Writing and Rhetoric: Writing about Sports

Lord Woodstock has knocked his nemesis out cold in the first round as the crowd of gentlemen cheers.

Theatrical poster produced by the Strobridge Lithographing Company for Sporting Life, a melodrama written by Cecil Raleigh and Seymour Hicks. (Public domain via the Library of Congress.)


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Fall 2013



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Course Description

"Sports, not religion, is the opiate of the people." So says David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker and a former sportswriter. Many of our heroes are sports heroes, and for many of us, sports were an important part of our childhood years. Sports are big business, even on college campuses, and they are the subject of many classic movies. In this introductory writing class we consider the role of sports in our own lives and explore the cultural meanings of sports in America. Sports have produced a large body of excellent descriptive and analytic writing; we'll read writers as diverse as Hank Aaron, John Updike, David Foster Wallace, and Malcolm Gladwell on the joys and conundrums of baseball, boxing, football, tennis, and running.

The primary work of the class is improving students' communication skills. We'll write and revise 3 essays, including an investigative essay, and we'll also give one short oral report. Revision is an important part of the class; all essays will be revised at least once.

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Karen Boiko. 21W.015 Writing and Rhetoric: Writing about Sports. Fall 2013. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, https://ocw.mit.edu. License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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