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Title:A Department of the Modern University: Discipline, Manliness, and Football in American Intellectual Culture, 1869--1929
Author(s):Ingrassia, Brian M.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Oberdeck, Kathryn J.
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:Football, the first so-called "big-time" intercollegiate sport, illustrates the historical tensions that accompanied the growing divergence of "intellectual culture" and popular culture in modern America. This dissertation shows how professional academic psychologists and social scientists, along with coaches, muckrakers, students, and university leaders, contested the future of football and its meanings for modern "manliness" in Progressive Era debates about athletic reform. These discussions led to reforms such as the creation of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). At the same time, an increasingly fragmented intellectual culture, fostered by the growth of academic disciplines and Darwinian concepts of higher education, enabled athletics to become an autonomous department within modern American universities---a department essentially dedicated to publicity and entertainment. The practitioners of this specialty, professional coaches, stressed their supposed ability to instill discipline in players and spectators, yet simultaneously appealed to commercial popular culture in a manner uncharacteristic of other university specialists. This tension became particularly apparent and problematic by the First World War. When many university intellectuals shielded themselves from outside influence by creating safeguards like academic freedom and tenure, athletic departments built massive stadiums that served as spaces of consumer spectacle. These arenas ultimately comprised a liminal cultural space in which meaning was not subject to academic control. Stadiums were thus concrete representations of modern intellectual fragmentation in the early twentieth century, spaces where the lines between academic institutions and popular culture blurred.
Issue Date:2008
Description:384 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3337801
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2008

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