ABOUT THE SPORTS AND SOCIETY INITIATIVE
As sports continues to serve as an important venue for spotlighting societal issues, Vanderbilt University has established a new initiative exploring the intersection of sports, race, gender and culture in society.
The Sports and Society initiative supports the university’s overall mission of discovery and teaching and its focus on trans-institutional initiatives. An initial emphasis is placed on activism by using sports as a vehicle for change.
“Few activities capture popular attention like sports, where our society’s greatest successes and deepest failures play out,” said Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos.” “The stories of Vanderbilt pioneers like Perry Wallace and Godfrey Dillard underscore this, and truly showcase the role that universities—for better and for worse—play in the fight for equality,” Zeppos said.
The initiative’s first public event took place in Washington, D.C., with a panel discussion on the intersection of activism, race and sports moderated by David Williams, vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletics director.
“That event is an example of the types of programming that the center will sponsor to elevate awareness and understanding and promote progress. The world of sports provides a unique platform from which to study many of the most timely and important issues in American culture,” Williams said.
2018-19 EDUCATIONAL SERIES
A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES: EXAMINING THE OLYMPICS FROM DIVERSE ANGLES
In 1968, the Olympic Games were held in Mexico City and those were the first games awarded to a country in Latin America. The games were preceded by protests by Mexican college students opposed by their government’s expenditures to host the games despite the country’s other pressing needs.
Later, the world watched as American sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith, who placed first and third in the 200 meters, took a stand for justice as they raised their black-gloved fists skyward when they were presented their medals during the playing of the United States’ national anthem. Both sprinters were proteges of Harry Edwards, a sociology professor at San Jose State University, and members of the SJSU “Speed City” track team. In addition, Peter Norman of Australia, who placed second in that famous race, wore an “Olympic Project for Human Rights” button in support of the movement for justice.
With the 50th anniversary of that iconic moment as the catalyst, the Sports and Society Initiative invites you to attend a series of provocative, educational and entertaining events all related to some aspect of the Olympic Games and their relationship with society at large.
From film screenings to panel discussions to presentations by scholars and authors, these special events will examine a broad range of topics and illuminate the ways in which the Olympics offer valuable insights into culture, politics, social justice, race, gender, religion and more.
Please join us for any and all of the following programs. All events are free and open to the public, including Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff.
This series is sponsored by the Office of Community, Neighborhood and Government Relations, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt, the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities and Vanderbilt Athletics.
“What is the ‘Olympic Movement’ and Where Do We Fit In?” featuring USOC General Counsel Chris McCleary
Tuesday, April 2, 11:30 a.m. –1 p.m.
Football Meeting Room, McGugin Center
Watch our recent event with USOC General Counsel Chris McCleary
Unless otherwise indicated, all events will take place at 11:30 a.m. in the Football Meeting Room on the 2nd floor of the McGugin Center (Vanderbilt Athletic Department) at 2601 Jess Neely Drive. Parking is available in the 25th Avenue Garage.
Follow Vanderbilt Sports and Society on Twitter @sportssocietyVU.
To receive a weekly email with a quick-hitting summary of Sports and Society news, contact Andrew Maraniss at Andrew.J.Maraniss@vanderbilt.edu.