The Center for Sport and Social Justice at Cal State East Bay has three special events scheduled for the Hayward campus between May 5 and May 8.
Larissa Mercado-Lopez, assistant professor of Women's Studies at Fresno State, will address the topic "Killer Curves: The Paradox and Politics of 'Fit' Latina Bodies" on Monday, May 5 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in room 311 of the Old University Union. Mercado-Lopez will discuss the ways in which focus on size, fitness, and health are complicated by the conflicting cultural and mainstream considerations about Latina bodies and identity, according to Rita Liberti, director of the Center for Sport and Social Justice and professor of kinesiology at CSUEB. Liberti noted that Mercado-Lopez will use feminist theory to examine how "fit" bodies are colonized in mainstream media and exclude the bodies of women of color. Through her investigation, Mercado-Lopez seeks to argue that, indeed, fitness is for every body.
"This topic, and others like it that explore the lived realities of women of color is an especially important topic, as research in sport studies and other fields has for far too long focused primarily on middle class white girls and women," Liberti said. "The work of Dr. Mercado-Lopez is very much needed, as it forces us to rethink the assumptions we make about bodies, fitness and physical activity.
Mercado-Lopez received her doctorate in English/Latina Literature from the University of Texas-San Antonio, where she completed her dissertation through a Ford fellowship. She is on the executive committee for the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa, and is a member of the editorial board for the scholarly journal, Chicana/Latina Studies.
On Thursday, May 8, Donna Duffy, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at University of North Carolina-Greensboro, will be at CSUEB to lead two different activities. The first, from noon to 1 p.m. in room 1203 of the AE building, will include a presentation of her research on reducing and preventing sexually violent language in an attempt to motivate athletes.
Then beginning at 4:30 p.m. in room 142 of the AE building, Duffy -- who also is director of the Program for the Advancement of Girls and Women in Physical Activity at the UNC-Greensboro -- will lead a one-hour workshop, that she created, for high school coaches, "Coaching Coaches: An Educational Workshop to Reduce and Prevent Sexually Violent Language in Coaching." For those who wish to attend, please RSVP to Rita Liberti at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"All too often in sport, the behaviors of coaches and their tactics used in motivating young athletes go unquestioned because we, as a society, believe those strategies are best in encouraging athletes to be stronger, faster, quicker, better," Liberti said. "What can quickly get lost is that sometimes language used by coaches can demean the athlete or others. Dr. Duffy's work is important because it supports more positive, constructive, and inclusive language in working with young people in sport and physical activity settings."
The Center for Sport and Social Justice began as a CSUEB center in the fall 2011. Since then it has hosted public lectures, panel discussions, workshops and films that address critical issues around sport and culture. All events are free and open to the public. More information about the center is available at http://www.csueastbay.edu/ceas/departments/kin/CSSJ/.
-- Barry Zepel