Call for Chapters: American History Through American Sports

full name / name of organization: 
Bob Batchelor
contact email: 

Danielle Coombs and I are currently soliciting brief proposals for essays to be included in an upcoming three-volume collection of essays (under contract to Praeger). The essays will focus on sports, history, and popular culture. Essays should be about 4,000- to 5,000-words in length and will be due in May 23, 2011. The three volumes will be arranged chronologically, so the essays should primarily focus on the topic within that era.

We would like to find writers to take on the unassigned chapters below, allowing for changes to title and focus as necessary. We can consider new chapters, but our primary focus is on the topics below.

The collection examines the development of popular sports and sports figures in America, from its earliest origins to the digital age. The essays investigate the development of sports over time, focusing on the core issues in the evolution of sports, as well as the way culture and sports have come together to change public tastes. The set will be broken down into three volumes, organized chronologically – Volume One focuses on the early development of sports culture in the United States, Volume Two surveys sports as, through television, they become a part of mainstream culture, and Volume Three examines sports in the digital age. The individual volumes begin with general discussions of the role of sports in American culture. These "big picture" essays address the foundational questions related to the history of sports. Next, the volumes look at the "big four" sports – football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. Then, each volume concludes with a look at sports outside these mainstays, from golf and boxing to NASCAR and extreme sports.

Please send a brief synopsis/abstract and short bio or CV to Bob Batchelor, by February 18, 2011.

Bob Batchelor, Ph.D.
School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Kent State University
301D Franklin Hall
Kent, OH 44242

Master's Degree Concentrated in Public Relations
Your next degree is online |


American History through American Sports — Praeger

Table of Contents:

Volume One
Creating Sports Culture: Beginnings to the 1930s
Section One – Critical Issues
1. America Plays: Sports in Colonial Times
2. Mass Communication: Radio and the Creation of Sports
3. Sports as Spectacle: Early Athletes as Popular Culture Icons
4. Professional Sports: Big Money and Sports as an Industry

Section Two – The Big Four
5. Baseball: The First National Pastime
6. Bronx Bombers: The Creation of the Yankees as Myth and Dynasty – ASSIGNED
7. The Babe: Reconsidering America's First Sports Legend
8. A Concise History of Early Baseball
9. Cobb's Ghost: An Argument for Baseball's Greatest Hitter
10. In the Cage: Basketball's Professional Origins – ASSIGNED
11. The Flying Wedge: Football Violence in Industrial America – ASSIGNED
12. Soccer on the Pond: Hockey's Role in Young America – ASSIGNED

Section Three – Outside the Lines
13. Soccer Means Football Here: Why the World's Game Never Made it to the US
14. Golf: National Championships and the Race to Build a Global Game
15. The Tobacco Spittin', Moonshine Runnin' History of Early Nascar
16. The Intimidator and Junior: The Legacy of the Earnhardts
17. Fight Night: Boxing's Popularity in the Early Twentieth Century
18. Reintroducing the Olympics: Making Track and Field Relevant

Volume Two
Sports at the Center of Popular Culture: The Television Age
Section One – Critical Issues
1. What's Race Got to Do with It: Athletes, Race, and Sports History
2. Collisions: Violence and America's Sports Culture
3. ESPN: Television Transforms Sports Culture
4. Spectacle: Creating Sports Icons in a Media-Saturated World – ASSIGNED
5. Marvel, Sports, and Comics: The 1990s – ASSIGNED

Section Two – The Big Four
6. The Super Bowl: The Spectacle of an Unofficial National Holiday
7. Bowled Over: The BCS and the Ongoing National Champion Controversy
8. Four Yards and a Cloud of Dust: The Greatest Running Back in Football History – ASSIGNED
9. Jackie Robinson: The Patron Saint of American Sports
10. Defense Wins Championships: Sports Philosophies and Folk Wisdom
11. Sports, Congress, and the Legislation of the Record Books
12. Greg Maddux: The Greatest Pitcher of the Modern Age – ASSIGNED
13. Saving the NBA: Bird, Magic, and Jordan Rescue Professional Basketball
14. Michael Jordan: Icon
15. March Madness: How Betting Pools Capture the Nation's Attention
16. It's About the Shoe: Nike and the Endless Sneaker Wars
17. The Great One: Wayne Gretzky's Enduring Legacy
18. Monday Night Violence: Professional Football and Domestic Abuse

Section Three – Outside the Lines
19. Professional Wrestling: Creating America's Fight Culture
20. Rubbing is Racing: The New Nascar
21. Go for the Green: Money and the Meaning of Professional Golf
22. The Gold: The Olympics in the Modern Age – ASSIGNED
23. Tiny Dancers: Olympic Gymnastics Captivates the World – ASSIGNED
24. Now Serving: A Tennis History
25. Soccer Moms and Football Dads: Sports and the Daily Life of America's Youth

Volume Three
Sports in the Digital Age
Section One – Critical Issues
1. Wired: Sports and the Digital Age
2. Doping: The Consequences of Drugs in Sports – ASSIGNED
3. The Demise of Amateur Sports: College Athletes in the Modern Age
4. Kids and Sports: Athletes or Couch Potatoes
5. It's in the Game: The History of Sports Video Games
6. Social Media: Athletes, Teams, and Fans Collide Online
7. How Exclusive Sports Networks Redefine Your Local Team

Section Two – The Big Four
8. All Football, All the Time: Media Influence in the Rise of Football Fanaticism
9. My NFL: The Fantasy Football Craze
10. The World's Game: Baseball and Globalization
11. The World Catches Up: Basketball as a Global Game
12. LeBron James and the New NBA
13. The NHL's Youth Movement: Crosby, Malkin, and Ovechkin
14. Do We Still Play on Ice: The NHL's Warm Weather Movement – ASSIGNED
15. The Great Outdoor Game: NHL Finally Gets Marketing Right – ASSIGNED
16. Rock n RBIs: Popular Music and Baseball – ASSIGNED

Section Three – Outside the Lines
17. Tony Hawk and Marketing Extreme Sports
18. Back Flips on Motorcycles: How Extreme Can Extreme Be?
19. Follow the Money: Mainstreaming Extreme Sports
20. Pushing the Limits: Ultra-marathons, Ironman, and the Modern Athlete
21. Hacker's Delight: Watching Golf in the Digital Age
22. Tiger or the Golden Bear: Who is Golf's Greatest Player?
23. In the Octagon: Mixed Martial Arts Comes to Life
24. Why Isn't Soccer America's Game? – ASSIGNED
25. Beckham: Soccer Star or Celebrity – ASSIGNED