WGS 3240

Course Name: 
Race, Gender and Sport: A History of Black Athletes in America

This course seeks to explore the intersection of gender and race in sport, specifically examining the African-American experience in sport. This course will ask students to consider whether sport was (and continues to be) the great equalizer for both African-American sportsmen and sportswomen, and to evaluate their portrayals (or lack thereof) in both the white and black media. We’ll consider athletic greats Jackie Robinson and Althea Gibson, as well as lesser known athletes Jack Johnson and Ora Mae Washington—why are some athletes destined to be celebrated while others are forgotten? We will also explore the activism of Muhammad Ali and Venus Williams, and the gendered differences of their campaigns, as well as the importance of sport as a platform for voicing inequality as we look not only at breaking color barriers during Jim Crow America, but “The Black Power Salute” of the 1960s, and taking a knee in 2016. Through primary source readings, documentaries and discussion we’ll seek to put the African-American sporting experience in context to see just how far athletes of color have actually come in the American sporting arena.