Sunday, December 25, 2011

Soccer by Searchlight: looking for the future in the past


It's a little known fact that the earliest night matches were women's games. Amazing how far we've moved in the wrong direction. In 1920 enough people were excited by the idea of watching women play that they packed the terraces. The media thought the match was important enough to cover it in print and as a cinematic news reel. Even if press from this period approached the women's game as a novelty, it broadcast information about teams and events and made celebrities of its amateur players.

Today, fans of the women's game are so sick and tired of having to cajole, beg, whine, yell and snipe about the lack of coverage - we've become bored with the whole situation. When it comes to the media blackout on coverage of women's sports, most of us have just thrown up our hands with a "whatever."

Of course we need the media to support nascent leagues. We need media to pay enough attention to league organization and team management so that those running the women's game are celebrated for their successes and held accountable for their failures. We need coverage of actual matches, week in, week out. It's ludicrous that people in the US have only ever heard of Abby Wambach and Hope Solo - and most who know these names haven't actually watched them play and and they certainly don't follow their club careers.

We need a media from another era - a media that takes an interest in new things, in things that aren't guaranteed successes. We need a media interested in a sport that is professional in the ways that working people are professional. Why not take an interest in a sport that is not making a few people rich, but that is just trying to sustain itself?

What happened to make media interest so synonymous with "profitable" that we can't imagine wanting to watch something unless there is an abstract sum of money in play between a handful of people - none of whom are on the field?

We have one clue in the 1920 ban on the women's game - The English Football Association only killed the women's game when its success in modeling a sustainable game played for the benefit of all began to suggest a different future for the game than the one we've been stuck with. Barbara Jacobs writes:
From their formation until the FA announcement [of the ban against the women's game], Dick, Kerr's Ladies [the most celebrated club] had raised over £60,000 for charity, and the same amount had been raised by all the other women's clubs combined. That's, in a total for the years 1918 to 1921, £120,000, or, in today's reckoning, 24 million pounds. And the FA? I think we can safely call the scoreline 24 million to nil. [Jacobs, The Dick, Kerr's Ladies, p. 164]
Jacobs quite reasonably points out that given the identification of women's football with highly successful community support, it was inevitable that working people filling the stands for men's matches would begin to ask where their hard-earned money was going.

The FA's 1920 decision to kill interest in the women's game left us with the "common sense" dished out as an explanation for why the women's game isn't worth watching: "There's no money in it." If working people living in the desolation of post WWI Europe could raise £120,000 from women's matches, then surely the problem has never been money itself, but rather where the money in the women's game went.

People complain all the time that you can't market the women's game as a "charity" - that there is nothing that will kill a sports-buzz quicker than the spirit of "good works." I've felt this myself.

Meanwhile corporate speculation has sucked the soul from the men's game. Who believes that the season championship is something that a team earns? What honor is there in a trophy that's been bought? Or in watching a play-off between two or three teams that have sold their economic souls in order to have the right to be in the running?

Sure, as a spectator I won't turn my back on a big match - but the pleasures of the game feel no more and no less thrilling than the pleasures of a great product, designed for easy consumption. If it feels good, this is because it asks so very little of me.

Most of us actually want more than this. Few of us, however, are old enough to remember what that "more" might actually be. We live with a vague sense that our desire for something different is impractical, unrealizable. "There's no money in that."

And so we turn to history not out of nostalgia but out of curiosity: the past doesn't teach us that "yes, there is money in that." It shows us an entirely different relationship to money. The women's game allowed those with a little to give to those with even less. The team's management and players took only what they needed to keep playing. No one was set to get rich off of it. And this made the fans love the enterprise even more. Imagine!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Slava Mogutin, from "Brosephines" for Vice (October 2011)

I might as well just say it: I've been busy with work. I've been avoiding watching soccer matches on TV and following sports media - because these things provoke me. Plus - and this the biggie - I'm injured and alienated from the local scene which is my muse. I'll be back soon.

Until the black helicopter rants return, however, I'll share images and video like a normal blogger. 

The above photo by the artist Slava Mogutin - he has a deep appreciation for the athlete in all his (per)version. This image is one of the more demure of his work in this genre.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Silent Majority: On UC Davis and the War on Students

Depressingly, few of us who work at the University of California were surprised by the fact that demonstrating students would be treated with such violence. A squad of colleagues affirmed that it was business as usual when they stood passive while Officer Pike calmly went about his task. UC Davis's Chancellor and its Police Chief both reacted as if this were an unpleasant routine, until it became a news item.

The University of California's leaders have been a waging war on students for years. This scene is repeated with increasing force directed at protesters who have sought ever more dramatic ways of demonstrating their "non-violence." Shouting? Too violent. Standing? Violent. Sitting down and chanting? Still violent. Finally, our students are on the floor with their mouths shut.

We have also witnessed Orwellian twists in the system's efforts to quash dissent. When demonstrating students aren't bludgeoned and sprayed, they are marked with antiquated labels like "disrespectful," "intolerant" and "uncivil" in a prelude to "discipline" and disenfranchisement. In a February 2010 memo ominously titled "Intolerance on Campus," UC President Mark G. Yudof lumped organized student activists together with racists when he compared the Irvine 11 to the students who thought hanging a noose in the UC San Diego library was funny. Both, he wrote, showed a lack of "tolerance."

The comparison (which Yudof has made more than once) is chilling. It draws a line of equivalence
between a loud but non-violent protest against violence, and an action that is itself shorthand for a quite specific history of terrifying violence. Students protesting systemic, state-sanctioned violence were equated with students casually citing lynching. The political and historical acrobatics required to draw that equation are dizzying.

For crying out during a presentation by Israel's ambassador to the United States, the Irvine 11 wound up in the middle of a criminal prosecution. The Muslim Student Union was banned from Irvine's campus for six months - an extraordinary disciplinary measure I haven't seen duplicated except in cases of violence at frat parties. In fact, I've seen the latter treated more generously.

One administrative response to "the Irvine 11" has gone completely unnoticed in commentary about the case, perhaps because it is so utterly banal. The Office of Student Conduct forced the three UC Riverside students who participated in that protest to write essays about the First Amendment.

Let me repeat that: UC Riverside's Office of Student Conduct forced three students to write about freedom of expression, as a form of punishment. (In his memo on "campus intolerance" Mark Yudof identifies himself as "a scholar of the First Amendment.")

