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Sports and Politics Conference

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Verso Books

20 Jay Street

Brooklyn, NY 11201

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Join us for a day long event looking at how professional sports informs politics. Co-sponsored by Verso Books, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office and Queensboro Community College, City University of New York.


Program schedule:

Saturday, December 15, 2018
Verso Books
20 Jay Street, Suite 1010, Brooklyn, New York 11201

9:30 AM | Welcome Notes

9:45 AM-11:15 AM | Exploitation
– Refusal to Participate: African Americans and the Proposed Olympic Boycott, 1934-1935
Stanley Arnold, Associate Professor, Department of History, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois

A Consideration of Sporting Boycotts: Scotland, South Africa, and the 1986 Commonwealth Games
Fiona Skillen, Lecturer in Sport and Event Management, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland
Matt McDowell, Lecturer in Sport Policy, Management, and International Development, Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland

– The Pixie and the Golden Girl: Zola Budd, Caster Semenya, and the Dilemmas of Race and Gender in South African Athletics
Derek Catsam, Professor of History and Kathlyn Cosper Dunagan, Professor in the Humanities, University of Texas of the Permian Basin, Odessa, Texas

11:25 AM-1:15 PM | Environment
– Desegregation and Exploitation at the Astrodome
Seth Tannenbaum, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Sport, Politics, and Robber Barons: How and Why Melbourne Became the “World’s Sporting Capital
Tom Heenan, Professor, School of Literatures, Languages, Cultures, and Linguistics, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

– The Olympic Games and Japan’s Changing Environment: An Historical Overview
Robin Kietlinski, Associate Professor of History, LaGuardia Community College / CUNY, Long Island City, New York

1:15 PM-2:00 PM | Lunch Break

2:00 PM-3:00 PM Roundtable (5-8 minute short presentations, followed by Q&A)
– Unpaid Field Labor: The Talent Drain Of Exploited Black Collegiate Athletes
Bijan C. Bayne, Freelance columnist, Washington, D.C.

– “Change Starts with Us: The Issue of Media Representation of Athletes’ Activism for Black Lives
Nicole Hirschfelder, Associate Professor of American Studies, University of Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany

– The Revival of Athlete Activism(s): Divergent Black Politics in the 2016 Presidential Election
Engagements of LeBron James and Colin Kaepernick
Steve Marston, Research Associate, Department of American Studies, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

– Soccer, Stereotypes, and Anti-Semitism: Memorializing & Mediating Nazi Ideology in International Sport
Courtney Cole, Assistant Professor of Communication, Regis College, Weston, Massachusetts

3:00 PM-4:00 PM | Stereotypes
– In the Land of Dreamy Dreams: Tennis and the Nexus of Class and Race in New Orleans, 1876-1976
Thomas Aiello, Associate Professor of History and African American Studies, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia

– Hegemonic Masculinities in the NHL
Francesco Collura, Graduate Student in Communication and Culture, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

4:15 PM-5:45 PM | Scandals
– Paul Powell, Otto Kerner, and the Corruption of Illinois Racing
Steven Riess, Professor Emeritus of History, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, Illinois

– Feasting in a Time of Famine: The English Premier League in an Age of Austerity
David Webber, Senior Lecturer in Football Studies, Solent University, Southampton, England

– #MeToo, Larry Nassar, and Sexual Abuse in Youth Sports
Kathleen Bachynski, Postdoctoral Fellow, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, New York

Dr. Clarence Jefferson Hall Jr., Assistant Professor of American and Environmental History, Queensborough Community College, CUNY, New York, USA

Dr. Frank Jacob, Professor of Global History, Nord University, Norway

In cooperation with Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung—New York Office and Verso Books, New York


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20 Jay Street

Brooklyn, NY 11201

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