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Guest Scholars: 2017-18

UC Irvine Professor of Film and Media Studies Victoria E. Johnson

"More Than a Game: 'Humanizing' Sports Studies
and the Case of LeBron James" 

Thursday, November 16, 2017, 11:30 a.m. 
Marsh Screening Room, 7th floor, NQ

Dr. Johnson’s presentation focuses on LeBron James’s 2010 “decision” and 2014 “homecoming” as critical moments that show how sports celebrity is integral to the construction of place-identity. When James, who comes from Ohio, announced his “Decision” (in collaboration with ESPN), the outrage was immediate from Clevelanders and across the U.S. sports world, with most interpreting the move as an act of betrayal of James’s previously loyal commitment to his home state. Literally overnight, this sports hero moved from “The Chosen One” to a “breathtaking narcissist.” How does James’s return to Cleveland, four years later, enable his recuperation as “King James”?

Victoria E. Johnson is Associate Professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies and the Department of African American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. In 2009, her Heartland TV: Prime Time Television and the Struggle for U.S. Identity (NYU Press) was awarded the SCMS’s prestigious Katherine Singer Kovacs Book Award. Her essays on sports and the media have appearedin numerous journals, and her forthcoming book, Sports Television, will be published with Routledge.