No UCR faculty member was involved in creating, reading or evaluating that assignment. What self-respecting scholar could bear such a thing? I can think of no surer way of alienating a student from his or her authorial voice that to tell them what to say, and then force them to say it. (Incredibly, these punitive essays are routinely assigned across the UC system.)

There is violence embedded in that kind of "discipline." It is not the kind that goes viral. It is the kind of thing that feeds on a system like a slow-growing cancer - empowering police officers to wield their weapons as educational tools.

In setting up camps, by so visibly occupying their schools, students acknowledge that they are at risk of being disposed of their education if they don't insist on the campus's responsibility to their presence. That University of California leadership has produced a situation in which the most effective protest has been silence should give us all pause.  Students should not have to sit down and shut up in order not to be read as a threat.

That is one reason why the UC Davis action was so shaming - such a demand is grotesquely odds with our mission, but it is exactly what the system has been asking students to do for years. In literalizing that demand, however, UC Davis's students also powerfully asserted their connection with and allegiance to the ever increasing numbers of people whose mere existence poses a problem to those who have taken so much from them.

[Obviously, it's hard for me to care much about the Galaxy winning the MLS Cup with this stuff going on.]

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Footballers on the Dancefloor: from Hollywood to Bollywood, Solo, Savage and God Himself

I'm in denial. Hope Solo was voted off Dancing with the Stars. She and Maksim were ROBBED by the judges. The Argentine Tango is a perfect framework for the two strong and combative personalities. Their performance was interesting, ambitious and fun to watch.  Nevertheless, Solo and Maksim were given quite low scores. (Their Paso Doble was awesome from a head-banger's perspective but perhaps not so ballroom. Their Cha Cha was OK, but in the "relay" format you can really see the qualitative difference between Martinez, Lake and the rest (how Kardashian won that segment is beyond my understanding). Anyway, here's the Tango:

Bravo to Solo for bringing it.

This seems like a good moment to survey performances by a few other footballers. For example, Robbie Savage is on this season's Strictly Come Dancing

That performance needs no comment from me. Bless him.

Diligent readers of FaLW will know that I'm a fan of Baichung Bhutia, who won India's Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa in 2009. Bhutia played for Kolkata clubs Mohun Bagan and East Bengal - two of the most stories clubs in Asia. His career has largely been built around long-term ambitions for soccer in India, and he is one of the founders of the country's first player's union. Without a doubt, he participated in India's version of Dancing with the Stars in order to raise awareness of Indian soccer. Nevertheless, Mohun Bagan questioned his commitment to the sport when his succesful run on the dance show caused him to miss a practice and exhibition match. The club took a ridiculous, short-sighted stand and Bhutia left them for East Bengal.

He retired from play this year, but owns United Sikkim and is a key figure for the future of the sport in Asia. Bhutia's the kind of person many of us would love to see head FIFA. The guy has a soul. And that shows in all of his performances. (Jhalak Dikkhla Jaa is fun to watch because the dances are hybrids - part ballroom, part Bollywood. They are very theatrical and often quite athletic.) 

The most fascinating turn in this genre comes from Italy's Ballando con le Stelle. God himself appeared on its dance floor in 2005. He withdrew from the show after four weeks - he'd been flying back and forth between Buenos Aires and Italy, shortly after undergoing surgery to control his weight problems. Around this time, however, Italian tax authorities tried to collect his earnings from the program, in order to cover debt dating back to his days as a player. I'm grateful for the three weeks he gave us - everytime I watch this, my brain goes: "No, is that" And then it short circuits.

If you need more after that, I recommend Bleacher Report's survey of footballers who should be on DWTS. Given that this Bleacher Report researcher confined herself to the men's game, she missed one, most obvious candidate. For of all the dancing footballers surveyed by Bleacher Report, none actually incorporate dance into their play. For them, it's a post-goal scoring celebration. For Marta Vieira da Silva, the samba is a cruel taunt embedded into play - an announcement of her opponent's imminent humiliation (see, especially the move that starts around min 3:35):

Hope Solo would be the first to observe, however, that had she been in goal in 2007, Marta would have had much less to Samba about.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

More Notes on a Scandal: Cultures of Compliance (the Penn State/Berkeley comparison)

The other week, my university's Chancellor sent out a message encouraging people to respect each other's differences - be they cultural, political, religious, academic, etc. 
It's the kind of thing administrators generate to look like they are doing the right thing. It's also the kind of thing that makes 'doing the right thing' look easy. As if difference - being different, feeling differently, living differently - was reducible to a matter of taste. The actual aim of that message was to discourage students from raising their voices. The memo's central purpose, in other words, is to minimize conflict.
That same week, at Berkeley, campus police wedged their batons into student bellies. Some show of respect. 

Dave Zirin said something a lot of us were thinking when he contrasted Penn State students with Berkeley's - one set rioting at the firing of a coach who failed his community by burying accusations of child abuse, the other peacefully asserting their right to demonstrate in support of the #Occupy movement - and beaten by the campus police for doing so. (Penn State students also "rioted" at the announcement of Osama Bin Laden's death - so, this seems to be their default mode.)
Sneering at jarhead Penn State fans is a little too easy. It's close to the flipside of the knee-jerk, smug righteousness of the fans themselves - who decry the defilement of the abused in the same gesture they flip a news van and set it on fire. These things feel related to me - the macho posturing that wraps itself around the idea of protecting innocent children, coming from the last people one would actually trust to know what it means to support a healthy sexual culture.
In any case, both situations express a crisis in the integrity of university culture. And it does feel like this problem goes coast to coast. 
There is a growing gap between what students want from their universities and what those campuses are giving them. They want an education. They are being given lessons in compliance - comply with the corporate culture or get beaten for resisting it.
It's a miracle that California students haven't started burning down their schools. The entire system has been raped and pillaged by the selfish class. It's that simple. Administrations collaborate, making deals with the "1%" by selling bad debt - what is the difference between a shady mortgage on an overpriced home sold at the edge of a bubble, and dramatic rises in tuition that can only be paid with loans that will enslave students with outrageous "unsecured" debt for most of their adult, underemployed lives?
The brutal realities of this are perhaps nowhere more evident that in the Golden State, which once boasted the best public education system in the world, but now can't afford to give its students desks and textbooks. Tuition escalates beyond a working person's reach. Families lose their homes and kids are caught between paying for school, or helping mom and dad with the mortgage. Everybody is losing.
Students should occupy their campuses - they need to unite in their grief and outrage, and they'll find plenty of staff and faculty willing to pitch their tents alongside them. But it's their campus. We work for them.
Turning to Penn State: I can't fathom making a martyr out of Joe Paterno, and there's no crowd that makes me more uncomfortable, feel more "unsafe" than college football fans.
But: I can imagine being very suspicious of Penn State's public sacrifice of its father-figure.
The atmosphere at Penn State has been described to me as "cult-like." That intense attachment to the campus, secured through its football program and its symbolic Father, is what most universities are aiming for: Rather than build the campus up from the ground with good teaching, resources for research, support for student learning - they are trying to create a corporate brand, administrations want students to have not an education but an "experience."

