Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Level Playing Field?

Zombie Theories of Athletic, Genetics, and Race in Mainstream Global Media

Presentation Monday, November 30, 7:30pm at Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101

Matthew W. Hughey, PhD
Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut where he also serves as Affiliate Faculty in the Africana Studies Institute and the American Studies Program

Professor Hughey is set to discuss the debate over black athleticism and biological determinism. He proposes that with the domination of black athletics over white challengers—such as boxer Jack Johnson or sprinter Jessie Owens—some began to assert that blacks possessed a biological predisposition toward athletic excellence and that Darwinian winnowing during chattel slavery’s harsh conditions magnified African American and West Indian athletic prowess.
© Creative Commons
Despite biological and sociological evidence to the contrary, recent mainstream journalism has collectively advanced the proposition that black athletic success is the product of little more than genetic traits. In this talk, Professor Hughey will examine the events and ideologies employed to reify a media discourse of “black brawn vs. white brains.” He demonstrates how such a thesis is empirically untenable and represents a “zombie theory”—an idea that just won’t die.

Free and open to the public, refreshments will be served.

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