MemberZachary Smith

…North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (2016-Present)
American Academy of Religion (2014-Present)…
…Ph.D. Student, Sport Studies—University of Tennessee

M.A., Comparative Religion—Western Michigan University…
…Smith, Z. (2017). Can sport be regarded as ‘cultural liturgy’? recognizing the significance of the liturgical frame for the social scientific study of sport. Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, …

Zach is a PhD student and graduate teaching associate in Sport Studies at the University of Tennessee. Before Tennessee, he completed an MA in Comparative Religion at Western Michigan University. His academic interests revolve primarily around religion and physical sport cultures in the US, and he is a research assistant at the Center for the Study of Sport and Religion at the University of Tennessee. His dissertation is an ethnographic study of Christian mixed martial arts.

Deposit“Operation Sport”: Puerto Rico’s Recreational and Political Consolidation in an Age of Modernization and Decolonization, 1950s

Contextualized in a Western push for post-war decolonization and modernization, the development of recreation programs in 1950s Puerto Rico helped consolidate the state’s sport institution and, in turn, legitimize a new political status. The 1950s was a pivotal decade in Puerto Rican history due to the creation of the Commonwealth in 1952 and the innovative economic project known as Operation Bootstrap. The term “Operation Sport” portrays the development of sport and recreation in this decade as collaboration between the government and the working classes to develop recreational/cultural activities to assuage the impact of dramatic industrialization. However, regardless of the perception of progress, critics targeted the program for its centralization and expropriations, comparing it to “Communist” governments. For the newly established Commonwealth, at stake in the popular acceptance of these recreational programs was evaluation of a new political status arising from promises of social justice.

DepositCaribbean Soccer: Hispanoamericanismo and the Identity Politics of Fútbol in Puerto Rico, 1898-1920s.

When the United States took possession of Puerto Rico in 1898, an aggressive Americanization project introduced cultural practices, including American sports. However, although Puerto Ricans incorporated U.S. sports to their sporting profile, they did so adhering to a larger Hispanic- American ideology. Although soccer, or f ´ utbol, was played in Puerto Rico during the first decades of the United States occupation, it was associated with Spain and Hispanoamericanismo. Due to this, soccer was discriminated and unpopular in a population that incorporated American sports. I argue that through soccer we see another important element in the negotiation overU.S. imperialism in Puerto Rico and in the broader expansion of Hispanoamericanismo in the early twentieth century. Despite its unpopularity, soccer’s limited space within Puerto Rican sports came to symbolize a Hispanic and Latin American sport, helping to fuel broader notions of nationhood. In this regard, Puerto Rican soccer illustrates the conciliation of a colonial nation hoping to fit within Latin America, while also adopting American sports. Through Puerto Rican soccer we can observe broader cultural and political negotiations over Americanization and Hispanidad in the Spanish Caribbean and how this process can in turn help develop strong ideas of national identity.

DepositThe Sovereign Colony: Olympic Sport, National Identity, and International Politics in Puerto Rico.

Ceded to the United States under the terms of the Treaty of Paris after the Spanish-American War of 1898, Puerto Rico has since remained a colonial territory. Despite this subordinated colonial experience, however, Puerto Ricans managed to secure national Olympic representation in the 1930s and in so doing nurtured powerful ideas of nationalism. By examining how the Olympic movement developed in Puerto Rico, Antonio Sotomayor illuminates the profound role sports play in the political and cultural processes of an identity that developed within a political tradition of autonomy rather than traditional political independence. Significantly, it was precisely in the Olympic arena that Puerto Ricans found ways to participate and show their national pride, often by using familiar colonial strictures—and the United States’ claim to democratic values—to their advantage. Drawing on extensive archival research, both on the island and in the United States, Sotomayor uncovers a story of a people struggling to escape the colonial periphery through sport and nationhood yet balancing the benefits and restraints of that same colonial status. The Sovereign Colony describes the surprising negotiations that gave rise to Olympic sovereignty in a colonial nation, a unique case in Latin America, and uses Olympic sports as a window to view the broader issues of nation building and identity, hegemony, postcolonialism, international diplomacy, and Latin American–U.S. relations.

DepositInform to Perform: Using Domain Analysis to Explore Amateur Athlete Information Resources and Behaviour

Sporting information has been relatively unexamined in library and information science (LIS) literature with most research concentrating on collection management or archival functions. User studies in LIS have covered some aspects of outdoor recreation and hobbies, but only one study has been found explicitly researching amateur athletes. This project builds contributes a definition of sport as an information domain and an exploratory user study of amateur athletes. The research takes a socio-cognitive approach and uses domain analysis linked to serious leisure, information communication chain and information behaviour theories to provide the research context. These foundational theories are used to define sport as an information domain more formally, noting both degrees of specialisation within it and intersections with related disciplines. Four domain analysis approaches are then used to illustrate the potential of the approach for researching different dimensions within the domain. Three of these approaches involve desk research into different aspects of amateur sport information. By discussing the role of documents, computer science and discourses in sport these approaches show that sport is a multi-faceted and interdisciplinary domain with many topics of interest for the information researcher and practitioner. The fourth approach is a user study of athlete information behaviour that collected data on information sources, tasks and attitudes via an online questionnaire.

