Fastpitch Softball, The Mexican American Way
The Mexican American Way
Thursday, October 28, 2021
Online via Zoom and
In Person | Brazos Hall
Advanced Registration Required
Beginning in the 1920s, after the Mexican Revolution, workers for the Missouri-Pacific railroad started playing competitive softball, using their access to the rails to set up a traveling circuit and league. Working with the memories and material culture of third and fourth generation members of this traveling fast-pitch softball community, American Studies specialist Ben Chappell has crafted a compelling historical ethnography – Mexican American Fastpitch: Identity at Play in Vernacular Sport. By shifting our attention to the vast majority of players in this game, the people who pay to play, Chappell helps us consider the meanings of play and sport in modern life through an extended Mexican American community.
Ben Chappell is an ethnographer, cultural critic, and author of two books on Mexican American cultural production, Lowrider Space: Aesthetics and Politics of Mexican American Custom Cars (2012, University of Texas Press) and Mexican American Fastpitch: Identity at Play in Vernacular Sport (2021, Stanford University Press). Professor Chappell teaches large undergraduate lectures as well as doctoral and honors seminars on American identities, ethnography, theory, and critical university studies. He has been a consulting scholar for public projects with the Smithsonian Institution, Kauffman Museum, the Kansas City Museum, and the Chicago Urban Art Society. He organized and currently convenes the Ethnography Caucus of the American Studies Association. His current research interests include fascist cultural logics, epistemologies of disavowal, and transnational music movements of the late 20th century. Professor Chappell holds the PhD in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.