In this episode, I talk to University of Minnesota Professor and Editor-In-Chief of TheSocietyPages Douglas Hartmann about his book Midnight Basketball: Race, Sports, and Neoliberal Social Policy. This conversation focuses on a 1990s crime initiative, known as midnight basketball, which aimed to curb crime by setting up late night basketball leagues in inner cities. While initially popular with democrats and republicans , including president George H. W. Bush, the program would eventually fall, being attacked by right-wing politicians and radio hosts alike, but it left behind a complex history with many implications for sports, race, and social policy today.

Today we are joined by Kathryn Henne. Kathryn is a Research Fellow at the Regulatory Institutions Network, a research center housed at the Australian National University and also a fellow of the Research School of Asia and the Pacific. Kathryn joins us to talk about her article “The ‘Science’ of Fair Play in Sport: Gender and the Politics of Testing”, which will appear in the forthcoming issue of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. We discuss the shifting models of sex testing used by the International Olympic Committee, efforts to enforce the male female binary, and assumptions about fair play and the natural body.

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In this episode, we talk with Holly Thorpe about her excellent book Snowboarding Bodies in Theory and Practice. We discuss the use of theory to study physical practice, the rapid growth of the sport, gender relations, marketing, the snowboarding body, and writing about sports for different audiences.

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This week we are joined by David J. Leonard, professor of Critical Culture, Gender, & Race Studies at Washington State University and author of After Artest: The NBA and the Assault on Blackness. We discuss the significance of Jason Collins’s article in Sports Illustrated announcing that he is gay, the media’s reaction to him coming out, and sport as a site key site for the performance of gender and sexuality.

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This week we talk with Joshua I. Newman and Michael Giardina about their recent book [Sport, Spectacle, and NASCAR Nation: Consumption and the Cultural Politics of Neoliberalism]. Our conversation covers topics including the whiteness of stock car racing, religion and rebellion at the race track, and the production and consumption of Southern identity. We also discuss the value of researching NASCAR, sports, and other popular culture activities.

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This episode, new Office Hours contributor David Phillippi interviews Francesco Duina about his book, Winning: Reflections on an American Obsession. Topics include competition in sports, raising children, and comparing America’s culture of competition with Denmark. What are we trying to gain by being so competitive? And are we getting it? Listen in to find out.

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This episode, we talk with the authors of two recent Contexts features on higher education. We speak to Michael Hout about his Winter 2009 “One Thing I Know” column (which you can read online in its entirety here), and then William Beaver tells us about his article, A Matter of Degrees, from our Spring 2009 issue.

Kristin Haltinner drops by again to share a discovery about women rugby players.

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What happens to those exonerated of crimes they didn’t commit? Do they receive multi-million dollar settlements and go back to their normal lives as popular TV shows suggest? Unfortunately, most exonerees do not fare so well. In this episode, we talk with Saundra D. Westervelt and Kimberly J. Cook about their article, Coping with Innocence After Death Row, from our Fall 2008 issue.

Contexts grad board member John Sullivan also stops by to share not just one, but two discoveries about soccer hooligans.

Download episode #8 now!