Dakota State University history professor Dr. Kurt Kemper has recently published his very first book, College Football and American Culture in the Cold War Era. Students interested in sports and/ or history would find this unique topic highly interesting, and should consider reading the book.
Dr. Kemper had a book signing in the Karl Mundt Library, where anyone from the community interested in this particular author had the opportunity to meet this local author, and to have him personally autograph their books. Then, Dr. Kemper said a few words about College Football and American Culture in the Cold War Era.
This is Dr. Kemper’s first book, and while it has been a lot of work, it is a topic that he has always found fascinating, therefore making it worthwhile and rewarding.
Dr. Kemper came across this topic when he was in graduate school at George Mason University in 1996. “The intersection of race and sports just intrigued me,” says Dr. Kemper. It is indeed a very intriguing topic, one that perhaps few have explored. This only makes the topic that much more fascinating.
As a brief summary of the connection between college football and the Cold War, Dr. Kemper stated, “The Cold War made Americans very anxious because deep down, they weren’t really sure if they were up to the confrontation with the Soviets. As a result, they embraced values and sought out institutions that allayed their anxieties. To many Americans at the time, football represented an idealized way of life and estimable values. In that regard, they found it to be an antidote to their anxieties and invested the game with great Cold War meaning.”
Clearly, football carried a very deep meaning to the American culture at that time, which makes a lot of sense, as they continue to have a profound effect on society even today. It would be thought-provoking to learn how that effect has grown and changed over time, and Dr. Kemper’s book is a great way to explore that question.
Dr. Kemper began teaching history at DSU last year. When asked what his favorite part about teaching history was, Dr. Kemper responded, “Showing students that history is not merely unconnected names, dates, and facts, but concepts and ideas and interpretations that relate to one another to create a seamless story of the American experience.” That is a very interesting way to look at history, really, as a story that can be told, not just facts that must be memorized.
Dr. Kemper is currently hard at work on another book involving sports and culture. “My next book is on race and basketball and whether sports really does function as a meritocracy in American society.”
Another interesting topic dealing with sports and history! Readers interested in College Football and American Culture in the Cold War Era should definitely check out this one as well. Congratulations to Dr. Kurt Kemper on his recent success!
Published in the Trojan Times October 16, 2009