Sport and Society: Spring 2015
Frank Deford Lecture on Sports Journalism: Taylor Branch
Historian and author Taylor Branch will deliver the 2015 Deford Lecture on Tuesday, April 21 at 3:30 pm in BMC 2.106. The lecture is presented by the The McGarr Symposium on Sports and Society.
Branch is an American author and public speaker best known for his landmark narrative history of the civil rights era, America in the King Years. The trilogy’s first book, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, won the Pulitzer Prize and numerous other awards in 1989. Two successive volumes also gained critical and popular success: Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65, and At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968. Some reviewers have compared the King-era trilogy, which required more than twenty-four years of intensive research, with epic histories such as Shelby Foote’s The Civil War and Robert Caro’s multi-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson.
In the October 2011 issue of The Atlantic, Branch published an influential cover story entitled “The Shame of College Sports,” which author and NPR commentator Frank Deford said “may well be the most important article ever written about college sports.” The article touched off continuing national debate. Byliner.com, a pioneer e-book publisher, issued an expanded version of the article as a digital book and on-demand paperback, The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA.
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TPSM is developing a local community of faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students with an interest in sports, media and society. The emerging field is broad and deep, replete with questions and issues that require a diverse and interdisciplinary community of scholars to address in a meaningful manner.
TPSM posits that:
- Sport precipitates beneficial social change and economic development.
- Media stimulate human engagement and inter-connection.
Sports and media are two sides of a common coin, revealing (for better or worse) human nature, culture and community in a manner that no other aspect of society can touch. TPSM engages these issues at UT-Austin by supporting curriculum, research and programming within the related disciplines of the College of Communication: Advertising/Public Relations, Journalism, Radio-Television-Film and Communication Studies. TPSM also supports an interdisciplinary discourse across campus with departments and faculty that share an appreciation of stories from sports.
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