Theresa Runstedtler is Associate Professor of History and Critical Race, Gender, and Cultural Studies at American University. She is the author of Jack Johnson, Rebel Sojourner: Boxing in the Shadow of the Global Color Line (UC Press, 2012) and, this year, Black Ball: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Spencer Haywood, and the Generation That Saved the Soul of the NBA (Bold Type Books, 2023). She is also a former member of the Toronto Raptors Dance Pak and has worked in public relations for a national sports network.
On this episode, Dr. Runstedtler joins Johanna Mellis and Nathan Kalman-Lamb to explain the history of the NBA's 1970s and how an era of anti-racist athletic labor struggle came to be discursively distorted as a 'dark age' for the professional basketball league. This wide-ranging conversation also covers cultural studies as an epistemological and methodological framework for understanding sport, youth sport as a site of child labor, dance as sport/labor, and so much more.
You can find Dr. Runstedtler on Twitter @DrTRunstedtler.