Syllabus

"I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion." Muhammad Ali

If you haven’t lost in this sport, you haven’t fought the right guys yet.”--  Two-time UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Huges

"But I liked beating people because it was the only thing I could do. And whether boxing was a sport or not, I wanted to make it a sport because it was a thing I could succeed at. And what were the requirements? Sacrifice. That's all. To anybody who comes from the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, sacrifice comes easy. And so I kept fighting, and one day I became heavyweight champion, and I got to know people like you. And you wonder how I can sacrifice, how I can deprive myself so much? You just don't realize where I've come from. You don't understand where I was when it began for me."-- Floyd Patterson quoted in The Loserby Gay Tales, March 1964, Esquire

"Who Killed Davey Moore? Why and what's the reason for?"-- Bob Dylan. Who Killed Davey Moore?, A song written in 1963 after featherweight boxer Davey Moore died from brain trauma after his loss to Sugar Ramos.

    "He looks good for a seven-figure fighter. He looks good for an eight-figure fighter. But I'm a nine-figure fighter." ---  Floyd Mayweather on Conor McGregor at Los Angeles press conference, Staples Center, July 11, 2017

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     WEEK 1: Introduction to Prizefighting

    ·      Attendance/Ice Breaker: What would be your walkout song?

    ·      Course Overview

    ·      In-Class Free Writing: What is a Fighter? 

    ·      Screening the opening scene from Requiem of a Heavyweight (1962), One of the best of boxing cinema. Demonstrates the pride &  sacrifice of the sport. Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason, Mickey Rooney, Julie Harris & Cassius Clay. Watch it here

    ** We will be starting the semester with the following 2 books. Be sure to order through AU's bookstore, Amazon or download through iTunes or Kindle. 

    ·      FX Toole, Million Dollar Baby. Link for Amazon.

    ·      Joseph Harris, Rewriting. Link for for Amazon.

    Readings for Friday, January 19th

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

    ·      FX Toole, (pp 1-12) Member of the Fancy: An Introduction. Million Dollar Baby, (book or on BB)

    ·      Please fill out Student Information Form and email to Professor Kidder by Tuesday, January 23rd.

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    **Multimedia for NEXT TWO WEEKS (Friday, January 19-Tuesday, January 30th). We may refer to these movies on during these next couple of weeks but you do not need to have them watched until Tuesday, January 30th.**

    ·      Rocky. Directed by John G. Avildsen (Chartoff-Winkler Production, United Artists).

    ·      Creed. Directed by Ryan Coogler (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, in association with Chartoff-Winkler Production)

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    WEEK 2: January 23rd and 26th: 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)

    Readings for Tuesday, January 23rd

    ·      Introduction (pp 1-12), Joseph Harris, Rewriting

    ·      Homer, Iliad, Book 23, line 664

    ·      Leger Dindon, (1-33) "Why the boxing film? The Meaningful Structure of the Boxing Film Genre" Knockout : The Boxer and Boxing in American Cinema (on BB)

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

    January 23rd Discussion

    ·      The History of Prizefighting and Why We Fight (and Like to Watch!)

    Readings for January 26th

    ·      Jeremy Collins, Shadow Boxing (on BB) Essay on Rocky.

    ·      Chapter 2. Forwarding (pp 34-53), Joseph Harris, Rewriting

    ·      FX Toole, (pp 61-101), "Million Dollar Baby," Million Dollar Baby.

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    January 26th Discussion

    ·      Discussion: The Boxing Film Genre: How combat sports uses punches and jabs to convey the human condition.

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    Readings/Multimedia for January 30th

    ·     Finish watching Rocky and Creed.

    ·      Gay Talese, "The Loser," Esquire, March 1964.

