Faculty Snapshot: Frank Guridy
Tell us about your work.
My research and teaching centers on sport history, urban history, and the history of 20th century social movements. My recent work has been exploring, in different ways, the relationship between sport and social justice. My favorite class to teach here at Columbia is "Sport and Society in the Americas," which asks students to interrogate the place of sport in the hemispheric American political economy and in the articulations of national, racial, and gender identities. It attracts a nice cross section of students, including student-athletes, and it prompts animated conversations about sport and social justice.
What are you looking forward to right now? What are you excited about?
Though the misery of the pandemic has made it hard to be excited about anything, I am actually looking forward to the publication of my new book, The Sports Revolution: How Texas Changed the Culture of American Athletics, in March. The book uses Texas as a case study to explore the entanglements between the sport industry and the Black Freedom and Second-Wave feminist movements during the 1960s and 70s. It shows how sports provided new opportunities for aspiring women athletes and athletes of color, while also revealing how these advancements were ultimately derailed by hyper-commercialization and the rise of a new sport management class controlled by white men. The book suggests that If we want to understand why racial, gender, and class hierarchies persist in the sports world and in the larger society, we have to revisit this critical period when the terms of inclusion were first established.
What advice would you have for a potential mentee about succeeding in academia?
Attach yourself to communities that challenge and sustain you. Resist the temptation to think of yourself as "exceptional," as someone who has to be a solitary genius to be an excellent knowledge producer. Great scholarship and teaching are only possible if forged within a community of interlocutors. This is a tried and true strategy that has been employed by scholars of color and others who come from marginalized communities for decades. Otherwise you will find yourself isolated and looking to the wrong people for affirmation.