Call for Contributions | “Open Field: Gender, Sexuality, and the Black Athlete”


  • Derrais A. Carter, Ph.D. Portland State University, Assistant Professor, Department of Black Studies
  • Marta N. Mack-Washington, Ph.D. University of Louisville, Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Health and Sport Sciences



Sport operates as a social and cultural institution that allows for hegemonic ideals about masculinity to be preserved and reproduced. Moreover, these ideals have historically been decidedly white and heteronormative. However, sport is also a contested terrain where the battle for the maintenance and redistribution of power and privilege is constantly being waged, won, and lost. The black athlete, then, is always/already linked to the questions of race, gender, sexuality, sport, and power.

This collection, provisionally titled Open Field: Gender, Sexuality, and the Black Athlete, explores how cultural narratives of blackness, gender, and sexuality remain entangled in, through, and against sport. More specifically, we are interested in essays that unpack how black athletes are uniquely positioned to reconfigure discussions of gender and sexuality in black popular culture. Moreover, we ask how emergent works in black sexuality and gender studies open new possibilities for thinking about black athleticism in sport and society.

We encourage submissions that resist the imposition of the white gaze as the primary lens through which we theorize about sexuality, gender, and black athletes.

Guiding Questions 

  1. How do emergent theories about blackness, gender, and sexuality inform the cultural analysis of sport?
  2. How do blackness, gender, and sexuality bring forward possibilities for reading resistance differently among black athletes?
  3. What cultural spaces/texts enable discussions of black athleticism and sexuality outside of the white gaze?

Possible Themes

We are particularly interested in, but not limited to, proposals that consider

  • Black trans athletes
  • Policing gender/sexuality
  • Spectacle
  • Sport film
  • Gender/sexual panics
  • Embodied practices in sport
  • Sex scandals
  • Queer performance
  • Sport in popular culture
  • Historical perspectives
  • Social media


Please send proposals of 250-500 words to Derrais Carter or Marta Mack-Washington to <> by June 1, 2016. Completed manuscript drafts (4000-6000 words) are due on February 1, 2017.

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