Syllabus

There’s a natural creative affinity that exists between writing and fighting because they’re both alchemical arts— the greatest writers take unmanageable life and press it into something meaningful, and the best fighters convert their basest and most violent instincts into something beautiful.

  Josh Rosenblatt, Why We Fight

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 WEEK 1: Introduction to Prizefighting

·      Attendance/Ice Breaker

·      Course Overview

·      In-Class Free Writing

Readings/Multimedia for August 30th 

·      Introduction (pp 8-12) to Jeremy Schaap, Cinderella Man (also on BB)

·      MMA in the Middle Kingdom: Zhang Weili and the UFC’s great Chinese hope, Daniel Shaprio, The Athletic (BB)

·      30 for 30 Podcast. No Rules: The Birth of UFC (season 2) https://30for30podcasts.com

 

WEEK 2: The History of Human Combat

Photograph shows a marble sculpture of ancient Greek wrestlers from 510 B.C. is part of an exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens (credit NBC news)

Photograph shows a marble sculpture of ancient Greek wrestlers from 510 B.C. is part of an exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens (credit NBC news)

Photos: Wikimedia

Photos: Wikimedia

Readings for September 3rd

·      Homer, Iliad, Book 23, line 664

·      Gottschall, Jonathan. “The Riddle of the Duel.” The Professor in the Cage. Why Men Fight and Why We Like to Watch. Penguin, 2015. Print. (BB)

·      Josh Rosenblatt, Why We FightOne Man’s Search for Meaning Inside the Ring.Harper Collins, New York, 2019. Link to Amazon.com (Introduction, Chapter 1)

 

Readings for September 6

·      Talese, Gay. “The Loser,” Esquire. March 1964. Print. Found online at The Stacks on DeadSpin.com (link has YouTube videos of Patterson vs. Liston II)

·      Liebling, A.J. “Ahab and Nemesis,” The New Yorker. 8 October, 1955, Print. (BB)

·      Josh Rosenblatt, Why We FightOne Man’s Search for Meaning Inside the Ring.Harper Collins, New York, 2019. Link to Amazon.com (Introduction, Chapter 1)

WEEK 3:

The Storyline (Heroes, Villains, and Rivalries) and Forwarding and Countering (aka the Punch and Counter-Punch of Argumentative Writing)

. (credit:  Amazon.com )

. (credit: Amazon.com)

 

Multimedia by September 10th. 

We may refer to these movies on during these next couple of weeks but you do not need to have them watched until Tuesday, September 10th.

 

·     Rocky

Directed by John G. Avildsen https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075148/

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa and Talia Shire as Adrian in Rocky. (Photo by John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa and Talia Shire as Adrian in Rocky. (Photo by John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

 

·      The Fighter.

Directed by David O. Russel http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0964517/

 

Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, and Mark Wahlberg (Source: TVTropes.com)

Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, and Mark Wahlberg (Source: TVTropes.com)


Assignment: Response Essay # 1

As a sports reporter, write about a fictional fight in either boxing or MMA. Your fighters may be from any background, and the fight can take place in the past, present or even future. The essay should be between 4-5 pages and is worth up to

Learn more at under Assignments.

25 points.

 

Readings and Exercise for September 10th

·      Pre-writing (Some ideas to get you started)

Start brainstorming your paper. You can answer the questions in paragraphs or bullet points. I recommend at least one page of notes and please remember to bring this class. We will be doing a brief exercise.

·    Josh Rosenblatt, Why We Fight. (Chapter 3) 

 

WEEK 4: Fightwriters—

How Words Helped Build Champions.

Floyd Patterson, Sonny Liston 1963 (Source: Deadspin)

Floyd Patterson, Sonny Liston 1963 (Source: Deadspin)

 

We will use the beginning of class to share our fighters. Students will be asked to deliver an “elevator pitch” and listen to feedback from their peers.

Using the pedagogy of Joseph Harris, we will deconstruct Rosenblatt’s text to begin our discussion of Forwarding and Countering in academic discussions.

These following sports articles are written for specific audiences and comprised different styles, tones and voices. Please finish and turn in the discussion handout on Monday, February 11th

 ·    David Remnick, Kid Dynamite Blows Up. The New Yorker. (July 6, 1997)

 ·    James Baldwin, The Fight: Patterson vs. Liston. Nugget. (February 1963).

·    Le Roi Jone, "In the Ring," The Nation (June 29, 1964)

·     Murray Kempton, "The Champ and The Chump: The Meaning of Liston Clay I," The New Republic (March 7, 1964)

·   George Plimpton, "Miami Notebook: Cassius Clay and Malcolm X," Harper's (June 1964)

·    Chuck Mindenhall, Spoiler alert: The Guy Nick Newell Is Fighting Wins A Lot of Fights He Shouldn’t. The Athletic (August 24, 2019). (on Blackboard)


·    James Baldwin, The Fight: Patterson vs. Liston.” Nugget (February 1963).

WEEK 5   From Stockton to Lowell, Fighting Out of a Place.

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“From his window he looked out on the stunted skyline of Stockton— city of eighty thousand surrounded by the soughs, rivers and fertile fields of the San Joaquin River delta— a view of business buildings, church spires, chimneys, water towers, gas tanks and the low roofs of residences rising among leafless trees between absolutely flat streets. Along the sidewalk under his window, men passed between bars and liquor stores, cafes, secondhand stores and walk-up hotels. Pigeons the color of the street pecked in the gutters, flew between buildings, marched along ledges and cooed on Tully’s sill. His room was high and narrow. Smudges from oily heads darkened the wallpaper between the metal rods of his bed. His shade was tattered, his light bulb dim, and his neighbors all seemed to have lung trouble.”

Leonard Garner, Fat City,

Reading/Multimedia:

Films:

·      Rocky. (1976)

·      The Fighter. (2010)

Television:

·     Parts Unknown (Episode 1, Season 9), Anthony Bourdain, Nate Diaz, Nick Diaz, Gilbert Melendez in California.

 Reading:

·      Excerpt of Fat City, Leonard Garner.

·    Branch, John.  “U.F.C. Needs an Antihero: Nate Diaz Returns Just in Time” The New York Times. August 15, 2019.

 

 

 

Billy Collins Jr. (left); Mark Kerr (right)

Billy Collins Jr. (left); Mark Kerr (right)

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