San Jose State University Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change Launched

Journal of Pan African Studies, March 2017 | Go to article overview

San Jose State University Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change Launched


San Jose State University (SJSU) and renowned athlete activist held a dialogue titled "Sport, Activism and Social Change: From Words to Action" (http://www.sjsu.edu/wordstoaction/), January 24, 2017 at the Hammer Theatre Center in downtown San Jose, California for a dialogue about the intersection of sport and social change, and officially launched of the SJSU Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change.

The Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change will be dedicated to research, analysis and education focused on developments at the intersection of sport and society. While its principal activities and interests will be substantially defined by the theoretical, methodological, and applied research perspectives and traditions of the sociology of sport, the goals of the institute include encouraging, creating, and facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration in illuminating the substance, dynamics and significance of sport as a factor in social change.

The (scheduled) speakers for the event included: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a six-time NBA champion and the league's all-time leading scorer, as well as the author of Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in recognition of his commitment to equality and justice; Jocelyn Benson is CEO of RISE and director of the Levin Center at Wayne State University Law School; Anquan Boldin, wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2016 and the NFL Man of the Year in 2015; Jim Brown, running back for the Cleveland Browns from 1957-1965 and Pro Football Hall of Famer, helped create the Black Economic Union in the 1960s to promote economic development in African-American communities; Harry Edwards, professor emeritus of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley, founder of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, author of The Revolt of the Black Athlete (Edwards is considered to be the father of the sociology of sport); Ann Killion, a New York Times best-selling author and an award-winning sports columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle; Kevin Merida, ESPN senior vice president and editor-in-chief of The Undefeated, and an award-winning journalist and the first African-American to hold a managing editor position at The Washington Post; Danielle Slaton, sideline reporter for the San Jose Earthquakes and former soccer analyst for Fox Sports and the Big Ten Network, she played for the Women's United Soccer Association and the U.S. Women's National Team, earning a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics and bronze in the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup;

Tommie Smith, he set seven individual world records as a student-athlete at San Jose State University, in addition to taking Olympic gold in the 200-meter sprint at the 1968 games in Mexico City; Marc Spears, a senior writer for ESPN's The Undefeated and chair of the National Association of Black Journalists Sports Task Force; Takeo Spikes, former NFL All-Pro linebacker, is an analyst at NBC's Pro Football Talk; and Chris Webber, a five-time NBA AllStar, NBA analyst for Turner Sports, and host of "Fearless or Insane with Chris Webber," a podcast that discusses sports and athletes, and their impact on culture, politics and society.

Why the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change at SJSU?

San Jose State is the logical place to house an institute whose principal mission involves the disciplined exploration, analyses and explanation of current developments germane to sport, society and social change, and to frame those developments in relationship to the broader contexts of both history and more current trajectories of events.

SJSU has a long and storied history as an institution at the center of sport and social change. Alumnus Peter Ueberroth, in his role as head of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, fundamentally re-conceived and changed the processes of financing the modern Olympics. …

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