The myth here is that this nostalgia for "the college experience" will fund public education. For a handful of colleges it might, but at what cost to them, and to the rest of the system?
University executives now want former students to look back on their education with uncritical nostalgia, with the same set of feelings they might have for their first pair of Nikes.
If I send a check to Rutgers, it isn't because I think back on my "college experience" and feel wistful. I think about how the education I received - which was pleasurable, challenging and sometimes soul-rattling - changed my life. Enabling that in the classroom is hard work. It isn't pretty. It is a hard sell.
The Penn State students who rioted clearly drank the campus Kool-Aid. But I can imagine being a student there, and seeing the big round of dismissals as a hollow gesture. Given how long this abuse is supposed to have gone on, given how many years people continued to work with and support Sandusky after they learned about the now infamous shower incident, who doesn't bear responsibility to the alleged victims here? Ushering these guys off the stage with the directive "don't talk about anything" doesn't feel satisfactory. But what would? Something is rotten in the system. 
But what system? How is it rotten?
As I wrote in an op-ed piece for The Guardian this week, it's more, and more complicated, than football and big-time sports.
I remember the sex scandal that rocked Princeton in the late 1980s, when a distinguished male professor in the English Department was accused of rape by a male graduate student. (See the NYT Magazine article, "Arms and the Man: A Sex Scandal Rocks Princeton.")
The story was awful - the professor's behavior before and after the incident was disturbing. Those who came forward were treated badly by the university. They were feminist, anti-racist and anti-homophobic scholars tired of the climate cultivated by the Princeton administration's passivity vis a vis discrimination and harassment. Confronted with a university that dealt with a credible rape accusation by offering the accused professor a golden parachute, four left - including Emory Elliott, a distinguished American Literature scholar who was my senior colleague at U.C. Riverside.
At my own campus, three women came forward in the 1990s and filed a complaint about systemic harassment and discrimination in the History Department. The pattern of behavior was jaw-dropping - ranging from overt discrimination against women faculty with children to a rape charge filed by a female student against a male professor. It was bad enough to become a scandal within the academy. (The story was reported in a May 1999 story for The Chronicle of Higher Education: "A History Department Implodes Over Sex-Bias Charges and a Suicide.")
The women who came forward on my campus paid a heavy price for doing the right thing. If that department is now a good place to work, we can thank those scholars. But even now, I see little sympathy from senior colleagues about the crap they went through and how that might have impacted not only their scholarship, but their relationship to the institution.
I recall these stories to point out something easily forgotten: academic administration contains more than a few atavistic holdovers from the days when universities were run by and for white men.
An English Department, a History Department will (hopefully) have been forced to work through this stuff by virtue of the integration of women and feminist scholars into their ranks - the Humanities are ahead of the ball on this point.
Athletic Departments like Penn State's are nursing fantasies of the gold old days when men were men and women knew their place, and nobody rocked to boat or talked about anything.  
The bizarre thing about this is that athletic departments are actually forced to confront the matter of gender equity much more directly than academic departments. It is (apparently) hard to force a Physics department to hire as many women as it does men - but it isn't hard to force a campus to at least try to offer equal opportunity to women athletes.
That should mean that there is a greater awareness in athletic departments about all the issues that come with sex/gender equity - but instead we see a national pattern of football programs especially endorsing rape culture, women's sports programs engaging in shitty forms of gender policing (Penn State was sued by a female basketball player who was harassed by her coach over her 'unfeminine' appearance), a total passivity about homophobic behavior towards male and female athletes, and a resistance to owning up to the responsibilities that campus administrations bear in letting this stuff go on, and on, and on.
As we bear witness to this national wave of sympathy for the victims and at the massive, totally justified outrage at the cover-up, let's entertain the following possibility:
If people felt half this sympathy for the women who've been raped by football players in the past forty years, or half the outrage regarding the systemic cover-up of those assaults - perhaps we wouldn't be in quite this situation. Perhaps the guys at Penn State would have been raised to do the right thing, even if that thing was really hard.
To circle back to my opening paragraph - If I'm uneasy about comparisons of the Penn State student riot with the Berkeley student protest, even as a study of contrasts, it's because campus administrators don't see a difference. They see both as crowds to be controlled, and send them both the same memo.

What we want on our campuses is an environment in which people can speak hard truths - truths with consequences. We want students to be able to express themselves when they are angry and confused. We want an environment in which people will at least be heard. Whether they utter their truth as a shout, or a whisper.

Penn State's manual for receiving reports of harassment (more notes on a scandal)

College campuses are obliged to have policies regarding sexual harassment/sex discrimination. These very broad overlapping categories include sexual assault and the systemic cover-up of abusive behavior within a department. These kinds of a matters are handled by Penn State's Affirmative Action Office. Each area of the university is also expected to have staff members trained in handling harassment complaints - including the Athletic Department. They are the college's front line - the people to whom staff and students are directed when they need help. The people who are supposed to tell you what to do, for example, if you see a guy raping someone in the showers.

As far as I can tell, Penn State's athletic department has two such staff members - a man and a woman whose names have not come up in reporting on the scandal (neither are part of the football program).  [That said, it's possible this particular system wasn't in place in 2002, when witnesses at Penn State reported Sandusky's behavior to their superiors - the Affirmative Action office was certainly in place, however, and identified as the office to which one reports such things.] No one in the football program followed the rule book on this one.

There is a reason institutions have offices for handling allegations of sex/gender harassment. Prejudice, shame and fear can be overwhelming in these cases. Victims find their experiences minimized, people who come forward expect retaliation. Charging a senior staff member with something like this is frightening. For many, coming forward feels like you are putting your personal and professional lives on the line. So - to acknowledge the specific difficulty of this whole category of experience, campuses have offices which specifically handle sex/gender harassment in all its forms.

