Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


History (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Donald Spivey

Second Committee Member

Robin Bachin

Third Committee Member

Kate Ramsey

Fourth Committee Member

Marvin P. Dawkins


In the postwar period, nations and territories used international sport to codify their ideal citizenries. For the United States and Jamaica, black women athletes complicated these efforts. This dissertation analyzes the ideological influence of black women track stars, examining how they destabilized dominant ideas about race, gender, sexuality, and national identity. The strivings and successes of American and Jamaican black women track athletes at international sporting events forced sport cultures in the United States and Jamaica continually to wrestle with the meaning of black women’s athleticism. Their struggles to fit black women athletes into their respective visions of their national athletic bodies reflected broader reconfigurations of the racial, gender, and sexual boundaries of citizenship unfolding in the United States due to the Cold War and civil rights movement and in Jamaica with the movement toward decolonization, federation, and independence. Ultimately, American and Jamaican sport cultures marshaled racialized gender expectations to contain the threat to the racial and gender order that black women track stars embodied, interpreting and re-interpreting their successes to bolster traditional hierarchies of race, gender, and sexuality.


women; sport; race; gender; citizenship; nationalism

Available for download on Saturday, May 30, 2020