Christopher Scott Gilliard

Sports, power, and the black body: Pedagogy and writing race

Christopher Scott Gilliard

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2003; pp: 136
  • Advisor: Weiser, Irwin
  • Source: DAI-A 64/10, p. 3671, Apr 2004
  • Subjects: Language, Rhetoric And Composition (0681); Black Studies (0325); Recreation (0814)
  • ProQuest Document Number:
  • ISBN: 0-496-55891-2
  • UMI Number: AAT 3108346

Abstract:

    • The purpose of this project was to examine the ways in which cultural narratives about black athletes and the black athletic body help to construct the overall understanding of African Americans and their place in the culture. Throughout the history of the black athlete in America, the narratives surrounding them have shifted, moving from an oppressive binary of good Negro or dangerous black animal and transforming into a multiplicity of narratives. On the surface these new narratives seem to engage the complexity of blackness in the culture, but upon close examination, the narratives are revealed to be no less oppressive in their construction of blackness or the black body. However, within a classroom setting, analysis of these narratives can serve as an important entrance point for discussions of the ways that race, class and power function in American culture. Because many students come to the classroom already having a high degree of familiarity with sports and its mythology, they are often able to see (and are more willing to discuss) how race functions in this particular cultural site.