Unfortunately, lots of university employees sneer at that office - at my own campus, I've heard it described as "a joke" and worse by a senior male colleague, in a university meeting (not in my department). Such attitudes abound - and the more masculnist and patriarchal the organization, the worse these attitudes will be.

People working in such spaces - sexist, homophobic and more - are ill equipped to handle their own feelings about child abuse - never mind child abuse enacted by a straight man (with whom they've worked closely) on young boys.

Penn State's football program has cult-like status - clearly no one wanted to acknowledge to themselves that such a man might actually fit right into the fold. What does that mean? What does that say? I can imagine everyone in that community feels shamed by this.

There is a community of people at Penn State to whom they might turn: feminist and LGBIT scholars and staff members who work regularly with subjects like sexual abuse - with the architectures of shame that make coming forward as a victim feel, for many, life-threatening. But it's naive to think the Penn State football program would be interested in turning to its feminist colleagues for help.

I'm really interested in knowing why the Penn State staff trained in handling these matters were kept so far from it all. (Am I right on this?) The only reason I can imagine for not going to the affirmative action office is that even those reporting what they saw and heard didn't want it to get out - they wanted to "keep it in the family." As is the case with many abusive scenarios.

It's probable that the university administration tried to use the non-student status of the victims to rationalize its decisions. Though all administrators have the training (and common sense) to know better, in this case, they may have wanted to believe it wasn't their responsibility - their sole responsibility in their minds may have been to students and staff - or, more nearly, to the institution itself (by which I mean Penn State football). Again, this is conjecture.

SO, here it is - an excerpt from Penn State's manual for "Recognizing and Responding to Sexual Harassment" - an overview of the things that didn't happen.

A. Concerns of Complainants
• Many complainants may show hesitation or even fear about coming forward with concerns or complaints of sexual harassment.
• A complainant may need to be assured that she/he will be treated fairly and protected from retaliation.
• Complainants are often concerned about who will learn about the details of their experience.
• Assure the person that only those people that “need to know” to resolve the issues will be informed.
• In cases of sexual assault, stalking or other forms of criminal sexual conduct, inform the
person of their option to file a report with the police, then contact AAO (the Affirmative Action Office).

B. The Initial Interview
• Have a copy of the policy, brochure, and other appropriate information available. Provide copies to the complainant.
• Listen and take the complaint seriously.
• Avoid making judgment and remain neutral and supportive.
• Determine if the harassment has stopped.
• Help the person regain a sense of control by explaining the process and what happens next.
• Determine if the complainant and others are at immediate risk.
• Take factual notes during the conversation for accuracy of recall.

C. What to Say When Receiving a Complaint
• Explain briefly the University’s Policy AD41.
• Indicate that the University takes complaints of sexual harassment very seriously.
• Advise that the University will take prompt action.
• Communicate that although complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, the facts will be protected as much as possible including, when possible, the identity of the complainant.
• Explain that the University will protect a complainant in every possible way, including protection against retaliation for filing a complaint or participating in a complaint.
• Explain that your role is to make sure the complainant knows and understands all available options and to help explore these options.
• Stress that the complainant may also go directly to the Affirmative Action Office for consultation and advice.
• Ask what happened.

D. Information to Secure from Complainant
Ask the person reporting the behavior or making a complaint the following:
• What was (or is) the offensive behavior?
• Where did the behavior occur?
• Who is the person doing the offensive behavior? Obtain name, employment status, phone number and description of the person complained about.
• When and where did the behavior occur? Obtain this information for each instance of offensive behavior.
• Who else was present that witnessed the behavior? Obtain name and phone numbers.
• Were there any others who have had the same or similar offensive behavior directed at them?
• Did the complainant tell anyone else about what happened?
• How long has this been going on? Did the complainant keep a journal or notes about what happened?
• Did the complainant indicate that the behavior was unwelcome? If yes, what was that person’s reaction to what the complainant said or did?
• What was the effect of the behavior on the complainant?
• What does the complainant want as the outcome?

E. During the Initial Interview
• Ask only open ended questions - “why” questions put people on the defensive.
• Remain neutral - voicing opinions or reaching conclusions prematurely is inappropriate.
• Don’t make promises or guarantee any particular results.
• Don’t ask leading questions or multiple-choice questions.
• Avoid making assumptions.
• Complete confidentiality can not be promised (you can not resolve the complaint if you can not talk to anyone about it); indicate that only people with a “need to know” will be consulted.
• Don’t reveal information which would violate the privacy of the person accused (i.e. “this is not the first time I’ve heard a complaint about this person.”)
• Summarize what the person has told you.
• Make sure that the person knows she or he will be kept informed.
• Explain the next step. Ask for complainant’s contact information.
• Indicate that she/he can call you to provide additional information or for an update.
• If the issue does not appear to be sexual harassment, refer the person to the appropriate resources.
• Complete your notes, keeping them factual.


A. Review the Information Received

Call the Affirmative Action Office for advice and assistance after gathering the preliminary information and before conducting further interviews, if possible. Consider the following:

• Do you need to take immediate action?
• Is the person potentially in physical danger?
- Has the complainant expressed fear or concern about ongoing behavior?
- Do the parties need to be separated while an investigation is conducted?
• Is the person’s employment or education status in jeopardy due to the situation?
• Who needs to be involved to resolve the situation?

B. Follow-up with Complainant - Explain/Discuss Appropriate Options

Discuss strategies the complainant might want to use in responding to a sexual harassment situation.
It may be helpful for the victim to inform the harasser directly that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. However, this is not required and in some circumstances it is not the appropriate approach.

• Describe direct action the person can take:
- Let the offender know that their behavior is unwelcome and it must stop
- Verbally
- In writing - by sending an email or a letter by certified mail to the harasser.
(See more information and sample letters at the end of this booklet)

• Describe informal actions the institution can take:
- Have conversation with the alleged harasser to discuss the behavior and review the Policy.
- Send administrative letter addressing adherence to the Policy to unit/office.
- Provide an educational program on sexual harassment prevention to the unit.
- Place a copy of the University policy in offender’s mailbox.
- Suggest other types of assistance.

