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Sport History and Culture: Overview

A guide to selected resources on the history of sport, with special attention to social and cultural issues.

Socio-Cultural Aspects of Sport

This broad topic deals with sport as a social phenomenon. Sport is shaped by such societal factors as religion, social class, ethnicity, race, and gender. Sport is often referred to as a reflection of the values and behavioral expectations of society. Some believe that sport is a tool for making society more accepting and cohesive.

Some Commentary on Sport History

Exactly what is sport history? Is is an objective account of events or lives? Is it a critical analysis of the effect of events, lives, policies? Is it a personal interpretation of events, lives, policies, acknowledging unavoidable bias? Or is it all that and more?

For some commentary from respected sports historians, sample some of the following publications:

Booth, Douglas. The Field: Truth and Fiction in Sport History. GV571 B66 2005. Read a very insightful review of this book by Allen Guttmann in Journal of Sport History, 32(Fall 2005):395-400. A paper copy of JSH is shelved on the lower level of Belk Library.

Munslow, Alun. Deconstructing History. 2d ed. D16 M963 2006

Fischer, David Hackett. Historians' Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought. D16 F53 1970

Pringle, Richard, and Murray Phillips, eds. Examining Sport HIstories: Power, Paradigms, and Reflexivity. GV571 C75 2013. Critical examination of the state of sports research in the field of history.

Sport History

This is a guide to selected key resources on the history of sport, with a special focus on socio-cultural and economic aspects. Emphasis is on, but not restricted to, the United States. Preference is given to more recent publications, although some older titles of continuing importance are included. All the items are available through the Appalachian State University Library.

Select the tabs above to find materials that best fit your area of interest.

Find additional resources by searching APPsearch, which retrieves books, movies, and more from the Library catalog as well as articles from a small group of pre-selected databases. More articles can be found in specialized databases such as Sociological Abstracts, SPORTDiscus, and America: History and Life, through the Journal Articles tab at the top.


Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, and Overviews

Berkshire Encyclopedia of World Sport. 3 vols. Reference GV567 B48 2005

Encyclopedia of Sports in America: A History from Foot Races to Extreme Sports. 2 vols. GV583 2009

Light, Jonathan Fraser. The Cultural Encyclopedia of Baseball. 2d ed. Reference GV862.3 L54 2005

Maguire, Joseph, ed. Social Sciences in Sport: An Interdisciplinary Approach Covering Identity, Community, Capital, Governance. GV706.5 S642 2014. Chapters cover these aspects of sport: history, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, sociology geography,media studies, economics, political science, international relations, law,social policy, management studies, and education.

Pope, S. W., and John Nauright, eds. Routledge Companion to Sports History. GV571 R68 2010.

Sports in America from Colonial Times to the Twenty-First Century: An Encyclopedia. 3 vols. Reference GV583 S68588 2011

Credo Reference. This database searches the full text of a number of encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other electronic reference sources and delivers the text on the screen.


Scholarly Sports Web Sites

H-Net Archive Project. A guide to archival collections of interest to sports scholars.

LA84 Foundation Digital Library Collections. Digital versions of sports reports, magazines and journals, oral histories, and more.

App State Online

Distance education students have access to a wide array of Library services and resources. See the App State Online library guide for details.


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Suzanne Wise
Belk Library and Information Commons
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608-2026
tel: 828-262-2798

Curator of the Stock Car Racing Collection