Undergraduate Course Synopses

940:250 Sports in Latin America and the Caribbean (cross-listed with 01:590:250 & 01:595:250)

No prerequisites. Special notation: Credit given for only one of the three course numbers.



Catalog description: Sports and games in Latin American and Caribbean cultures. Analysis of contexts and evolution. Topics may include Maya ballgame, capoeira, soccer fever, baseball, recreation and education, women in sports, sports management, and resources.


Overview: This course studies topics that expect analysis and discussion at fundamental and critical-thinking levels. The themes include the Maya ballgame in Mesoamerica; soccer in Brazil; baseball in Mexico, Venezuela, and the Caribbean Basin; capoeira and Afro-syncretic sports; the World Cup then and now, with both the political and social repercussions; physical education and recreation; politics in sports; gender and race in sports; and resources for sports in the various Western-hemisphere countries.

Learning goals: 

Students who major in Spanish and are enrolled in this course will enhance their training in the following areas: communicative competence, general cultural knowledge, research ability and research methodologies, and critical analysis and production of ideas, as outlined in our Departmental learning goals:


In addition, all students will be expected to learn about Latin American and Caribbean geography, history, and cultures through games and sports and come to appreciate the place of sport (through games and entertainment) as a cultural marker, often an icon, in many if not most countries in the Americas. They will view sports as more than just games by learning how to analyze the context in which they have evolved and gain insight into sports as a vehicle for cultural expression while acquiring the ability to understand the role of sports as a mechanism for social change in Latin America and the Caribbean.


Thus, students may be graded in the following areas, which may vary by professor or semester:

  • Attendance and class participation

  • Online discussions

  • In-class and online quizzes

  • Homework assignments

  • Final project


Required texts, which may vary by professor or semester:

  • Arbena, Joseph L., & David G. Lafrance, eds. 2002. Sport in Latin America and the Caribbean. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources.

  • Online readings and videos

  • Documentaries and movies on Sakai and the Internet