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Gender and Genre in Sports Documentaries

Critical Essays

Edited by Zachary Ingle and David M. Sutera

Nonfiction films about sports have been around for decades, but the previously neglected subgenre of the documentary has become increasingly popular in the last several years. Despite such recent successes as Senna, Undefeated, and ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, however, few scholarly articles have been published on these works.

Gender and Genre in Sports Documentaries, editors Zachary Ingle and David M. Sutera have assembled essays that examine the various aspects of this art form. Some address questions of gender and sexuality, specifically how masculinity and homosexuality are represented in sports documentaries. Others focus on the characteristics of these films, exploring aspects of aesthetics and narrative.

In addition to chapters on basketball, football, baseball, boxing, tennis, and auto racing, this collection features marginalized sports like quad rugby, pro wrestling, live action role playing (LARPing), and bodybuilding. Some of the films described will be familiar to readers, such as
Murderball and Bigger Stronger Faster; others are less well-known yet important works worthy of scrutiny. Questions about gender, sexuality, and masculinity remain hot topics in sports discourse and this collection tackles those subjects, making Gender and Genre in Sports Documentaries an intriguing read for scholars, students, and the general public alike.
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Scarecrow Press
Pages: 204Size: 6 x 9
978-0-8108-8787-9 • Hardback • December 2012 • $75.00 • (£49.95)
978-0-8108-8788-6 • eBook • December 2012 • $71.00 • (£47.95)
Zachary Ingle has published articles and reviews in journals such as Mass Communication and Society, Literature/Film Quarterly, Film-Philosophy, and Journal of American Culture. He is the editor of Robert Rodriguez: Interviews (2012).

David M. Sutera is a film and media scholar and an independent filmmaker.

Ingle and Sutera are the editors of Identity and Myth in Sports Documentaries (Scarecrow, 2013).
Zachary Ingle and David M. Sutera

“A Few Brief Moments”: Truth and Image in Sports Documentaries
Cynthia Fuchs
The Wrestling Road Diaries: The Crossroads of Bourgeois and Popular Aesthetics
Shane Toepfer
Murderball: Hypercapitalism and the Ethics of Narrative Forms in Life-Writing
Soumitra Ghosh
History and Performance in Spike’s Sports Docs:
Jim Brown: All-American and Kobe Doin’ Work
Zachary Ingle
Senna: Technological and Stylistic Developments in Documentary
Patrick Terry

“The Best Storyteller of Them All”: Constructions of Masculinity and Authenticity in
Wrestling with Shadows and Beyond the Mat
Dan Ward
Manhood in a Bottle: Strength, Status, and Steroids
Sanjukta Ghosh
Out and Proud: The Brave New World of Gay, Lesbian, and Transsexual Sports Documentaries
Sarah Boslaugh

Battle Gaming: Social Media and Sports on the Margins
Jeffrey A. Sartain
Role Models and Regular People: Cultures of Hegemony in the World of
Matthew A. McNiece
The Death of Kayfabe: Looking Behind the Curtain of Professional Wrestling
Keith Corson

Appendix A: Filmography
About the Contributors
About the Editors
Gender and Genre in Sports Documentaries builds on the increasing popularity of documentaries by presenting 11 critical essays on documentary films about sport. A great strength of the book is that the essays do not focus only on what could broadly be called ‘mainstream’ sport. In addition to essays on films about basketball, football and auto racing, there are essays on films about professional wrestling, LARPing (live action role playing, also known as battle gaming) and wheelchair rugby. This range of essay subjects is commendable, not only in that it acknowledges the many different types of activity that can be classified as sport, but also because it includes activities that are often dismissed as not being ‘real’ sport. ... The book greatly benefits from the variety of analytical perspectives employed in the essays. ... Gender and Genre in Sports Documentaries is a very enjoyable read, while also providing thoughtful and informed perspectives. It would be an excellent resource for courses on sport and society, or film and society. . . . The book will also be of interest to sports researchers and film researchers, and to any reader interested in how the medium of film constructs and portrays stories.
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