Beyond the Cheers

Race as Spectacle in College Sport

By C. Richard King & Charles Fruehling Springwood

Subjects: Ethnicity
Series: SUNY series on Sport, Culture, and Social Relations
Paperback : 9780791450062, 214 pages, May 2001
Hardcover : 9780791450055, 214 pages, June 2001

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Table of contents


1. Posting Up: Introductory Notes on Race, Sports, and Post-America

2. White Out: Erasures of Race in College Athletics

3 “Kill the Indians, Save the Chief”: Native American Mascots and Imperial Identities

4. Sammy Seminole, Jim Crow, and Osceola: Playing Indian and Racial Hierarchy at Florida State University

5. Body and Soul: Physicality, Disciplinarity, and the Overdetermination of Blackness

6. Of Rebels and Leprechauns: Longing, Passing, and the Stagings of Whiteness

7. Postcolonial Arenas: The Dis-Ease of Desire in America




From mascots to half-time shows to media coverage, Beyond the Cheers critically and honestly assesses the role of race in big time college sports.


Focusing on half-time performances, commercialized stagings, media coverage, public panics, and political protests, Beyond the Cheers offers an ethnography, history, and social critique of racial spectacles in college sport. King and Springwood argue that collegiate revenue producing sports are created as a spectacle, driven by a range of contradictory meanings and exploitative practices. While Native Americans are viewed largely as empty or distorted images and African Americans are seen as both shining stars and 'troubled delinquents,' White Americans remain constant as spectators, coaches, administrators, journalists, and athletes, producing and consuming college sport, performing and policing, but seemingly unmarked as racial subjects. In consuming these spectacles, American sports fans learn to embrace inflated, contradictory, and distorted renderings of racial difference and the history of race relations in America.

C. Richard King is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Drake University. He is the author of Colonial Discourses, Collective Memories, and the Exhibition of Native American Cultures and Histories in the Contemporary United States. Charles Fruehling Springwood is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Illinois Wesleyan University. He is the author of Cooperstown to Dyersville: A Geography of Baseball Nostalgia.


"...the first mature work focused on the cultural politics of intercollegiate athletics. In one fell swoop it takes the study of college sport onto an elevated plain." — David L. Andrews, The University of Memphis

"Crisp, accessible, and free of is hard to put down. The authors show how racist images and practices are embedded in the cultures of higher education, stitched into the cultures of specific campuses, and take on forms that interact with surrounding racial representations, racial groups, practices, and histories." — Norman K. Denzin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

"An important contribution to understanding the dynamic of race as it plays out in intercollegiate athletics and higher education. Extremely interesting." — Ellen J. Staurowsky, coauthor of College Athletes for Hire: The Evolution and Legacy of the NCAA's Amateur Myth