Sports, Society, and Technology Program

Georgia Tech, the School of History and Sociology, and the Ivan Allen Georgia Tech have recently launched a new program in Sports, Society, and Technology (SST). This initiative helps faculty and students to study sport in the contexts of historical and contemporary culture. Interdisciplinary studies and innovative teaching in SST will help students become leaders in the sport and health industries, higher education, and in our local and global communities. The program also houses the Sports, Society, and Technology Research Center.   

Declare the SST Minor

SST Course Offerings

Fall 2019 Courses

  • HTS 2015, History of Sports in America, Professor Johnny Smith TTH 9:30 am
  • HTS 3073, Sociology of Sports, Professor Mary McDonald TTH 9:30 am 
  • HTS 3075 Foundations of Sport Studies,  Professor Sarah Barnes TTH 12:00 pm
  • MSE 3300 Materials Science & Engineering, Professor Jud Ready MWF 12:20 

Former Georgia Tech Athletic Director and SST program support, Dr. Homer C. Rice will again teach HTS 3813 Fitness Leadership on Wednesdays from 4:30-7:15 pm. 


SST in the News

Professor Johnny Smith Wins "Best Article of 2018" from the Journal of Sport History 

The Journal of Sport History recognized Professor Johnny Smith's publication "'The Magnitude of Me': Reggie Jackson, Baseball, and the Seventies," as its Best Article of 2018 at the organization's annual meeting over the Memorial Day weekend. To read Dr. Smith's award-winning article, follow this link.


Professor Johnny Smith awarded the Geoffrey G. Eichholz Faculty Teaching Award 

Professor Johnny Smith recently won a teaching award


Professor Johnny Smith, the J.C. "Bud" Shaw Professor of Sports, Society, and Technology and Assistant Professor of History recently won the Geoffrey G. Eichholz Faculty Teaching Award. To learn more about this award and Professor Smith's teaching philosophy in the classroom, please follow this link: 

Former Georgia Tech Athletic Director featured in Black in Blue documentary: 

Plus read Dr. Johnny Smith's (the J.C. “Bud” Shaw Professor of Sports, Society, and Technology, and Assistant Professor of History) take on the significance of efforts to desegregate southern college football here. 

Mary G. McDonald Receives Service Award from North American Society for the Sociology of Sport

This past November, Mary G. McDonald (Homer Rice Chair and Director of the Sport, Society, and Technology program), was awarded the Service Excellence Award from the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS). As the 2018 recipient, McDonald was invited to deliver the Alan Ingham Memorial Lecture, a prestigious keynote at the annual meeting. McDonald used this opportunity to explore a variety of issues related to sport and current social struggles for equality and justice. In “Once more, with feeling: Sport, national anthems, and the collective power of affect,” McDonald traced the history of national anthems at sporting events and theorized two poignant examples: a multi-lingual version of the Canadian national anthem performed close to the conclusion of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and Colin Kapernick’s decision to kneel during the U.S. national anthem in protest of police brutality. For more information about McDonald’s award and her keynote address, please follow this link.     


Past SST Events

Documentary film screening and panel on Black in Blue   

UK football player Greg Page

    On Wednesday, January 23, the SST program hosted a documentary film screening and panel discussion. 

Fifty years ago, every athlete in sport at every school in the Southeastern Conference was white. That changed when then Assistant Kentucky Coach Homer Rice recruited Greg Page, who became the first African American ever signed to play football in the SEC. While Page died tragically in a football-related accident in the fall of 1967, Nate Northington trotted onto the field as a University of Kentucky varsity football player against Ole Miss. Since that time, tens of thousands of African Americans have followed Greg, Nate, and teammates Houston Hogg, and Wilbur Hackett, dramatically improving athletic competition....and life in the American South. This is the story told in a new film directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Paul Wagner and produced by former Kentucky quarterback Paul Karem. Follow this link to watch the Black in blue trailer. 