• Describe formal actions the institution can take:
- Administrator or supervisor speak with alleged harasser about the behavior and
require that behavior stop.
- Refer to the Affirmative Action Office.
- Conduct a formal investigation that could possibly result in appropriate disciplinary action.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Reflections on Penn State: A Brief Look Back, to Colorado

As we read one editorial after another expressing outrage at Penn State's failure to respond to complaints regarding Sandusky, and try to wrap our minds around the consequences of this "scandal," we should step back and remember that U.S. universities have a long history of failing victims of sexual assault. That was the general point of an editorial I wrote for The Guardian yesterday. I thought I'd follow that editorial up with some more focused "unpacking" of the issues that this story raises.

My first impulse regarding the Penn State story is to look back at that long-problematic football program - The University of Colorado, Boulder - and the legal precedents it created via its "deliberate indifference" to the behavior of its players.

The University of Colorado football program has spent the past two decades up to its neck in trouble - so many women have accused its football players of rape that it became hard not to think of the program as the living embodiment of a "rape culture."

In 2007, the university settled a complaint filed by two students who were raped by football players. The students had been encouraged to invite four players over one evening. 20 players and recruits turned up - they raped both women, and a third later that evening. Other women also reported being harassed at the same party.

The students chose not to file a complaint within the university. Instead, they filed a federal lawsuit against the campus. (Given how poorly such complaints are handled, one can hardly blame them.)

The complaint argued that the players had been told to expect sex; that the football program knew that sending the players to their apartment might put those women at risk. They accused the university of deliberate indifference to the environment of harassment and sexual abuse they created through their football program.

That case was initially dismissed because the students did not use the university's procedures for filing Title IX complaints. The students appealed the district court's decision. The court of appeals reinstated the case.

In its decision reinstating the lawsuit, the court found that there was evidence that the football program had a policy of showing recruits a 'good time,' that the sexual assaults happened because the campus failed to supervise its players and the recruits they were entertaining, and that it was reasonable to expect that such misconduct would result from these conditions - in failing to supervise its players, the administration showed "deliberate indifference" to the problem. For that reason, the women could press their case. The National Council of Higher Education Risk Management describes the results economically:
By the time of the assaults on Ms. Simpson, Ms. Gilmore, and others, the CU football coach had general knowledge of the serious risk of sexual assault during college football recruiting efforts and that the need for more or different training of players and hosts was so obvious that the failure to respond was clearly “deliberate indifference” to the need. The court found:
1. The head football coach had general knowledge of the serious risk of sexual harassment and assault during college football recruiting visits;
2. The coach knew that sexual assaults had occurred during prior recruiting visits;
3. Even with this knowledge, the coach continued to maintain an unsupervised player‐host recruiting program designed to show recruits “a good time”; and
4. The head football coach was aware of prior incidents of sexual assault both because of incidents reported to him as well as the fact that he refused to work toward changing the culture regarding recruiting visits. 
Thanks to these bravery of these two students - who made their case not only about the individuals who raped them, but the institution which basically facilitated the assaults - we have this legal standard of "deliberate indifference" by which a campus can be held responsible for its passivity.

Next: The Problem of the Compliant

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Picturing Hope Solo

Hope Solo survived her fifth week on Dancing with the Stars. I'm glad: she is a smart, outspoken athlete and the challenge of that program requires that she confront the different ways by which her image, as a woman, is regulated. I, for one, am glad she's willing to do so publicly.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, some USWNT fans hate the way DWTS treats Solo: Judges complained for weeks about how unfeminine her movements are, and every week they cite her physical strength as a weakness. I've explained why I don't think that is necessarily wrong. (It's a gendered performance, Solo seems uncomfortable in heels and also unsure of how one executes a routine without powering through it.)

It is worth pausing, however, to remember why fans of women's sports can get very defensive: we've been abused. We've been abused by the media blackout on women's sports, which is interrupted only occasionally by stories of exceptional victories (in lieu of regularly coverage of a season, for example) or by portraits of female monsters. So we flinch when we see the media turn its eye towards us. It's a conditioned reflex.

Add to that the paternalistic attitude with which administrators and even (sometimes especially) supporters of women's sports treat women athletes. Leagues have banned players for getting pregnant out of wedlock (imagine doing that to men! in this case, the athlete filed a suit so she could play,  she won but the controversy ended her promising career); fans tsk tsk when they see players off the court who pile on make up or wear a short skirt. National Federations compel athletes to grow long hair, and prefer that those women keep their opinions to themselves. (Look feminine! But not too much! Play hard! But not like a boy! Or too much like a girl!)

Most of us don't know where to start when talking about the image of the female athlete, because every step seems to take us in a bad direction. So when in 2009 ESPN Magazinefirst produced "The Body Issue," featuring portraits of naked men and women athletes, fans of women's sports started sharpening their knives.

It turns out that a lot of the portraits directly challenge conventions regarding the feminization and sexualization of the female athlete - this is particularly true for the image of Solo used as one of the magazine's covers.

Practical matters make photographing nude women tougher than photographing men: Women are obliged to pose in ways that covers their chests. This means that the poses are more static and defensive. Solo's cover photo is an exception. The pose reveals much about her body while also refusing, aggressively, to capitulate to conventions regarding the female nude. She is in motion, moving forward toward the viewer - her curves (and she does have them) are not hidden so much as engaged, put to work.

I think this must by why a Washington Post writer recently described Solo as androgynous. Hope Solo is as far from being androgynous as one can be: When you look at Solo, you do not wonder if she's a boy. Not even close. If she were androgynous, she couldn't have played the broad shouldered, big haired 80s Bon Jovi bitch so perfectly on this week's episode. (She landed in 4th, her best finish to date.)

But the photographs of Solo treat her body in a way that is very close to gender-neutral. It's not Solo that's androgynous, but the composition of the portraits - it's the way she is being looked at. It the way she is not being looked at.

"The Body Issue" gives us a lot to think about. Those portraits are cool, but when you look at the rest of the issue you'll see a TOTAL absence of coverage of women's sports. The only place women figure in this issue is in the nude portraits. So, the project of "The Body Issue" seems to be completely independent of any effort on the magazine's part to move towards parity in terms of its coverage. The truly sad fact is that the editors of the magazine probably think putting that wonderful portrait of Solo on the cover "counts" as coverage of women's sports. Not in my book. And, I suspect, not in Solo's either.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lament for the Injured, Pt. 2

Riyas Komu, from exhibit "Safe to Fight" (Azad Art Gallery, Tehran, 2010)
Fear of ACL injury has replaced fear of intimacy as my number one issue. Plenty of people come back from an ACL tear and still play in leagues and pick-up games. But plenty also leave the sport forever.

