HUMN 2075 Sports History in Global Perspective

Credit Points 10

Coordinator Brett Bennett Opens in new window

Description The subject explores the history of popular sports, including cricket, rugby, soccer, golf, baseball, tennis, the Olympic Games, and table tennis. It uses case studies from different countries and time periods to highlight how sports shaped, and were shaped by national identity, politics, diplomacy as well as class, race and gender. Drawing on examples from Australia and the world, students learn about how the professionalisation of sports in the early 1900s created immense controversy over the participation of working class athletes. It also explores how sports became parts of national identity, such as cricket and rugby in Australia, sumo wrestling in Japan, and baseball in the United States of America. Students taking the subject will learn how popular attitudes towards men’s and women’s sports changed across the twentieth century as a result of large-scale social, political and cultural movements.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline History

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 2 subject


Successful completion of 40 credit points in currently enrolled program.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this subject, students will be able to: 
  1. Discuss key historical periods in the development of professional and amateur sports from the 1800s to the present;
  2. Explain how and when sports facilitated national debates about class, race and gender;
  3. Analyse major theoretical interpretations of the globalisation of sports;
  4. Examine the way sports facilitated international diplomacy and sanctions regimes during and after the Cold War.

Subject Content

  1. Sports: Just a Game? 
  2. Games We Play
  3. Rules of the Game
  4. The Rise of Professional Sports
  5. Globalisation of Sports During the Age of Empire
  6. Class and the Making of Rugby 
  7. Cricket: From ‘Gentleman’s Game’ to International Pariah  
  8. Soccer: The Game that Captured the World
  9. Tennis
  10. Golf: Diplomacy and Power
  11. Olympic Games and Diplomacy
  12. Cold War sports diplomacy 
  13. Sports as Social Movements


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Quiz 3 quizzes each with 10 questions based on readings 25 N Individual
Reflection 1,000 words 25 N Individual
Essay 2,000 words 50 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Wray Vamplew, Games People Played: A Global History of Sport (London: Reaktion Press, 2021)

Teaching Periods

Spring (2023)



Subject Contact Brett Bennett Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window

Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Brett Bennett Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window