Sports, Society, and Technology Research Collective

The Sports, Society, and Technology (SST) Research Collective aims to create interest and increase visibility for the interdisciplinary study of sport at Georgia Tech.

The Research Collective sponsors research-oriented workshops and additionally supports and promotes Georgia Tech faculty research findings related to sports. Explore some of our recent projects below.

Recent SST Collective Projects

Sports and Sound Webinars and Website

Mary McDonald, Homer C. Rice Chair of Sports and Society, and USG Researcher Matt Ventresca led the Sports, Society, and Technology program to host two webinars around sports, sound, and the digital. 

The first webinar on April 5, 2024, titled “The Power of Sound and Sport," expanded understanding of how sound in its many forms can provide novel sites for interdisciplinary analysis of sports and the moving body while harnessing creative methods for multimedia knowledge-sharing and social activism. The webinar included speakers discussing their explorations into sound and sport across research, media, and artistic domains. Speakers were also asked questions about their experiences working within the sport/sound nexus and reflected on the scholarly and creative possibilities generated by the convergence of sounds and sports.

The second webinar on April 26, 2024, titled “Sounding Out: Works in Progress at the Sports/Sound Nexus,” served as a space for researchers, artists, and practitioners to share works in progress that explore the connections between sports and sound. The workshop featured two presentations and provided a forum for constructive and supportive discussion of works in progress while also serving as a space to build community and encourage future collaborations among those interested in this topic.

Along with the webinars, Ventresca and the SST program also launched a related website, Sound, Sport, and the Digital. The website features recordings of both webinars as well as a resource library of academic and popular writings about the sound and sports nexus. 

Stay tuned for more information on future webinars related to sound and sports for the 2024-25 academic year.

Georgia Tech Soccer VIP Hosts Soccer in the Streets

Students on soccer pitch.Under the direction of Kirk Bowman, Regents’ Entrepreneur, Georgia Tech students in the VIP on Soccer, Community, Innovation, and Politics (SCIP) hosted over 100 participants from Soccer in the Streets at Georgia Tech on April 19, 2024. Led by students Jordan Artis, Anelise Laracuente, Navya Pillai, and Candy Zheng, SCIP worked with Soccer in the Streets founder Jill Robbins to create a Beyond the Pitch initiative. The young soccer players visited innovation labs, the CRC, and gardens on campus, and participated in an event with Georgia Tech basketball player Marcos San Miguel and with Janet Arvizu-Garcia, vice president of the GT First Generation Association.

Georgia Tech Study Abroad Visits EuroLeague Basketball Headquarters in Barcelona

Students at EuroLeague Basketball HQ.Regents’ Entrepreneur Kirk Bowman led Georgia Tech students on a visit to EuroLeague Basketball Headquarters in Barcelona. Ten students on the International Affairs and Management Summer Program in Portugal and Spain visited the EuroLeague Headquarters to learn about sustainability in sports and in the EuroLeague. The group was hosted by Abigail Martín, director of sustainability at EuroLeague Basketball, and Georgia Tech basketball player Marcos San Miguel. Jennifer Chirico, vice president of sustainability at Georgia Tech, also attended. 


Gender Wage Gap In Sports: Myths and Misperceptions

event flyer with event information and pictures of female athletes celebrating David Berri, Professor of Economics at Southern Utah University, visited campus in February 2020 to deliver a guest lecture on the gender wage gap.

The gender wage gap is a trend that shows up in study after study and is especially pronounced in professional sports. This talk looked at why salaries for men in sport are so much higher in absolute terms but also why men tend to be paid a greater share of league revenues (as in professional basketball) or more for each game (as in professional soccer).

The lecture not only touched on the economics of gender and sports today, but also on the history of women in sports.

Television and WNBA Analyst Amy Audibert Visits Foundations of Sports Studies Class

Amy Audibert, center, visited with HST 3075 Foundations of Sport Studies in SeptemberOn Sept. 12, 2019, Television and WNBA Analyst Amy Audibert visited the HST 3075: Foundations of Sport Studies class to share her experience and expertise related to the sport media and working in the sport industry.

Audibert just completed her first season as a television analyst for the WNBA's Atlanta Dream. Prior to that, Audibert played basketball at the University of Miami and served as an analyst for the University of Buffalo's men's and women's basketball teams for five seasons.

Documentary Film Screening and Panel: Black in Blue

UK football player Greg Page

On Jan. 23, 2019, the SST program hosted a documentary film screening and panel discussion.

Fifty years ago, every athlete in sports 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.

A panel followed the screening and featured the filmmaker, Paul Wagner, former University of Kentucky quarterback Paul Karem, brother of Greg Page and the first African-American signed to play football at Kentucky and in the SEC Mel Page, and former Georgia Tech Athletic Director and former Kentucky Assistant Football Coach Homer C. Rice. 

