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Alan Tully, Chair 128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104 Austin, TX 78712-1739 • 512-471-3261

Spring 2005

HIS 350L • History of Black Entreprn in US-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
37300 T
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
MEZ 1.122
Walker

Course Description

This course will examine the phenomenon of the superstar black athlete as entrepreneurs in post-Civil Rights America within the context of African American Business history, race, and global capitalism. The course also considers the parallels between the rise of a "global capitalist system," built first on profits from the trans-Atlantic slave trade, then, from the profits generated from the international sale of the agricultural commodities produced by slave labor in the United States and, now, within the world of international sports, we have the continued development of profits generated by the physical labor of blacks. In the post-Civil Rights era, the commodification is expressed through the physical prowess of black athletes. Still, there is a difference. Slaves did not profit from their labor, as compared to the superstar black athletes. In both cases, however, neither the slave nor superstar athletes are involved as “players” in the massive profits generated through the present world financial arrangements of global capitalism. What does this say about race and the political economy that exists in America today that limits the full expression of economic freedom by African Americans? Do the myths and stereotypes that were used to justify the enslavement of people of African descent persist to justify the exclusion of blacks from those “arenas” that propel global capitalism? The emphasis in this course, then, is to critically examine and analyze the impact of a multiplicity of societal, cultural and economic factors in the post-modern information age, propelled by new technologies in the New Economy of Global Capitalism. Proceeding from an interdisciplinary perspective, the course considers both the financial successes of superstar black athletes as well as their emergence as cultural icons, contrasted with the comparatively overall poor performance of Black Business not only within the intersection of race, gender, class, but also within the context of transnationalism in the globalization sale of African American Culture in post-Civil Rights America. But who profits? Most important, why is it that business receipts for African Americans, who comprise almost thirteen percent of this nation’s population, amount in 1997 to only .4%, that is, less than one (1) percent of the nation’s total business receipts? In addition, why is it that among the various occupational categories in which blacks participate in the nation’s economy, especially as businesspeople, that black entertainers and sports figures are the highest paid? What does this say about race, class, gender and hegemonic masculinities in America at the turn of the new century?

For the seminar’s research project, students will develop case studies which will explore the business activities of superstar black athletes, such as Magic Johnson, contrasted, as an example, with a case study of Michael Jordan. The case studies will proceed from within the student’s interpretation of the impact of the forces of race, class and the commodification of black cultural expressions on their successes as well as their limitations in the Sports Industry. Also, in their case studies, students will include their perspectives on the rise of superstar black athlete entrepreneurs as an expansion of African American business activities within the context of the expansion of global capitalism. As a basis for a model case study, students will read two Harvard Business School Case Studies of a black entrepreneur in the entertainment industry and another of a franchise ownership by partners, one black, the other white. The case studies will be examined not only by the professor of the course, Dr. Juliet E. K. Walker and a professor in the McCombs business school, but also by invited superstar African American athletes, who will assess student’s case students from the perspective of the reality of their economic experience in the Sports Industry.

Texts

REQUIRED BOOKS Hoberman , John Milton, DARWIN'S ATHLETES: HOW SPORT HAS DAMAGED BLACK AMERICA AND PRESERVED THE MYTH OF RACE Lafeber, Walter MICHAEL JORDAN AND THE NEW GLOBAL CAPITALISM Miller, Patrick B. and David K. Wiggins, eds. SPORT AND THE COLOR LINE: BLACK ATHLETES AND RACE RELATIONS IN TWENTIETH CENTURY AMERICA Shropshire, Kenneth L and Kellen Winslow, IN BLACK AND WHITE: RACE AND SPORTS IN AMERICA Walker, Juliet E. K. , HISTORY OF BLACK BUSINESS IN AMERICA: CAPITALISM, RACE, ENTREPRENEURSHIP Westerbeek, Hans, SPORT BUSINESS IN THE GLOBAL MARKETPLACE Williams, Jayson and Steve Friedman, LOOSE BALLS : EASY MONEY, HARD FOULS, CHEAP LAUGHS & TRUE LOVE IN THE NBA HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL CASE STUDIES Linda A. Hill , et. Al., “Entertainment and Creative Partners,” Harvard Business School Case Study, 1995, Order Info below at: http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=494013 David A. Thomas , Deborah J. Evans, “Star Distributors, Inc. (A)” [Franchise, Black and White partners], Harvard Business School Case Study, 1995. Order info at http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=493015

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