Presentation Title

The African American Athlete (Commodity, Image, & Narrative)

Mentor

Michael Antonucci

Location

David F. Putnam Science Center - 102

Abstract

African American athletes occupy various social and cultural spaces within American imagination. Our research explores careers and configurations of African American athletes drawn from American sports. Identifying patterns that cast African American athletes as freedom fighters, angry brutes, buffoons, we contextualize spaces African American sporting figures claim within the United States and beyond. These patterns are original categories created by the students themselves with some categories in relation to theoretical works by other scholars. Some of these scholars that will be discussed include Thabiti Lewis, David L. Andrews, Rob Ruck, Leola Johnson and David Roediger. Students from the American Studies capstone course will summarize their individual projects and discuss their interdisciplinary explorations of the construction, commodification, and representation of African American athletes in the United States. There will be an in depth look into the African American athlete’s reflection on society as well as American culture as whole. These impacts will show a change over time and the evolution of the role of the African American athlete. Figures such as Bill Russell, Jackie Robinson, Michael Jordan, the University of Michigan’s Fab Five and others will be examined throughout the student’s work. The student’s research will explore the ways in which African Americans have been marked, marketed, and remarked upon within their roles as athletes. African American contributions to the social and political discourse concerning race, identity, and opportunity in the United States will underscore these student research projects.

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Apr 11th, 1:55 PM Apr 11th, 2:55 PM

The African American Athlete (Commodity, Image, & Narrative)

David F. Putnam Science Center - 102

African American athletes occupy various social and cultural spaces within American imagination. Our research explores careers and configurations of African American athletes drawn from American sports. Identifying patterns that cast African American athletes as freedom fighters, angry brutes, buffoons, we contextualize spaces African American sporting figures claim within the United States and beyond. These patterns are original categories created by the students themselves with some categories in relation to theoretical works by other scholars. Some of these scholars that will be discussed include Thabiti Lewis, David L. Andrews, Rob Ruck, Leola Johnson and David Roediger. Students from the American Studies capstone course will summarize their individual projects and discuss their interdisciplinary explorations of the construction, commodification, and representation of African American athletes in the United States. There will be an in depth look into the African American athlete’s reflection on society as well as American culture as whole. These impacts will show a change over time and the evolution of the role of the African American athlete. Figures such as Bill Russell, Jackie Robinson, Michael Jordan, the University of Michigan’s Fab Five and others will be examined throughout the student’s work. The student’s research will explore the ways in which African Americans have been marked, marketed, and remarked upon within their roles as athletes. African American contributions to the social and political discourse concerning race, identity, and opportunity in the United States will underscore these student research projects.