Wednesday, April 11, 2007

University of Michigan to Offer Martial Arts Sociology Course

In an email sent out to various University of Michigan martial arts clubs, Professor Michael Kennedy informs us that he will be teaching a special Sociology course at U of M Ann Arbor for the Fall of 2007 called, "Martial Arts, Culture and Society." The course is SOC 495 and will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1 - 2:30 P.M. in Angell Hall room G115.

Here's the course description:

In this upper-level undergraduate lecture for which there are no prerequisites, students will consider how sociology and other social sciences can help us understand martial arts and how martial arts might inform the social sciences.

By comparing the practice, organization, scholarly studies, and popular culture around boxing, wrestling, kung fu, karate, tae kwon do, judo, aikido, capoeira, and mixed martial arts, primarily within the U.S., students will consider the ways in which these different arts work to realize similar outcomes — increasing awareness and kinesthetic powers — and vary substantially along other dimensions including their association with various national and gender identifications, and in terms of their locations with regard to performance/sport/combat, militarism/pacifism, openness/secrecy, and individuation/group identity formation.

Guest lectures and films will supplement lectures and demonstrations by the professor and student participants. Outside experts will explore particular martial arts, as well as the martial arts’ relationship to psychology, anthropology, and healing arts.

Two examinations, a research paper based on archival research or participant observation in martial arts (with any degree of accomplishment), and class contributions based on prior background and preparation for class form the basis for the course grade.


David Mayeda said...

See if the professor can offer my book on mixed martial arts: "Fighting for Acceptance: Mixed Martial Artists and Violence in American Society." I'm a sociology PhD who wrote the book for classes just like this.

You can see some of my work here (check out the links under the MMA Advocacy section):

We held in-depth interviews with Couture, "Rampage," Hendo, MayheM, Mezger, Trigg, Lutter, and many more on important sociological issues. We asked them about MMA's potential affects on street violence, fighters' rights, glamorizing violence, masculinity, and so forth. Plus, I train MMA, so it takes a balanced look at the sport and society.

David Mayeda, PhD

Jason Clarke said...


I'm no longer working at the University of Michigan. You can email the professor at . I don't know if he is still offering the course for '08, but it's worth contacting him to find out.


Terri said...

This is awesome!