Discussion: "A Conversation with Wyomia Tyus"

Event flyer for a conversation with Wtomia Tyus featuring information and an image of the back-to-back Olympic gold medalistSST hosted a discussion on Sept. 16, 2018, at Georgia Tech with the legendary Wyomia Tyus, a back-to-back Olympic gold medalist (1964, 1968) and long-time advocate for global human rights.

Damion Thomas, a curator of the Smithsonian's National Museum for African American History and Culture, led the interview, and former Georgia Tech Football Coach Bill Curry provided introductions.

Professor Mary McDonald and Dean Jacqueline Jones Royster also provided remarks.

 Watch the video of "A Conversation with Wyomia Tyus"

Critically Examining Sports' "Concussion Crises"

Sports, Society, and Technology Holds Concussion Workshop - image of three panelists, including Professor Mary McDonald, speaking.In February 2018, the 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.

Read a summary of the Concussion Crises Workshop, or visit the Concussion Crises Workshop website to explore the workshop program, abstracts, and presenter bios.

Panel: “The 1996 Atlanta Olympics: Assessing Multiple Legacies”

SST hosted a panel on April 22, 2016, at Georgia Tech in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Atlanta Olympic Games. This panel featured scholars discussing the social, political, economic, and infrastructural impact and legacy of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Participants included Mary McDonald (moderator), Michael Dobbins (Georgia Tech School of City and Regional Planning), Christopher Le Dantec and Kate Diedrick (Georgia Tech, School of Literature, Media and Communication), and Maurice Dobson (Georgia State, Department of History). This panel was held in conjunction with the School of History and Sociology Metropolitan Inequalities Conference.

Sports and the Black Freedom Struggle: The Legacy of 1968

Image of speaker with Johnny SMith and Mary McDonald at the eventHistorians 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 Professor 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 a historical context to better understand U.S. Black athlete activism in the contemporary moment.

Olympic Pride, American Prejudice Screening and Panel

Olympic Pride American Prejudice film coverThe Sports, Society, and Technology Program hosted a screening of Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, and a post-film panel on Oct. 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, an SST supporter, and an 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.

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2016 North American Society for Sport History Conference

The SST Research Center, the School of History and Sociology, and Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts hosted the 2016 North American Society for Sport History Conference at the Georgia Tech Conference Center and Hotel, from May 27-30, 2016. This scholarly conference brought together over 200 sport historians to discuss relevant historical themes and scholarship. 

"Doing Sports History in the Digital Present" Pre-Conference

The Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, the School of History and Sociology, the SST Research Center and the North American Society for Sport History hosted a pre-conference workshop May 25-26, 2016, “Doing Sports History in the Digital Present.” This workshop was free and open to the public.

The goal of this workshop was to generate and extend conversations about digital scholarship, especially in relationship to the historical study of sport and related realms including recreation, games, physical activity, and the moving body. “Doing Sport History” featured 15 participants from North America and Australia and was organized by Mary McDonald and Jennifer Sterling of Georgia Tech’s SST program. Murray Phillips, University of Queensland and editor of the Journal of Sport History, also assisted in organizing the workshop.

Fourteen articles from this workshop were published as part of a 2017 special issue in the Journal of Sport History in 2017.

"Innovations in Sport for Development Research" Workshop

The Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, the School of History and Sociology, and the SST Research Center hosted a post-conference workshop May 31-June 1, 2016, “Innovations in Sport for Development Research” featuring 10 scholars from North America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia discussing and critiquing sport for development scholarship. This workshop was free and open to the public.

We were fortunate to have scholars from around the world participate from Atlanta and also via telecommuting capabilities from such global locations as New Zealand, Canada, Argentina, and England. Mary McDonald organized this conference with colleagues from the US and Canada. Papers from this event will be published in 2017 in Third World Thematics.

Exhibit Marks Anniversary of Historic Holmes v. Atlanta Court Case

In November of 2015, Mary McDonald and several Georgia Tech graduate students organized an exhibit displayed at the clubhouse of the Bobby Jones Golf Course in Atlanta celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the historic court case that facilitated the desegregation of public recreation facilities across the country.

The exhibit, funded by the Friends of the Bobby Jones Golf Course, is called "Changing the Game" and commemorates the efforts of Alfred "Tup" Holmes, an African American golfer who challenged how access to public golf courses in 1950s Atlanta was strictly divided along racial lines.

Featuring stories, photographs, and other artifacts documenting Holmes' historic Supreme Court case, the exhibit seeks to draw attention to the role of Atlanta's sport culture in the desegregation movement while preserving the history of the Bobby Jones course.