Sports Stories & American Culture

full name / name of organization: 
Cara Erdheim & Rick Magee, Sacred Heart University
contact email: 

"Sports Stories & American Culture": We solicit papers from a wide range of disciplines that look to American literature as a way to understand sports--and vice versa. We are interested in the distinction between stories focused on sports as spectatorship (which characterize much of U.S. culture) and narratives written by or about athletes who have performed in specific events. For example, Marianne Moore's poems about baseball, often written from the fans' perspective, read differently than Jackie Joyner-Kersee's Kind of Grace: The Autobiography of the World's Greatest Female Athlete. We look for papers that consider some of the following questions: to what extent has America's athletic and exercise culture been governed by a masculine ethos? Why do so few narratives about female athletes (along with sports stories written by women) exist? How have issues of race and ethnicity informed and been informed by the history of baseball, boxing, and football? Why have certain sports such as golf been designated upper class, and to what extent do canonical authors like John Updike reflect this reality? How can you relate America's exercise culture to discourses about disability, the body, and illness? We have not yet decided on a publisher for this collection of essays, but we're in the process of negotiating and selecting one.