.