Welcome to the Pre-Conference Conversations for the New England American Studies Conference. We're writing about the things we'll talk about the conference--join the conversation!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Sample post: Horse racing and order

The dress code for the Saratoga Race Course clubhouse.

What I'm working on right now are questions about order in architecture and public spaces, especially as they relate to horse racing. My larger project is a semiotic explanation of what horse racing communicates to us through its various signs, and lately, I've been thinking more about how much of horse racing is about the balance between order and disorder at racetracks.

It seems to me that almost everything at a racetrack is a reaction to the disorder seemingly naturally attached to sports, gambling, and class--the track to contain horses, the racing form to make sense of a confusing array of factors that are supposed to help the gambler choose her horse, and the seating designed to separate classes (even as they inevitably mix). The above photo shows how Saratoga adds fashion requirements to its clubhouse seating.

This could be taken as a type of bigger metaphor for our culture at large (which is the larger argument I'm trying to make). I'm working through sources in architecture, psychology, and sociology in order to help my argument.
--Jonathan Silverman

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jonathan,

    Just trying to comment using my Gmail account. Let's see how it goes!