MemberJohanna Mellis

…Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies

North American Society for Sport History

Oral History Association

American Historical Association

Hungarian Studies Association

…r for European studies, titled, “Freedom’s Fury: The 1956 Hungarian Revolution as Reflected in Sport,” Fall 2016. Selected and invited guest speaker, helped organize the events, and throughout…
…D., History, University of Florida, expected Summer 2018

Dissertation Title: Negotiation Through Sport: Navigating Everyday Life in Socialist           Hungary, 1948-1989

Dissertation A…
…“From Defectors to Cooperators: The Impact of 1956 on Athletes, Sport Leaders, and Sport Policy in Socialist Hungary.” Contemporary European History. (Submitted)

“Beyond Politics: Hungarian D…

I am a doctoral candidate in History at the University of Florida. My dissertation, titled Negotiation Through Sport: Navigating Everyday Life in Socialist Hungary, 1948-1989, examines the changes in policies, social relations, and cultural norms in the elite sport community. More specifically, I examine how the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and mass defection of hundreds of athletes following the Revolution gradually influenced sport leaders and elite athletes that cooperating with one another enabled both groups to achieve their respective goals of gold medals and material prosperity. My research also explores the improving relations between Hungarian sport leaders and the International Olympic Committee, and how their relations impacted policies domestically and within the IOC. In sum, my research is a history of the politics of cooperation during the Cold War, through the lens of elite sport. My research has been awarded numerous prestigious grants, including the Olympic Studies Centre’s PhD Research Grant, the North American Society for sport History Dissertation Travel Grant, and a Fulbright Grant. I have also received several Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships to study Hungary. My research consists of archival materials from the National Archives and State Security Services Archives in Hungary, the Olympic Studies Centre’s archival holdings on the IOC in Switzerland, and over thirty oral histories that I have conducted with former top athletes, coaches, and sport leaders.

DepositColonial Olympism: Puerto Rico and Jamaica’s Olympic Movement in Pan‐American Sport, 1930 to the 1950s

This paper examines how two Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico and Jamaica, developed ideas of national identity while negotiating political emancipation within two distinct, yet allied Anglophone empires. We can see this process through the Olympic movement and referred to here as “colonial Olympism.” Both Puerto Rico and Jamaica participated as colonies of the United States and Great Britain at international sporting events from 1930 to the 1950s. More than a benevolent gesture by the U.S. or Great Britain, Puerto Rico and Jamaica’s participation was intended to foster international goodwill through sport, including crucial notions of Pan-Americanism. Comparing these two islands, and the metropolises they represented, offers a good way to understand the commonalities and differences in U.S. and Great Britain’s geopolitical interests in Latin America. However, the Olympic and the Pan-American Games, gave both colonies the perfect scenario to perform as separate nations and fed a sense of distinct peoplehood. Sport leaders from both islands negotiated their way into nationhood by the very fact of participating in the Olympic movement, albeit as non-sovereign states. In turn, having Olympic nationhood became another important tool in both islands’ quest for decolonization, contributing an important angle to better understand twentieth-century international politics and decolonization processes.

MemberAntonio Sotomayor


Sotomayor, Antonio. The Sovereign Colony: Olympic Sport, National Identity, and International Politics in Puerto Rico. Lincoln: The University of Nebraska Press, 2016. Winner of SALALM&#8…

I am an Assistant Professor, Historian, and Librarian of Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I also hold faculty appointments in the Departments of Spanish and Portuguese, and Recreation, Sport, and Tourism, and I am an affiliated faculty at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Illinois. My research revolves around issues of idenity/cultural politics, nationalism, international relations, religion, hegemony, and U.S.-Latin American relations through the window of sport. My book, The Sovereign Colony: Olympic Sport, National Identity, and International Politics in Puerto Rico, studies the role that the Olympic movement played in Puerto Rican construction of national identity, in the development of an autonomist political culture, and in Puerto Rican agency in international politics. It was the recipient of the 2017 José Toribio Medina Award, from the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM), the premier international association for Latin American librarians. My work appears in journals such as Journal of Sport HistoryCaribbean Studies, The Latin Americanist, The Americas, and The International Journal of the History of Sport. Currently, I am working on two larger projects: an anthology with César R. Torres entitled The Olympic Movement in the Making of Latin America and the Caribbean, and a monograph on religion, imperialism, and sport through the YMCA in Puerto Rico and Cuba (1898-1950s). As a librarian, I direct the Latin American and Caribbean Studies collection at the University of Illinois. With close to one million volumes and numerous specialized databases, the collection is considered among the best in the nation. I oversee all aspects related to Latin America and the Caribbean at the University Library including collection development, reference, instruction, serial management, and offer specialized research consultations. My main interests at the library include in depth research consultations, collection development, and liaison work with the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies. I am currently working on developing a special collection on Latin American sport, including a unique Digital Library of Latin American and Caribbean Sport (DLLACS), and on the Conde de Montemar Letters, a portal that provides open access to a set of some 300 unique letters belonging to the family of the Count of Montemar between Lima and Madrid during the years of 1761 and 1799.

MemberKara Jackman

During the day, I work as an archivist at a University located in Massachusetts.  By night, I blog for, and am blog editor for Children’s Craniofacial Association. My work has appeared in a number of regional, Massachusetts newspapers, non-profit newsletters, and local sports magazines, including Sports of Boston, LLC, Duxbury Clipper, CityStream websites, among others.