Beyond the Cheers: Race as Spectacle in College Sport

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Focusing on half-time performances, commercialized stagings, media coverage, public panics, and political protests, Beyond the Cheers offers an ethnography, history, and social critique of racial spectacles in college sport. King and Springwood argue that collegiate revenue producing sports are created as a spectacle, driven by a range of contradictory meanings and exploitative practices. While Native Americans are viewed largely as empty or distorted images and African Americans are seen as both shining stars and troubled delinquents, White Americans remain constant as spectators, coaches, administrators, journalists, and athletes, producing and consuming college sport, performing and policing, but seemingly unmarked as racial subjects. In consuming these spectacles, American sports fans learn to embrace inflated, contradictory, and distorted renderings of racial difference and the history of race relations in America.

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About the author (2001)

C. Richard King is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Drake University. He is the author of Colonial Discourses, Collective Memories, and the Exhibition of Native American Cultures and Histories in the Contemporary United States.

Charles Fruehling Springwood is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Illinois Wesleyan University. He is the author of Cooperstown to Dyersville: A Geography of Baseball Nostalgia.