Women, Sport, and Film Course

Cosponsored by Athletics and Physical Education at Bryn Mawr College and the Exercise and Sports Studies Department at Smith College, with support from the Center for Science in Society at Bryn Mawr College and the Serendip website

A four part series that will explore the role of women and sport as seen through documentaries and popular film. Students will view films and discuss women in sports in relation to four topics:

These topics have dramatically shaped the opportunities for women in sport as well as the societal view of women engaged in sport.

This interdisciplinary and interinstitutional course will be taught at Bryn Mawr by Anne Dalke, English and Gender Studies, David Karen, Sociology, and athletic department members Nicole Smith and Amy Campbell. At Smith, the course will be taught by Chris Shelton, Chair of the Exercise and Sports Studies Department. Students at Bryn Mawr and Smith will view the same films and have the same initial discussion sections each week. To promote a richer and broader discussion, students will participate in on-line discussion groups involving students and faculty from both institutions. Organization of the on-line forums and of web materials is the responsibility of Paul Grobstein, director of the Center for Science in Society at Bryn Mawr College and co-founder of the Serendip website. In addition to their weekly forum writing, students will prepare a three page final paper related to the material of the course which will be be posted together with other course materials as a contribution to continuing discussion of issues related to women and sport.

Bryn Mawr and Smith have a long and storied history of supporting sport and physical education. Constance Applebee, Bryn Mawr's first director of physical education was responsible for bringing field hockey to the United States and oversaw its rise in the early 1900's as a rigorous outdoor team sport for women. At Smith, Senda Berenson was responsible in 1892 for integrating the sport of basketball into the general physical education curriculum. It was the first school in the country to offer basketball as a sport for women. Both schools have a strong commitment to physical activity as mandated by Smith College's charter and Bryn Mawr's physical education requirement. The joint effort to discuss the issues that affect women's sport, more than a century after Constance Applebee and Senda Berenson first developed the physical education and sport programs, reflects an understanding that sport and the culture of sport are pervasive features of contemporary society. They mirror and refract, in ways both positive and not, society's image of women. Understanding the culture of sport and how women are portrayed through film and documentaries is important to the broader understanding of the role women play in today's society.

At Bryn Mawr, the course will meet on successive Wednesdays in February from 7:30 to 10 pm in Thomas Room 110.
ScheduleFacultyWeb LinksBibliographyForumWeb Papers