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Sports & Society in Barcelona

Photo submitted by Rasha Abduljaber.
  • City: Barcelona
  • Term: Spring
  • Instruction in: English
  • Students interested in: Political Science, Sociology

During this 3-week, 3-credit Maize Away, students will examine various aspects of the relationship between sport and society in Spain, with an emphasis on traditions in Catalonia, and perform comparative analyses of the European and American sports scenes. Explore the impact of sports on Spanish society and the influence of society on practices of sport. The course begins with a consideration of general theoretical questions in the study of sport before moving to the origins and evolution of sports in the West. It also examines special topics like sports in the media, violence and sports; gender, race, and national identity in sports; and specific sports in context.

Attention will be paid to the ubiquitous soccer (fútbol), including the history and impact of FC Barcelona—one of the most important European clubs—how its history reflects Catalonia’s, and the political meanings of its ongoing rivalry with Real Madrid. Students will also explore other sports of great importance in Spain—basketball, tennis, track and field, and cycling. Examine the controversial practice of bullfighting, and uniquely local sports of Basque Ball and Castells (human towers), a traditional practice in Catalonia. Visit the Olympic Museum in Barcelona to learn about the city’s fight to host the Games, and its preparations for them.