Though sports are central to the lives of so many people in the U.S. and abroad, they have only recently become the subject of serious academic study. The Department of History and Art History has begun efforts to address this oversight. First, it has teamed with the School of Recreation, Health and Tourism to develop an undergraduate minor in Sport and American Culture. The program was first developed by Dr. Jenny Lansbury (a graduate of the department's own doctoral program in history), and is now directed by Dr. Ryan Swanson. Dr. Swanson has recently created three new courses for the minor: The History of Baseball, The History of College Athletics, and Race and Gender in American Sports. Dr. Swanson's own scholarship is on the subject of race and baseball during the post-Civil War era, and his forthcoming book is Jim Crow on Deck: Baseball During America's Reconstruction (University of Nebraska Press).
The department is also pleased to announce that two prominent scholars in sports history have recently affiliated with the department. Dr. David Wiggins and Dr. John Nauright are both professors in the School of Recreation, Health and Tourism here at Mason, and their affiliation with History and Art History constitutes a major addition to our faculty resources in this field. Wiggins and Nauright are also leading the effort to establish a university research center in sport and leisure history, and the department will play a key role in this initiative.
December 15, 2011