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January 10, 2001


LA CROSSE, Wis.— Explore the excitement and controversy of "The Sporting Life: Gender, Race, and Ethics in American Sports," Viterbo University’s annual Humanities Symposium, Monday, Feb. 5- Thursday, Feb. 8, with keynote speaker Mariah Burton Nelson, a sportswriter and former college and professional basketball player.

Burton Nelson takes a closer look at "Sexism in the American Culture of Sports," on Monday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. in the Viterbo Fine Arts Center Main Theatre. The talk, based on her book, The Stronger Women Get, the More Men Love Football, looks at the masculine world of sports and its effect on women. By creating a sports world where masculinity is equated with violence and where all visible women are cheerleaders, do "manly" sports set the stage for violence against women? The book was nominated for awards by the Center for the Study of Sport in Society and the North American Society for Sport Sociology.

Burton Nelson’s talk is just one event in the week-long series of events.

"American sports have become more than just recreation over the years. They’re about life issues. Throughout the week, we’ll look at the impact that three major issues—gender, race, and ethics—have on sports in our society," said Mary Hassinger, dean, School of Letters and Sciences.

Other symposium highlights include:

Monday, Feb. 5
Introduction and panel discussion exploring gender, race, and ethics in American sports, 2-4 p.m., Fine Arts Center Main Theatre. Presenters include: Tonya Moten Brown, vice president and chief of staff, University of Minnesota?Minneapolis; Jearold Holland, department chair, Recreation Management/Therapeutic Recreation, UW?La Crosse; and Sara Sullivan, psychology professor, UW?La Crosse.

Tuesday, Feb. 6
"Yesterday’s Negro League Baseball," Dennis Biddle, 11:30-1 p.m. and 5:30-7 p.m., Fine Arts Center Lobby. Join Biddle for a baseball-style lunch or dinner and a discussion of the courageous individuals who played in the Negro League. Biddle played for the Chicago American Giants as a pitcher. He earned the nickname "The Man Who Beat the Man Who Beat the Man" when he beat Gerald McKinnis, a pitcher who was one of the few to beat Satchel Paige. A collection of Biddle’s baseball memorabilia will be on display in the lobby.

Wednesday, Feb. 7
"The North American Hunting Ethic," Jim Posewitz, Fine Arts Center Main Theatre, 7:30-9 p.m. Posewitz, a Wisconsin native and resident of Montana, founded Orion, The Hunters Institute, after serving as a biologist in the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks for 32 years. Orion is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of hunting for future generations by focusing on hunter ethics and conservation. His acclaimed book Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting, published in 1994, is widely used in the hunter education community. The presentation will be followed by a discussion moderated by Jerry Davis, a biologist at UW?La Crosse and the outdoors columnist for the La Crosse Tribune. A booksigning and reception in the Fine Arts Center Lobby will follow the event. Outters and Gander Mountain are co-sponsors of the event.

Thursday, Feb. 8
"Jackie Robinson," Fine Arts Center Main Theatre, 9:30 a.m. and noon. Performed by the Mixed Blood Theatre, a professional, multi-racial theatre group from the Twin Cities, the Jackie Robinson story is one of nine educational plays the group tours and presents to youth and adults throughout the country. It tells the story of baseball legend Jackie Robinson.

In addition, throughout the symposium, various speakers will visit Viterbo classrooms.

All symposium events are free and open to the public. For more information about "The Sporting Life: Gender, Race, and Ethics in American Sports," contact Mary Hassinger, dean, School of Letters and Sciences, at 608-796-3393 or by email at

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