Inspired by recent post series and roundtables at the African American Intellectual History Society blog, as well as the desire to integrate diverse voices and approaches to the community of sport historians, the Sport in American History blog is happy to announce a new series on the Life and Legacy of Muhammad Ali. The goal of this series of blog posts is to explore Muhammad Ali’s life from multiple perspectives.
One of the most written about athletes of all time, Ali was a global icon that transcended the world of sport. As Mike Marqusee wrote in his 2004 biography of Ali, he was “breathtaking in the ring and irresistibly seductive outside it.” In the days following his death on June 3, 2016, the media offered tributes, reflections, and brief sketches of his life. Yet, Ali was a complicated figure who went through many transformations. His life is difficult to distill into tidy narratives and tributes; it requires thoughtful examination from a variety of angles. This blog series calls for submissions that explore various aspects of Ali’s life and legacy/ies in hopes of piecing together a more nuanced understanding. The editors solicit original or synthetic posts that may be structured chronologically or thematically, but ultimately form narratives and analyses that build on each other to present offer an interdisciplinary and multidimensional view of Muhammad Ali in the past and the present.
Chronological posts may include discussions of Ali’s youth, amateur career, early professional career, heavyweight championship eras, exile from boxing, major rivalries, or his later career and post-boxing life. Thematic essays might discuss topics such as: religion, politics/activism, love, money, portrayal in film and television, relationship with Louisville, international image, or boxing and health concerns. This is not an exhaustive list and other topics are welcome. At the end of the series we would like to compile the posts with other works into a “Muhammad Ali Reading List” as a resource for students and sports fans to pursue a more holistic understanding of Ali.
Submitted posts should be 1,500 to 3,000 words and written for a general audience. Please include either hyperlinks or endnote citations. We will also accept “pitches” for related posts and media reviews. Posts will be reviewed by the editorial team and guest editor Andrew R.M. Smith. Please send questions and submissions to SportinAmericanHistory@gmail.com by November 1, 2016 for full consideration.