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

    ·     Chapter 3. Countering (pp 54-72), Joseph Harris, Rewriting

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    WEEK 3 January 30th and February 2nd: The Storyline (Heroes, Villains, and Rivalries) and Forwarding in Writing

    •  Rocky and Creed

    We will evaluate the films Rocky and Creed, deconstructing the structure (plotlines, montages, mise-en-scene) and possible cultural ideologies (the American Dream, meritocracy, false consciousness, gender, etc.) as well as the multiple narratives (rags-to-riches, the quest, rebirth, or overcoming the monster)

    ·   Discussion of Aristotle's 'Three-Act Structure', Christopher Booker's 'Seven Basic Plots,' Joseph Campbell's 'Hero's Journey' and Kurt Vonnegut's "Shapes of Stories."

    ·   Discussion of real-life inspiration Check Wepner, who nearly upset Muhammad Ali in 1975.

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    Readings for February 2nd

    ·      Roxana Robinson. "The Right to Write," The New York Times, June 28, 2014.

    ·      Anna Holmes. "Who Gets to Tell Other People’s Stories?" The New York Times, May 24, 2016.

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    February 2nd Discussion:

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    Special Guest Speak Charles DiGisco, MMA fighter, trainer, & commentator

    ·      A Fighting Life: from the inside the cage to behind-the-scenes to in-front of the camera

    ·      “Who is entitled to narrate/tell a story?” 

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    Assign Response Essay # 1 (due Tuesday, February 20th)

    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 25 points.

    Tuesday, January 30: Assign Paper

    Friday, February 2: Pre-writing Exercise

    Friday, February 9: Email 3-4 pages for Workshop Groups

    Tuesday, February 13: Workshop in Class; Critiques Due

    Wednesday, February 14 and Thursday, February 15: Class Canceled for Student Conferences 

    Tuesday, February 20: Final Draft Due!

               

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      WEEK 4 February 6th and 9th:  Fightwriters— How Words Helped Build Champions

      Readings for February 6th

      ·      Fight Writing: These articles were written for specific audiences and comprise different styles, tones and voices. I have divided the class into four groups on Blackboard (under Groups tab). As you read your corresponding article, please evaluate: 1) How does the author harness the storyline(s) underscoring the fighters? 2) Does the author illuminate on social, cultural, and/or emotional issues both inside and/or outside the fight?

      ·     Group 1:  James Baldwin, "The Fight: Patterson Vs. Liston (February 1963).

      ·     Group 2:  Chuck Mindenhall, "Daniel Cormier is the kind of champion that makes you read between the lines," mmafighting.com (January 22, 2008).

      ·      Group 3: David Remnick, "Kid Dynamite Blows Up." The New Yorker (July 14, 1997).

      ·      Group 4: George Plimpton, "Miami Notebook: Cassius Clay and Malcolm X," Harper's (June 1964)

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      Update for February 6, 2018

      Fight Writing:

      Great job deciphering and explaining some of the best writing of modern combat sports! We are going to delve back into the 19th and 20th centuries this Friday to understand the historical basis of fight writing. For instance, do you know why boxing is often referred to as the “sweet science?”

      For Friday, February 9th:

      1)    Write one-page of back-and-forth dialogue with the interviewer and the fighter.

      -       Although it may not eventually end up in your essay, treat this as an exercise and explore the relationship between the author and subject.

      -       Please incorporate at least one example of a METAPHOR or SIMILE or other type of figurative language. If you need a refresher on figurative language, please visit Joe Moxley’s explanations on his blog WritingCommons.org https://writingcommons.org/open-text/style/description/402-incorporating-figurative-language-into-your-paper

      2)    Read FX Toole, "Million Dollar Baby," pp 61-101, Million Dollar Baby. (Hope you all have your books by now, but a PDF of this chapter is on BB)

      3)    Rough Draft now due Saturday, February 10th at noon via Blackboard. 3-4 pages of rough draft will to be submitted to Peer Workshop group members via BB. (I have updated syllabus and google calendar).

       

       

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      *****Further Readings, Multimedia, Discussions COMING SOON!*****

      Muhammad Ali knocked out Sonny Liston in their second fight on May 1965 in Lewiston, Maine. (credit: slate.com)

      Muhammad Ali knocked out Sonny Liston in their second fight on May 1965 in Lewiston, Maine. (credit: slate.com)