FS30260 Sports Documentaries

Academic Year 2021/2022

Using the tools of media and cultural studies, this class asks what sport documentaries do. We’ll use documentary and reality TV theory, TV industry studies, celebrity studies, feminist criticism, and critical race theory to examine both the form and cultural meaning and value of sport documentaries. This isn’t a class about sport. It’s about how sport is commemorated, how its heroes and villains are constructed and represented, and most importantly what that tells us about how contemporary popular culture values different racial, gendered, and class identities.

The final assessment for this class is a trimester-long project in which students use their own audio, visual, or video skills to present independent research and analysis. Students may choose to write an essay, but more creative approaches are encouraged and will be built into the class.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Students will develop critical and creative thinking skills.
Students will develop written and oral communication skills.
Students will develop high level library research skills.
Students will understand relevant cultural and media theories.
Students will understand and appreciate the value and importance of sport to the television industry, and the role the representation of sport plays in propagating cultural values.

Indicative Module Content:

All assigned readings will be available either in Brightspace or the library.

We will not have timetabled screenings. You will be responsible for watching assigned films in your own time. A Netflix account is highly recommended. Some screenings will require rental for between €2-€5. When possible, screenings will be provided in Brightspace or linked to on free-of-cost platforms.

Each week will have one required screening and list others for optional further viewing. Optional content includes several podcasts in addition to film and television.

Assigned film and television viewing may include: 30 for 30: POWER OF GOLD, 30 for 30: FANTASTIC LIES, THE LAST DANCE, WHEN WE WERE KINGS, OJ: MADE IN AMERICA, CHEER, various RTE sport history documentaries, A BALLERINA'S TALE, BIKRAM, SENNA or MARADONA, ICARUS

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning


Seminar (or Webinar)




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This is a discussion-based seminar. All students are expected to come to class prepared to share their questions, reflections, and analyses of assigned readings and screenings within small peer groups as well as the larger class. There will be frequent small group activities during class sessions. Class may include ungraded presentations of work-in-progress or final projects. This is not a lecture module. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Presentation: Presentations of final projects Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Project draft for feedback Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Project proposal Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: Final written project Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Each component will be graded and given written feedback in Brightspace. Students will also receive oral group feedback during class sessions. The final project requires submitting proposals and smaller elements building toward the final project, which will receive individual feedback. Grades/feedback will be provided within 21 days of assessment being turned in.

Name Role
Miss Natasha Waugh Tutor