A panel followed the screening and featured: 

Paul Wagner, the filmmaker

Paul Karem, former University of Kentucky quarterback

Mel Page, brother of Greg Page, the first African-American signed to play football at Kentucky and in the SEC

Homer C. Rice, former Georgia Tech Athletic Director and form Kentucky Assistant Football Coach


"A Conversation with Wyomia Tyus"

Wtomia Tyus, back-to-back Olympic gold medalist

On September 16th, the SST program hosted a "Conversation with Wyomia Tyus" in front of a packed audience at Georgia Tech. Dr. Damion Thomas, a curator for the Smithsonian's National Museum on African American History and Culture, interviewed Ms.Tyus about her experiences of growing up in the Jim Crow South, her extraordinary athletic achievements, and her understandings of the continuing struggles for racial and gender justice in sport and society. Introductions and opening remarks were kindly provided by Bill Curry (former Georgia Tech Football Coach), Dr. Mary McDonald (Professor, Homer C. Rice Chair in Sports and Society, School of History and Sociology, Georgia Tech), and Dr. Jacqueline Jones Royster (Dean, Ivan Allen School of Liberal Arts, Georgia Tech). You can watch a video stream of the discussion here.
Tyus on podium

Critically Examining Sports' "Concussion Crises"



On March 9th, the Georgia Institute of Technology's Sports, Society, and Technology program sponsored an interdisciplinary workshop featuring scholars from across North America whose research critically examines the various intersections of sports and traumatic brain injuries. The presentations interrogated sports' "concussion crises" by drawing on socio-cultural perspectives and situating traumatic brain injuries in their broader social, political, and scientific contexts.

A summary of the Concussion Crises Workshop was featured on the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts Website.

For the workshop program, abstracts, and presenter bios, visit the Concussion Crises Workshop website.

Sports and the Black Freedom Struggle: The Legacy of 1968


On February 20th, Historians Johnny Smith (School of History and Sociology, Georgia Institute of Technology) and Ashley Brown (Department of History, University of Wisconsin, Madison) were part of a fascinating panel discussion about sports and the black freedom struggle. Moderated by Dr. Mary McDonald, the conversation offered opportunities to reflect upon the legacies of Black sporting activism including that of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, and Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ famous Black power salute during the playing of the national anthem at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico. This panel and the lively Q&A that followed shed light upon the diverse strategies utilized within the Civil Rights movement, but also provided an historical context to better understand U. S. Black athlete activism in the contemporary moment.

Olympic Pride, American Prejudice Screening and Panel

''The Sports, Society, and Technology (SST) Program hosted a screening of Olympic Pride, American Prejudice and a post-film panel on October 2, 2017 in the Student Center Theater on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Co-sponsors of the event included the Ivan Allen College (IAC) of Liberal Arts, the School of History and Sociology (HSOC), and the Black Feminist Think Tank.

Olympic Pride, American Prejudice explores the experiences of 18 African American Olympians who defied Jim Crow and Adolf Hitler to win hearts and medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. The documentary is the creation of Atlanta filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper—who also spoke on the post-film panel—and narrated and executive produced by Blair Underwood. John Dewberry, former Georgia Tech quarterback (1983-1985) who currently heads Dewberry Capital, is a patron of the documentary. He introduced Olympic Pride, American Prejudice to an appreciative standing room only audience of Georgia Tech students and Atlanta community members. Also attending the screening were several honored guests and Atlanta-based members of the production staff. These included: Michael A. Draper (Executive Producer); John and Jaime Dewberry (Patrons of Olympic Pride); Lacy Barnes (Line Producer); Cheryl Rogers (Composer) whose son Charlie Rogers is a Georgia Tech student; Tandi Reddick (Associate Producer). IAC Dean Jackie Royster and HSOC Chair Eric Schatzberg also attended the screening, as did Homer and Karen Rice. Homer Rice is a former athletic director (1980-1997) at Georgia Tech, a SST supporter, and IAC Dean’s Appreciation Award Recipient in 2016.

Filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper was joined on the post-film panel by Georgia Tech Professors Johnny Smith, the Julius C. "Bud" Shaw Professor of Sports, Society, and Technology (HSOC) and Greg Zinman (School of Literature, Media and Communication). Professor Mary McDonald, the Homer C. Rice Chair of Sports and Society, moderated the panel. More information is available about the Olympic Pride, American Pejudice Screening and Panel.


Photo Credits: L. Barnes (2017)