The Center for European Studies invites you to celebrate Europe Day by joining us:
“Reflections on European Culture: Sport, Nationalism & Identity”
A Talk by Dr. Ben Carrington
UT Austin Department of Sociology
Thursday, May 2
9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
The talk is free and open to the public. Registration is not required.
Ben Carrington is a sociologist who has taught at the University of Texas at Austin since 2004. Prior to that he taught at the University of Brighton in England. His teaching and research interests cover the broad areas of the sociology of race, ethnicity and culture and particularly sociological approaches to the media, popular culture and sport. Professor Carrington currently serves on the editorial boards of Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, the Journal of Sport and Social Issues and the International Review for the Sociology of Sport. Outside of the Sociology Department, Ben Carrington is actively engaged with a range of institutions and intellectual spaces, including the Center for European Studies, the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies and the Warfield Center for African and African American Studies. He also holds an appointment with the African and African Diaspora Studies Department. Professor Carrington is a Carnegie Research Fellow at Leeds Metropolitan University, England and is a Research Associate of the Centre for Urban and Community Research, based at Goldsmiths College, University of London.
UT Gender Symposium Presents:
“Float like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee”: Muhammad Ali’s Choreography of Black Masculinity
A Talk by Prof. Frank Guridy
UT Department of History
Friday, May 3
Prof. Frank Guridy is Associate Professor of History and Director of John L. Warfield Center for African and African-American Studies.
On November 14, 1966, heavyweight champion boxer Muhammad Ali stepped into the ring to face Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams in the Houston Astrodome. In contrast to the loud cheers received by Williams, a Houston native, Ali was received with a resounding chorus of boos (mixed in with a few cheers) from the crowd of 35,460 spectators, the largest indoor crowd in boxing history up to that point. The crowd’s reaction was based not only on Williams’s status as the hometown favorite, but also on the antipathy many throughout the country expressed toward Ali after he disavowed the U.S. war effort in Vietnam earlier that year. In February 1966, the heavyweight champion was declared eligible for the draft. In response, Ali pronounced to harassing reporters: “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.” After a little more than eight minutes of competition, the largely pro-Williams crowd went home disappointed after Ali knocked the “Big Cat” down four times before the referee stopped the fight in the third round.
This paper historicizes the 1966 Ali-Williams fight in order to show how sport studies can enhance our efforts to historicize gender, race, and sexuality. An analysis of Ali’s performance in the boxing ring highlights an articulation of a fluid black masculinity that emerged during the 1960s and 70s. Indeed, it was the fight against Williams when he first unveiled his “Ali Shuffle,” a quick combination of back and forth steps that were designed to distract his opponent from a barrage of oncoming punches. I argue that Ali’s performance reveals a black (brown?) performing body that resists not only white fears of a dangerous Black masculinity, but also articulations of emerging patriarchal Black Nationalist discourses that emerged in this period.