If I turn a cold eye on my fear, I see that I am less afraid of never playing soccer than I am of the rehabilitation that it would take to go from a torn ACL to playing again. It isn't the tear that scares me, but being off my feet, not being able to run - sinking into depression and giving up. Not having the emotional strength and discipline to take on something like that.

I called my HMO the morning after my injury and pushed to see someone that day - I was clear: "I am afraid I tore my ACL." I was determined confront my fear - or rather, I should say, my knee insisted.

I said the magic word to describe my pain ("acute") and soon gained entry to orthopedics (I had asked for Sports Medicine, but was re-routed). I am not a difficult patient, but I have something to say about what's going on with my body. Unfortunately, this doesn't always make one's journey as a patient smoother.

A detour through past medical trauma

In 1984, I was hospitalized for eight days. A couple days before I found myself in an ambulance, I had gone to the student health clinic at Rutgers College because I was afraid I had a kidney infection.

A good friend of mine became deathly ill from this when we were first-year students. I knew the symptoms, and mine were identical to hers.

An affable young male doctor saw me. He didn't seem to take my concerns seriously. I had constant, deep pain in my lower back - off to one side exactly where the kidney is located. I had a low-grade fever, symptoms of a UTI, I was starting to feel like I had a flu or something. I could feel that this back pain wasn't muscular - it was deep, and constant.

He asked if I lifted heavy things - maybe I sprained my back. I worked in a kitchen and lifted heavy things all the time - but didn't recall hurting myself. "And how would that explain the fever, anyway?" I asked.

He told me to take extra-strength Tylenol. I said I wanted to be sure I didn't have a kidney infection. Would he please run a test? Could I please pee in a cup so we could just be sure - I was really concerned because kidney infections are really serious, and if you get to the point were you need to be hospitalized, the recovery is slow. As a working student, I couldn't afford to be out of commission for a month. I peed in a cup and went home. I took the Tylenol and felt better, but the symptoms kept returning as the pills wore off.

The next day I called the clinic to ask about the test results - they said: "The test came back negative." I bought nice food for myself because I hadn't eaten a decent meal in days. I took more Tylenol - I ate cheese and crackers, some fruit, and went to bed.

That night I was violently ill. There was a reason I had no appetite: my body couldn't handle food. I soaked the sheets with sweat. My fever kept climbing, dipping, and climbing again. By the morning I couldn't keep down water. It was the last week of the semester, and I couldn't imagine not going to my feminist political theory seminar. Being young and delirious, I went to class.

I sat on the floor in the hallway with the other students and waited for the professor. My classmates (an intense collection of college activists) insisted I go directly to the nearest university health clinic (attached to the women's college, different from the one I used). I must have been a sight - gray and sweaty. Having trouble staying vertical, and having little will of my own by this point, I went. It was about three blocks away, and I remember walking there being really hard.

I more or less collapsed when I walked in the door. My fever was 104. I remember telling the staff taht I'd been to the other clinic about fearing I had a kidney infection, and that this clinic said I was fine. The doctor on duty at the women's college clinic was soon yelling into the telephone, swearing. She shouted "You did what?!" and said "What fucking assholes," or something like that when she hung up. She then ranted to her colleagues.

I later learned that the doctor I'd seen (a resident) had decided that I w as trying to manipulate him into giving me a pregnancy test, on the assumption that I was too ashamed to ask for one. So, when I called about my test results, I had gotten the result of a pregnancy test I had not asked for.  This is bad enough. But when I went to that first clinic, I had told the resident who treated me that I had my period.

The picture I should have presented to that doctor was that of an articulate young woman, who was quite frank about what was going on with her body, and who was worried that she had a kidney infection. The doctor, I guess, saw me as a dumb slut trying to manipulate him. I don't think that's too harsh a way of reading his actions.

As I was being rushed off to the hospital in an ambulance, as the school worked on locating my family, I was far too sick to care.

I only learned the full story about what happened from a nurse, just before I graduated, when for some reason I had to go back that clinic. She saw my name and pulled me into an office to give me the full breakdown on what had happened. (Until then, I thought it had been a lab error, or something like that.)

The residency program at Rutgers was overhauled as a direct result of this incident: residents were not allowed to see especially women patients without supervision. If that nurse hadn't told me what happened, I'd never have known why what happened to me happened, or that the university had cared enough to prevent it from happening again.

The whole experience left me with one rule: Never let a resident talk to you without a doctor in the room. Never trust a doctor to really understand what you are saying about your body - they have their own feelings about the body you are in, and you can't control that. You have to help them see where those feelings interfere with their ability to see and hear you, just as they are there to do the same for you.

The only branch of medicine where I've found this to be less true - where careful listening to the patient is pretty much a base-line from which the doctor works, is, as it happens, Sports Medicine.

Sadly, that wasn't where I found myself the morning after I heard that tearing sound from my right knee. I was at Orthopedics. In a room with a resident.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Flat footed Solo!

I would love to know how often DWTS women are allowed to wear flats.

Solo was much lighter on her feet. In fact, she seemed to enjoy the performance - she was playful. The team is moving up the ranks even as the competition gets tougher.

Note that rehearsal footage shows Solo in heels. Someone made a decision. I feel heard.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lament for the Injured, Pt. 1

Yrsa Roca Fannberg, The Death of a Former Giant (watercolor on paper, 2009)

