Keeping with Traditions

Article excerpt

With the 2008 Olympic Games taking place in Beijing this month, approximately 4 billion viewers worldwide will tune into the two week-long event. What happens during the games is certain to make news--records are broken, new champions are crowned. But this year, Olympic-related events made headlines even before the summer games began.

Demonstrations around the world disrupted the Olympic torch relay as the flame made its 85,000-mile journey from Greece to China, and activists lined the streets in several dries throughout the globe to protest Chinas crackdown in Tibet.

The collision of sports and politics, scholars say, serve as teachable moments for their students. "The modern-day games are known as much for politics, civil rights, anti-apartheid, terrorism and boycotts as they are for seemingly superhuman sporting feats," reports contributing editor Lydia Lum.

Dr. Peniel Joseph, an associate professor of African and Afro-American studies at Brandeis University, says the social and political undercurrents surrounding Olympic history can teach college students lessons that supplement what's covered in a classroom. "The Olympics show the global nature of sport. They've been ahead of the times in terms of race" he says. Read more in "When Sports and Politics Collide."

Diverse correspondent Garry Boulard takes a look at the current status of jazz studies programs throughout the country in "Keeping a Tradition Alive." Scholar musicians are trying to attract increasing numbers of Black students to such programs. But in the process, the jazz studies applicant pool is expanding to include international and nontraditional aged students.

"This tells me that for those who are afraid that jazz will someday die out, not to worry," says Carl Allen, the artistic director of jazz studies at the Juilliard School. "It is a form of music that is in some ways more popular than ever, particularly among young people. …