Why Football Matters: Author to Present Lecture at UA

Mark Edmundson

Dr. Mark Edmundson will speak at the University on September 18 and 19.

Does football matter? It’s a question author and acclaimed essayist Dr. Mark Edmundson will try to answer as he discusses his newest book, “Why Football Matters: My Education in the Game,” in a lecture Friday, Sept. 19 at 3 p.m. on The University of Alabama campus. The lecture will be held in the Ferguson Center Theater and is free and open to the public. The event will be followed by a book signing and reception.

Edmundson was recently featured on National Public Television’s News Hour talking about “Why Football Matters” and authored a commentary on the subject in the Los Angeles Times, which was widely syndicated.

Edmundson, a professor at the University of Virginia and the author of numerous books, admits that people are often fanatically for football or wildly against it.

“I’m a little bit of both,” he said. “Football is a poison, and football is an elixir. It’s what the Greeks would have called a pharmakon.”

Edmundson’s talk, “Education by Football,” will attempt to marry the two positions. He will discuss how football shaped him as a young boy and how it continues to shape American men, for better and worse, today, and its larger and influential role in American culture.

While at UA, Edmundson will also present a second lecture, “In Defense of Ideals,” Thursday, Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in room 205 of Gorgas Library on the UA campus. This lecture is presented by the UA chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and most prestigious Greek-letter society in the country, as part of the Allen Going Lecture series. Edmundson will discuss courage, contemplation, compassion and purpose. The lecture is free and open to the public.

“Students may want to contemplate an ideal life rather than a merely pragmatic one,” he said.

“Why Football Matters,” a memoir, is his 10th book.  Edmundson is widely known for his writings on education including in his books “Why Teach,” “Why Read,” and “Teacher: The One Who Made the Difference.”  He received his doctorate from Yale and currently teaches courses on 19th-century literature, poetry and romanticism at the University of Virginia, where he is a professor in the department of English.

His work has also appeared in The American Scholar, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Harper’s Magazine and others.