For most of my life, I've had very specific flying dreams. My sleeping self unlocks gravity with a perfect physical coordination. I'll be running, or dancing, and then somehow both at once - suddenly I feel weightless. The struggle is not how to leave the ground, but how to find it again.
The nightmare version of this: I am running, and I feel something pull my feet out from underneath me - I fall down while my feet are being pulled backwards, and wake just before my face hits the dirt.
My athletic unconscious orbits around the scene of physical freedom - its gift, its loss, its recovery.
Last spring, I played a game with that dream-like weightlessness. There was no will, no thought - just the pure physical expression of intention.
I scored, assisted, played great defense. My body knew where the ball was, all the time. I played out of my socks, and felt, for the first time, that I knew what that phrase meant.
I loved every second of that night - months later, I can recall the game in flashes, a residual sense of a perfect (for me) economy of movement.
But the morning after, I woke up with a swollen knee - I don't remember hurting it. This was not something I'd seen before. I did the things athletes do, wrapping, icing, etc. I stayed away from the field for a few while. After three or four weeks I was back in the game - but it didn't feel right. More months off the field - a glorious summer devoted to cross-country running - and my legs felt great. Then I tried playing.
My first week back, my knee felt wrong. Easing into a game, I took up a defensive position in relation to player attacking down the right wing - he faked this way and that. I tried to go with him as he cut to my left. As I pushed off with my right foot - nothing unusual - I heard a crunch, and my knee immediately went funny.
This was a loud crunch - very different from the crackles that knee has made since I was in my 20s.
The knee didn't swell up immediately (one of the big indicators of a torn ACL), and I could put a bit of weight on it. But it hurt, and it felt so wrong - like I'd tangled up all the cords. 
A sense of dread washed over me.
Walking off the pitch was really tough. I hoped that I was being stoic. But, really, I was numb with dread.
In my heart of hearts I knew that my leg hadn't been normal in months: where my age has generally manifested itself as me needing more and more time to warm up in the game, here, it was showing in a different way.
Since that amazing night in May, my right leg would actually get worse as the game wore on. It would get weaker. My knee would be unpredictable. I couldn't tell where my right foot was when receiving a pass on the floor. My right leg below the knee would feel increasingly wooden over the course of a match. It wasn't tiredness, it was something completely different - something mechanical.
That night I stood on the sideline and watched the guys play for a while. This only made me feel more sad, more alone. 
I was staring at the field but I wasn't watching the game. I was trying to look like I wasn't totally freaked out. 
The guys in that game are my friends, but our friendship lives there, on that field: What is our connection to the people we play with, when we can't play with them anymore? Even those attachments which extend beyond the field are transformed by not being practiced on it. 
It is not easy to maintain a connection built in the game beyond your ability to play it. Making that transition is not much easier than it is to maintain the intimacy of lovers, once one has declared to the other: "Let's just be friends." I know this, if only for having played in different generations of games - Saturday morning collectives dissolve and then people you've known for a decade disappear from your life.
I limped to my car and went home.
Actually, I went to a neighbor's for ibuprofen and sobbed at her kitchen table.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hope Solo Makes Sexy Face

There is no getting around the subject of Hope Solo's song choice.  This week the contestants were supposed to dance to a song that meant something to them personally. She chose Enrique Iglesias's "Tonight," which she described the "team's song."

Really? Because, if true, that is AWESOME.

No wonder she made a (wonderfully) dorky 'sexy-face' through practically the whole number. It's the kind of face that any of us might pull under a disco ball, after a couple of shots of tequila and especially if the Ludacris version of that Enrique Iglesias tune was on deck.
Anyway, Solo looked fantastic. But the competition is really tough.

My fellow critics of the sexist industrial complex will unite in making their pleas to the judges: "Can you just stop telling her she isn't feminine enough, that she's too strong yadda yadda?"

Good luck with that. Dancing with the Stars is all about routine, routine. So I don't expect to see them depart from the script unless Solo wins the whole thing - in which case her victory will be all about her triumph over her own strength.

As my last post indicated, I'm less circumspect about the gender politics of Dancing With the Stars than I am about the gender politics of, well, just about everything else. DWTS is, to repeat myself, a drag show. So, I get interested in the technical information the judges share with us regarding what it takes to walk like a girl. Because shy of Ru Paul, the information the judges offer on this point is as good as you'll get.

Bruno Tonioli, for example, usefully observed that Solo needs to walk much more on the balls of her feet. As anyone who has really worn high heels knows, the heel itself doesn't carry you in a proper "walk." That's why your grandmother, who was probably forced to wear them to work, has crazy bunions - that joint was flexed, and her weight was shoved right into the heart of it. Anyway, landing on the balls of your feet rather than your heels is a tip right out of runway walking 101. 

Regarding Solo's performance: Solo doesn't lift from her center - the judges are right to observe that her walk is kindof heavy - there really is a big difference between how she moves and how the other women move.

Also - I noticed that the more successful women dancers do a lot of posing.

Chynna makes pretty lines out of herself. At the moment when she switches from moving away from her partner, to moving toward him, she strikes a pose, asserting "Look at me! I'm pretty!"
Hope Solo, at more more less the same point. Rather than strike a pose, she dives into the next move, thinking, no doubt, "I am SO going to nail this."
Chynna looks like she has a string pulling her body up from the floor. Her weight is more or less just on that right foot, but you can hardly tell.
Solo is doing a different dance, of course, one with a more carnal vibe. But her back is hunched, and you can see her weight is resting in her hip. More barroom than ballroom.
More ethereal posing from Chynna.
Hope Solo does not pose. Hope Solo is on this show because she likes to party dance. And, this week, the judges appreciated that. So did our friend Abby.

One of these days I will get back to soccer. I promise.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hope Solo, on her toes

Could they please just let her dance in flats? That's what I thought as I watched Hope Solo fight her way through a jive in high-heeled converse sneakers. Letting Solo dance in flats would make this whole Dancing With the Stars thing less anxiety provoking. Who isn't worried about her turning her ankle? Those joints are of national importance! 

I have been so preoccupied by her feet I've scarcely noticed this season's gender drama.

A few bloggers have already critiqued the big deal the program makes about Solo's strength and her struggle to get what reads as feminine grace into her movement. One judge couldn't help himself, and declared that Solo has "thighs that could crack a walnut." He basically called her a ball-breaker. Before we make a federal case of this, let's remember: This is Dancing with the Stars.

Everybody on that show is in drag. All contestants whose personae are at odds with ballroom comportment appear to be at sixes and sevens with their own bodies. This is especially true for certain kinds of athletes - those for whom appearing to float, for example, might go against everything they know about their bodies. Exit Metta (formerly known as Ron Artest).

Although this season features entertainment royalty transman Chaz Bono and the Queerest Eye for the Straight Guy Carson Kressley (whom we all hoped would be allowed to dance with a man), the most explicit gender panic has fallen on Hope Solo's magnificent shoulders.

Solo, stepping over her partner.
Much is made of Solo's musculature and power. There are lots of jokes about who is stronger, Solo or her sleek bear of a partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. He quite visibly thrills at being so near to a woman who can top him.  This was the explicit content of their last dance number, in which he basically plays her water-boy. The number opens with her shoving Maksim to the ground and then stepping over him with those high-heeled shoes.

