On Friday, November 4, 2016, Dr. Rich Miller lead two sections of his Seminar for Freshmen on an all-day field trip to Springfield, MA, to visit the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (or “The Hoop Hall”) to study, enjoy, and experience the rich history and cultural legacy of basketball in the US and beyond.
For ten weeks, the “Hoop Dreams” classes studied basketball history in the US looking at issues of race and gender and the importance of high school and college basketball in paving the way for racial integration and equal rights for women and minorities. Students began their visit on the top floor of the Hoop Hall star gazing at all the legends of basketball and learning about the often difficult roads many had to success.
Moving to the lower levels, students enjoyed interactive exhibits as well as the many exhibits showcasing uniforms, famous games, players, and the impact of basketball, past and present, on race relations, gender equality, and the role sport, played, and still plays, in the fabric of American identity.
In addition to teaching his usual SF 178 in the Fall semester, Miller also taught an Honors section of the same course but themed this section around female and Native American hoop history and concerns. This Honors section blazed new ground and may be the first undergraduate course taught with this particular focus.
Ending the day, Dr. Miller joined the students on the Hoop Hall’s full size basketball court to shoot some hoops and discuss how returning to the Hoop Hall again and again with his classes opened his eyes to new ways basketball may be studied using a variety of media, texts, and themes.