Black sports history topic of Cornell Seymour Lecture

In honor of Black History Month, this semester’s Seymour Lecture in Sports History will focus on how media has shaped much of the narrative of black sports history.

The talk, “Reframing Boobie Miles: Racial Iconicity and the Transmedia Black Athlete,” will be given by Samantha N. Sheppard, associate professor of cinema and media studies in the Department of Performing and Media Arts. Sheppard will explore the meaning of the black athlete, using Boobie Miles, as portrayed in the multimedia franchise “Friday Night Lights,” as her case study.

The talk will be Thursday, February 10, 2022, at 5 p.m.  This lecture is free and open to the public.  Community members are invited; learn more here.

“Samantha Sheppard is a leading cultural critic of visual media, race and gender in popular culture,” says Judith Byfield, professor of history and lecture organizer. “Sheppard’s book, ‘Sporting Blackness,’ was described by one reviewer as an ‘essential intervention in the study of sports films.’ Her work illuminates how histories of race and racism are embedded in the representation of black athletes in sports films. Sheppard’s sharp intellect, quick wit and vivaciousness will appeal to both academic and non-academic audiences as she invites them to revel in the intellectual journey she charts.”
 
In her talk, Sheppard will discuss Boobie Miles’ sporting and cultural impact and the distinct ways in which media shapes sports history.  Her talk is derived from her book “Sporting Blackness:  Race, Embodiment, and Critical Muscle Memory on Screen,” and will give a new lens through which the audience can view the portrayal of black athletes.
 
Sheppard received her B.A. in Film & Television Studies and Women and Gender Studies from Dartmouth College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. Sheppard was named 2021 Academy Film Scholar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.   She has written for numerous publications, including The Atlantic and the Los Angeles Review of Books.
 
An interdisciplinary scholar, Sheppard draws on multiple fields in her work, including film, sport, gender and sexuality and African American studies. She is currently working on two book projects: “Screening Basketball,” forthcoming from Rutgers University Press and the tentatively titled “A Black W/hole: Phantom Cinemas and the Reimagining of Black Women's Media Histories.”
 
The Seymour Lecture in Sports History is presented by the Department of History once or twice a year and it brings distinguished historians to Cornell. Harold Seymour was a baseball historian known for his three-volume book detailing the development of the sport from an amateur pastime into a professional sport.

Read the story in the Cornell Chronicle.

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