As I get ready for the upcoming semester, lesson planning and what not, I have a big stack of books, journals and magazine articles I am trying to work through. I thought I would share with a brief review of each of the books.
In prep for Western Civilization I
In prep for my Egyptians/Hittites I am reading How to read: The Egyptian Book of the Dead, by Barry Kemp.
I am looking at the historiography of Alexander for my Greek unit and skimming J. B. Bury’s lectures on The Ancient Greek Historians–he was brilliant, but is no longer cutting edge! He is a classic among classicists and a good read, plus the work is brief, but a LOT of scholarship has been written since then (1909!!!). He is a nice starting point and I am reading him to clarify some things, but the Alexander stuff is much more recent.
In prep for my sports history class
While I would have preferred to call this class Sports and Society, it has actually been titled Sports in America–I can still work with that!
I am starting with the gladiators, ancient Olympics and Mayan ball games so I can introduce historical method (especially since most of the books written about sports history are written by journalists). So far, to this end, I am working on a scholarly collection, The Mesoamerican Ballgame, edited by Vernon L. Scarborough and David R. Wilcox and Popul Vuh, The Definitive Edition of the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life and the Glories of Gods and Kings.
I have a unit on soccer in this class that is intended to introduce many of the issues we will cover in a case study sort of style. This has the advantage of introducing areas of interest, but also of critiquing the methods by which these books are written–again, there are no historians among the authors. I have already knocked some of these off my list, but am currently reading The Boys from Little Mexico, by Steve Wilson. It describes the challenges for immigrants in this country and the notion that sport is a way out and up–except, perhaps, in the case of soccer.
I am also devoting a class to the media and have been reading up on ESPN. I am currently reading ESPN, The Uncensored History, by Michael Freeman. Much of this touches on gender and sports–in this case from the media standpoint and sexual harassment. But, the idea is bigger and I also want to talk about sports media and the creation or deconstruction of celebrity.
I am also preparing for my DVDs that I will include. My favorite one to this point, despite my ignorance of baseball, is The Tenth Inning by Ken Burns. I would really like to watch his whole series on baseball, but it isn’t in the cards right now.
If you have any suggestions, PLEASE share!!