History 101.015

Spring 2006
Instructor (text): 
80 Barrows
Day & Time: 
MW 4-5:30

This thesis research seminar will examine the history of sports, leisure, and popular entertainment in Europe from the middle of the nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century. Readings assigned during the first weeks of the semester will introduce students to a range of questions that have stimulated research in the field. How did industrialization change patterns of work and leisure in Europe? How have class differences influenced Europeans? use of free time? What were the consequences of the emergence of a leisure industry at the turn of the twentieth century? What role did popular pastimes play in the projects of colonization and decolonization? Why, and in what ways, did the socialist, fascist, and liberal democratic governments of Europe intervene in their citizens? pursuit of leisure activities? How was mass leisure effected by the globalization of European popular culture after World War II? Some readings engage these questions generally, while others examine particular leisure activities, such as cycling, bullfighting, cigarette smoking, and cricket playing, attendance at museums, music-halls, the circus, and cinema, and participation in gymnastics clubs, ladies? football leagues, and workers? clubs. These studies are intended to provide students with models for their own research into the history of European leisure, which will occupy the remainder of the semester. Students will work together to formulate topics, identify primary and secondary source materials, develop arguments, and organize and write their individual theses. Students are encouraged to consider potential research topics before the course begins. Possible sources bases to consider include newspapers and periodicals, especially printed reviews and advertisement for popular entertainments, U.S. documents related to international sports, particularly the Olympics, published plays and librettos, and films representing Europeans at leisure. Special collections at the Bancroft Library, such the Bransten Coffee and Tea Collection (which also includes manuscripts on chocolate) and the Theater and Tobacco collections, might also provide relevant primary sources. Students researching the history of a non-Anglophone country must be able to read materials in that country?s language. Students are welcome to contact the instructor to discuss prospective topics and potential sources.