Gender Symp.: "'Float like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee': Muhammad Ali's Choreography of Black Masculinity"
Fri, May 3, 2013 • 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM • GAR 1.102
The Department of History's Graduate Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality presents:
"'Float like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee': Muhammad Ali's Choreography of Black Masculinity"
A talk by Dr. Frank Guridy, Associate Professor of History and Director of the John L. Warfield Center for African and African-American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
This paper historicizes the 1966 Ali-Williams fight in order to show how sport studies can enhance our efforts to historicize gender, race, and sexuality. An analysis of Ali's performance in the boxing ring highlights an articulation of a fluid black masculinity that emerged during the 1960s and 70s. Indeed it was the fight against Williams when he first unveiled his “Ali Shuffle,” a quick combination of back and forth steps that were designed to distract his opponent from a barrage of oncoming punches. I argue that Ali’s performance reveals a black (brown?) performing body that resists not only white fears of a dangerous Black masculinity, but also articulations of emerging patriarchal Black Nationalist discourses that emerged in this period.
The Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality has been a fixture in Department of History since 2001, offering a forum for graduate students and faculty to present papers and works-in-progress for discussion in a relaxed and collegial atmosphere.