Body Work – Körperpraxis und Selbstverhältnis afroamerikanischer Leichtathletinnen in den 1930er und 1940er Jahren
In the 1930s and 1940s an all-black team from the segregated rural South dominated American women’s track and field. Representing Tuskegee Institute (Alabama), a renowned historically black college, the female student-athletes captured multiple championship titles and trophies. Their sporting success story culminated in Alice Coachman’s performance at the 1948 Olympic Games when she became the first black woman to win a gold medal. The article decenters and deconstructs this impressive track record. In so doing, sport history is linked to the history of the body and the self. It therefore explores a multilayered regime of embodied work that was designed to regulate black female bodies to engender socially responsible selves. At the same time, it perceives bodily practices as techniques of the self and emphasizes the agency of black sportswomen. Analyzing a particular historical configuration the article shines a light on the nexus of modern sport and embodied subject formation.