Greg Ahrenhoerster, professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, will present “Pain Relief or Debilitating Addiction? Sports as an Opiate of the People” at noon Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the college.
The lecture will be held in Commons 101. The event is free and open to the public, and free parking is available during the lecture. UW-Waukesha is located at 1500 N. University Drive in Waukesha.
In his lecture, Ahrenhoerster considers this question: Is it OK to use sports as an escape from our unpleasant and sometimes painful existences? The question is explored through four pieces of sports-themed literature.
Ahrenhoerster said his lecture springs from a book chapter he wrote for “Critical Insights: Sports Fiction,” which will be published by Salem Press.
“The idea for it really came when I was teaching The Literature of Sport a few years ago,” he said. “I was teaching an odd little story by Hemingway called ‘The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio,’ which features a nun who is obsessed with sports. At the end of the story, the main character is musing on the Marx quote about religion being the opiate of the masses, and he wonders why that is necessarily a bad thing. Aren’t opiates sometimes necessary to ease our pain? So my chapter takes the characters question seriously and applies it to the ‘opiate’ of sports.”
Ahrenhoerster is a professor of English and chair of the English department for the University of Wisconsin Colleges. He earned his Ph.D. in English at UW-Milwaukee, where his dissertation examined the symbolic use of sports in American Literature. He has a wife in graduate school and three children, which is why he sometimes looks tired.
UW–Waukesha has the largest enrollment among the 13 UW Colleges campuses with more than 2,000 students. These freshman/sophomore campuses and UW Colleges Online comprise the UW Colleges. They offer an associate of arts and sciences degree and prepare students of all ages and backgrounds for baccalaureate and professional programs. In addition, UW-Waukesha offers several collaborative bachelor’s degrees through UW-Milwaukee and UW-Oshkosh.
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