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Sports Studies Symposium explores the relationship between fans and sport

Wednesday, April 10, 2013  
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For immediate release – 4/9/12
Director of Communications Rita Elliott, 815-226-3374

Rockford, Ill., – Hosted by two Rockford College professors and featuring guest speakers from six universities, the Sports Studies Symposium brings together a panel of scholars to discuss philosophical themes or issues arising in the study of sport and to discuss themes or issues arising in the study of the rhetoric of sport. The symposium is free and open to the public and takes place on Friday, April 19 in Grace Roper Lounge, located on the first floor of the Blanch Walker Burpee Center, Rockford College, 5050 East State Street, Rockford. This is the second sports symposium organized by Assistant Professor of Philosophy Shawn E. Klein, Ph.D., and Assistant Professor of English Michael Perry, Ph.D., and hosted at Rockford College.

The first panel, held from 1 to 2:45pm focuses on Fandom. Panelists include Chad Carlson, Ph.D., (Eastern Illinois University) What is fan-based sport about anyway?; John Harney, Ph.D., (DePaul University) Japanese Baseball Culture at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century: Imperial Game or Adopted Pastime; and Trish Phillips, Ph.D., (Mississippi State University) Fandom and Sport: Encouraging Hate.

The second panel, held from 3 to 4:45 will focus on fantasy and play. Panelists include Aaron Harper, Ph.D. (West Liberty University): Playing with Nietzsche: Play, Nihilism, and Value Creation; Andrew Koehl, Ph.D. (Roberts Wesleyan College) Fantasy Sport and Aristotelian Flourishing; and Carl Robinson, Ph.D. (Ashford University) Chasing The American Dream: A Chubby Fan(atic) Recalls His Favorite Professional Wrestlers.

Fans play a central role at all levels and within various aspects of sport, so any study of sport would do well to consider their influences in connection to fandom, fantasy, and play. A specific and growing area of fandom, fantasy sports, illustrates a concrete and complex way fans relate to and even affect sport. This year’s symposium seeks to explore and examine these aspects of the relationship between fan and sport.

Dr. Klein notes, "Offering this kind of conference helps increase interest and awareness about philosophy and ethics that are an important part of sports studies. Not only are these fun and interesting classes to teach, it gives our student-athletes a unique perspective on sport and allows us to delve into the increasing ethical issues arising within sport.”

Questions about the Sports Studies Symposium may be directed to Dr. Shawn Klein, or Dr. Michael Perry, information can also be found on


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