Hope Solo must surely be up there with Anna Kournikova, now, as the woman guys would most like to lose to. Steve Nash, for example, is on board for the ride. 

EA knows that we like watching women beat men. They seem to know, in fact, that men like watching men be dominated by women. In very contained forums.

Dancing with the Stars is an interesting case, for although men and women compete directly against each other, that competition is mediated by their partners - and also by the fact that they are all competing as intensely unnatural, stylized versions of really specific embodiments of femininity and masculinity. It makes interesting television.

What makes Solo's presence interesting television is the fact that her physical power and ability allows for the pleasures of the spectacle of female domination to be played out with her dance partner in particular ways. Is this the week when Solo plays it like a Bond girl? Is this the week she elbows Maksim Chmerkovsky in the face? Or is this the week she does both?

Solo can move, she makes nice lines out of herself, and she is tireless. She partners well with Maksim: they both have a physical style, and it will be interesting to see how they explore their collaboration. Watching them dance, it is hard to see who leads. She seems to push him back - and I suspect their choreography will work best when they go with that tension. Even if they are awkward, they are a genuinely sexy couple precisely because they seem to be constantly negotiating who is leading whom.

Theatrical play with the idea of female domination is a staple of Dancing with the Stars choreography. Over and over again, a dance arcs from combat to submission, as one seduces the other. As the producers of the show make a big deal out of Solo's athleticism and physicality, they help create the script for her performance - a context for reading this pair's dynamic.

The judges help us to understand, too, that a successful performance of one's gendered role here is an intensely regulated physical performance.

People who play this particular game straight don't do well. This is especially true for the male dancers, who are always at risk of becoming little more than props. Chaz (son to Cher, the world's most famous Drag Queen) and Carson (pioneer gender coach) both know this, and thus have the sense of the showmanship required for the male dancer to be even visible when paired with a woman dressed like a trashy Tinkerbell.

An athlete like Solo will have such a different relation to her body than most of the women who appear on the program. Her movement is rooted in years of practice - it has a physical economy. How she knows where her center of gravity is, how she turns a foot, or claims the space around her - this is all developed through a body keyed to a purpose - that purpose being the opposite of feminine comportment. She is agile - a goalkeeper is usually the most athletic, most agile player on a team. But she is solid: she is not a bowl of cream, a cloud, a feather - to cite the language used by the judges to describe those dancers who successfully perform ballroom grace. But she will also understand her movement, her bearing as technical - the rehearsal footage is interesting, for the ways that she and Maksim talk to each other. (M: "What are you looking at, when you have your head down like that?" H:"The ball at my opponent's feet.")

I can roll with the gender drama played out around Solo. But I also can't help but wonder if what we are seeing is a general working-though of the nervousness people feel when confronted by a woman whose unnerving confidence is not anchored by her spectacular beauty.

I don't see Solo as compromising herself by playing with what she can do in this media format. I would rather the show play her strength and athleticism up than play it down.

Her appearance on Dancing with the Stars seems to be of a piece with a multi-platform attack on the public consciousness, in which USWNT players appear in contexts that embrace their athleticism - that, in fact, treat them as athletes without, however, losing sight of the interest-value that attends to almost all female athletes. By which I don't mean their femininity - but rather the way that the image of the female athletes surfaces gender itself as a thing.

Sports Center has been producing amusing ads around the USWNT. These bits play with soccer and gender drama. Take this video, in which a pre-haircut Abby Wambach responds to a hallway "dive."

Part of its humor is her cold indifference to his shouts of pain. He's the wuss here, and it's a woman who is calling him out on it. (Abby Wambach's importance to the team also means that the team can't be represented only by its more girlish players - much as the media would love to edit boyish players from the picture, they can't - and the public doesn't want them to.)

In another "This is Sports Center" spot, Solo and Alex Morgan play keepie-uppie with the Miami Dolphins mascot. Their vibe is ruined by anchor Stuart Scott, who plays the part of that guy:

The problem here is the man who thinks he can keep up with the women and the dolphin. Which is to say that gender isn't the main problem: it's the sense of authority that a sports anchor has in relation to the game - a sense of authority that he loses the minute he tries to enter into it. One can't help but wonder if he feels entitled to enter into this conversation because he underestimates the skill required by it. Gender might have something to do with that - not because the players are women, but because the sportscaster's sense of entitlement is rooted in little more than his masculinity. The joke, in other words, is on patriarchy. And there is a real pleasure to watching Scott participate in making that joke.

Gender enters into the story of Dancing with the Stars because the competition is only a few degrees shy of RuPaul's Drag Race: It is completely fair for the producers and the judges to underscore the ways in which various performers struggle to channel the light footed nobility of Fred Astaire and easy grace of Ginger Rogers, and to use a language of masculinity and femininity in offering their critiques.

It would be nice, however, if dancers had the option of playing their part in a cute pair of ballet slippers.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Heads Up Academics - Call for Papers: The Athletic Issue

Call for Proposals, Special Issue of GLQ: The Athletic Issue

Jennifer Locke, Black/White (2009) 
This issue aims to collate interdisciplinary queer scholarship on sports and physical culture. This work should engage major issues in contemporary criticism – e.g. discourse on nationalism, autonomy and escape; neoliberalism esp. in relation to global economic and media flows; new media/art practices, creative and activist.

We are interested in topics like the following:

*The complicated legacy of the US’s Title IX (which impacts both sports studies and the gendered space of the academy more broadly)
*Discourses of race/sex/gender provoked by the public figure of the athlete
*The dizzying array of systems that manage the obvious homoerotics of sports culture (for good and ill)
*Transgender matters in sports/physical culture
*Disruptions of gender segregation, intersexuality and the athletic body
*Movement-based scholarship attending to sex/gender in relation to sport/physical culture
*Situated analysis of queer sporting communities
*Studies that speak to anti-homophobic activism in sports
*The athletic as a domain of queer performance

Also welcome are essays that center on athletes and athletic performances themselves.

These suggestions are meant to indicate the general scope of this special issue, and should not be taken as describing the limit of our interests. The aim of this issue is to explore how queer criticism expands our sense of what "sports studies" might be.

Authors should send two-page proposals (single space is OK) to Jennifer Doyle, at before December 1, 2011. 

Completed essays should be no longer than 8,000 words (including notes). Essays solicited from proposals will be submitted to peer-review.
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