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Title Beyond the Playing Field: The Rise of College Football and the Educated Elite in the Progressive Era United States.
Publication Date
Date Accessioned
Degree PhD
Discipline/Department American Culture
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher University of Michigan
Abstract This dissertation investigates Progressive Era college football in order to examine how members of the educated elite—a class with greatest access to or affiliation with higher education—used college football as a platform from which to instantiate certain ideologies, political strategies, and social stratifications. As such, this study highlights the role of sport in shaping class, race, gender, and culture in the United States from 1870 to 1930. This study emphasizes how members of this elite class identified and constructed the sport as a vehicle that marked class boundaries and produced and promoted American white masculinity that was vigorous but appropriately restrained. College football, as both a cultural site and a cultural practice, forced those most enthusiastic about the game—student athletes, coaches, managers, college presidents and administrators, alumni, and fans—to constantly wrestle with the sport’s complex contradictions: the game was modern, but primitive; genteel but violent; a competition of amateurs, but a profit-making enterprise. To maintain authority of college football, I show how the sport’s power brokers marshaled evidence from eugenics and scientific racism; relied on discourses that prized able-bodiedness; linked physical training with moral and mental development; used game programs, fundraising memos, and press items to invoke an imagined “family;” privatized stadiums; established preferential ticket policies; and, supported the outright exclusion of the working poor and racial Others. In total, this dissertation demonstrates how male members of the educated elite evaluated themselves, surveilled the valued traits of men of other classes, marshaled the resources available, exercised their cultural capital, and capitalized on their ability to establish a new athletic phenomenon within an ostensibly academic setting.
Subjects/Keywords College Football; Progressive Era United States; Race, Class, Masculinity; American and Canadian Studies; Humanities
Contributors Deloria, Philip J. (committee member); Kelley, Mary C. (committee member); Diaz, Vicente M. (committee member); Countryman, Matthew J. (committee member); Hass, Kristin A. (committee member)
Language en
Rights Unrestricted
Country of Publication us
Record ID handle:2027.42/108796
Repository umich
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2018-01-03
Grantor University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies
Issued Date 2014-01-01 00:00:00
Note [thesisdegreename] PHD; [thesisdegreediscipline] American Culture; [thesisdegreegrantor] University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies; [bitstreamurl] http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/108796/1/mnsltwed_1.pdf;

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