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Duke University

Sports and Society

Duke University via Coursera


Sports play a giant role in contemporary society worldwide. But few of us pause to think about the larger questions of money, politics, race, sex, culture, and commercialization that surround sports everywhere. This course draws on the tools of anthropology, sociology, history, and other disciplines to give you new perspectives on the games we watch and play. It's the new and improved version of Professor Orin Starn's original "Sports and Society" for Coursera, which drew more than 40,000 students. We will focus on both popular sports like soccer (or “football,” as anyone outside America calls it), basketball, and baseball, and also lesser-known ones like mountain-climbing and fishing. You will never watch or think about sports in the same way again.


  • Getting Started! Games, Play, and Sports
  • Globalization, Nationalism, and the Politics of Sports
  • Race, Cultural Identity, and the Sports World
  • Gender, Sexuality, and the Rise of Women's Sports
  • Why Do We Care So Much about Sports?
  • The Megabusiness of Sports
  • Outdoor Sports, Extreme Sports, and the Search for Adventure

Taught by

Orin Starn



4.6 rating, based on 8 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at Coursera based on 1091 ratings

Start your review of Sports and Society

  • this course give more knowledge of sports in relation to the society not just only 1 sport code but many sport codes. it also teaches how people behave during sports events in a good manner.
  • Rishad Habib

    Rishad Habib completed this course.

    Brilliant course, Professor Starn explains everything in a fun and interesting way, gives relevant readings if you want to learn more and makes you think of sports in a new and influential manner. It was great going through historic moments such as the world war and black rights movement through the eyes of sports. There's also a shirt of the week, a new sport introduced & prizes every week and hangouts with famous guests. Highly recommended if you're interested.
  • Rafael Sanchez

    Rafael Sanchez completed this course.

    Fantastic course with lots of information. the lectures are very easy on the eyes and ears. Not long and filled with video clips. Thank you
  • Anonymous
    I love this course I really like sports history and sports players or just sports. I know this is from Duke and I coming to play basketball.
  • Profile image for Dawn Gibson
    Dawn Gibson

    Dawn Gibson completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    Well formatted and good content. Wish there were similarly structured anthropology classes offered. Offers a good look into the fan base.
  • Laurie

    Laurie completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

  • Profile image for Ais Sparkle Ling
    Ais Sparkle Ling

    Ais Sparkle Ling completed this course.

  • Maria Gramma

    Maria Gramma is taking this course right now.

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