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Course Description

This course surveys the development of recreational and organized sports in the United States from the colonial period to the recent past. Students examine the emergence of amateur and professional sports in the context of industrialization, urbanization, and immigration. They analyze the relationship of sports to American politics, the Civil Rights movement, labor history, and modern consumer culture, and study early and more recent struggles for racial justice and gender equity.

At the completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the connections between sports and American politics.
  • Discuss major figures and developments in women’s sports before and after Title IX.
  • Describe how sports have served as arena in which ideas about race and gender have been expressed, reinforced, and challenged.
  • Apply modernization theory (its emphasis on rationalization, specialization, quantification, codification of rules, etc.) when discussing or writing about the history of sports in the United States.

The instructor, Dr. Mark Herlihy, is a 1988 graduate of Tufts. He earned a Ph.D. in American Studies from Brown University, and is currently serving as Associate Dean, Arts & Sciences, at Endicott College. He has been teaching summer session courses at Tufts for the past 15 years. For more info about the course, email

This is an online/virtual synchronous course that follows the published schedule of course meetings and requires attendance at all sessions. Tufts virtual courses are designed to provide high-quality, flexible, and interactive courses to Tufts and visiting students. For more information about virtual course policies and expectations, please visit

This section is open to high school students who are rising 11th or 12th grade students. High School students will be prompted to submit an additional application after enrollment including: a high school transcript, letter of recommendation, parental permission, and other required consent forms.

Basic Enrollment Requirements: None.

Refund Policy: The refund policy for Courses at Tufts offerings is dependent on the offering type: whether the offering is a course, workshop or short course, or in-demand offering. Please refer to the section details to confirm the type of offering as well as any exceptions to the standard refund policy. The refund policies for each offering type are viewable here:

Remission Eligible: Yes; first day of term; all university policies apply.

Affiliated With:

School of Arts & Sciences