I have had an article published in the journal Fashion, Style & Popular Culture with co-author Rita Liberti, professor of kinesiology at California State University – East Bay. The article, “‘All Frocked Up in Purple’: Rosie Casals, Virginia Slims, and the Politics of Fashion at Wimbledon, 1972,” chronicles the disruption between Wimbledon’s “all-white” clothing rule and Casals’ support of the emerging women’s tennis tour, which was sponsored by Philip Morris as an advertising venue for their Virginia Slims. Casals’ ensemble and the reaction by officials and those in the media symbolized far more than a perceived fashion faux pas by the tennis star. Rather, Casals’ attire and public reaction to it threw into sharp relief debates around equal rights and female independence that raged throughout society during the late 1960s and 1970s. Importantly, the discussions and tensions in relation to Casals’ tennis outfit did not simply mirror these broader conversations, they contributed greatly to them. The dress, like Casals, challenged rules of conduct on the court – and social convention off the court. The attire was, for her, a form of self-expression, which personified a style she was eager to portray to a public not necessarily keen on its exhibition. I am especially proud of this publication because Casals was my coach throughout my pro tennis career.
My book, Social Activism in Women’s Tennis: Generations of Politics and Cultural Change, based largely on my dissertation, is under contract with Routledge. Routledge expects delivery of this manuscript in April 2019, with publication afterwards. The book chronicles the lineage of social activism in women’s professional tennis from 1968, when tennis became “open,” to the present. Though the main message of women’s sporting equality has remained the same since 1968, the lineage of social activism in women’s tennis has distinguishable cohorts as women’s tennis gained strength, outside politics changed, and new players entered the space of women’s tennis and others left. Players from previous generations inculcated new players to the culture and politics of women’s tennis at the same time that these new players brought with them new frameworks for understanding the world around them. I am very much looking forward to working with Routledge on this project!
I recently had the pleasure of conducting a workshop on intersectionality and Black feminist epistemology for the researchers of the NSF IUSE Grant, “Centering Women of Color in STEM: Identifying and Scaling Up What Helps Women of Color Thrive.” After I presented on the topics, we worked on ways that intersectionality can be used while they are conducting research and when they are analyzing their data. The principal investigators who invited me to conduct this workshop are Angela Johnson and Apriel Hodari.
I have had a chapter published in The Palgrave Handbook of Feminism and Sport, Leisure and Physical Education (2018), edited by Louise Mansfield, Jayne Caudwell, Belinda Wheaton, and Beccy Watson. The book chapter, “Judith Butler, Feminism, and the Sociology of Sport,” chronicles the ways in which Butler’s theories of gender performativity have influenced and been used in sociological scholarship on women and LGBT athletes and sport participation.
After teaching exclusively for the Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program at St. Mary’s College of Maryland last year, this year I am branching out across campus. During the fall term, I am teaching “Introduction to Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies” for the third consecutive term, and also “The Female Athlete” as part of the collection of core courses that incoming freshman are required to take. In the spring, I will be teaching “Sport and Social Activism” for the African and African Diaspora Studies Program. This class will be tied to intersectionality so that we can view the linkages between, say, the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match and NFL players taking a knee to protest social inequality. Last year, I had the opportunity to build the “Introduction to Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies” course as well as create a course on “Black Feminisms.”
President Tuajuanda Jordan organized a reception for first-generation college students at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Its purpose was for students to get to know faculty members who were first-generation college students. The event was a huge success for students and faculty! Many faculty were surprised to find out that other faculty members had been first-generation college students. I am greatly looking forward to the next reception.