The Cultural Legacy of Ursinus Field Hockey
Jacob Ross ’ 22
Mentor: Johanna Mellis, assistant professor of history
Perhaps nothing in Ursinus’s century-and-a-half of existence is more storied or rich in history as the field hockey team. Pioneers. Championships. Hall of fame athletes. Olympians. But where does the program fit in the broader context of sports and culture?
It’s a question Jacob Ross ’22 is exploring though his Summer Fellows research.
“The purpose behind this specific focus on a sports team is twofold,” he said. “The first being that issues of race and gender are very contentious in sports today. Therefore, I thought it would be important to investigate how a smaller institution like Ursinus, which usually does not receive as much attention as larger schools, reflect these social dynamics through its field hockey team.”
Additionally, Ross said he is interested in promoting sports history for people who may not interested in history. “In many ways sports are more than just a game. You can see social and political trends manifest through the organization of sport.”
The Passion Behind the Project
“I like local histories,” Ross said. “I want people to know more about the areas they live in, especially the institutions. I think it is important to do what I can to bring attention to that history. What I have gotten out of this personally is greater understanding of sports history from a historical perspective. I have learned a lot about how those people specifically do their work and how they construct an analysis. I am always looking to expand my abilities as a historian.”