Derek Catsam

Derek Catsam

Professor, Kathlyn Cosper Dunagan Professor in the Humanities
College of Arts and Sciences
Department of History
History Program
MB 4126

History Program

Department of History


BA, Williams College
MA, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
PhD, Ohio University 

Research Interests

Dr. Catsam’s work is on race and politics in the US and southern Africa. He also write about sports, politics, and social issues.

Courses Taught

Dr. Catsam teaches courses on Modern US, South Africa, and African History as well as courses on Global and American Sports. 

Recent Publications


Flashpoint: How a Little-Known Sporting Event Fueled America's Anti-Apartheid Movement (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, September 2021) 

Beyond the Pitch: The Spirit, Culture and Politics of Brazil’s 2014 World Cup (Seattle: Amazon WGP, 2014) Amazon White Glove Kindle Single.

Freedom’s Main Line: The Journey of Reconciliation and the Freedom Rides (Lexington:  University Press of Kentucky, 2009; Paperback 2011)


“Rugby Transformation as Alibi: Thoughts on Craven and Coetzee,” in Todd Cleveland, Tarminder Kaur, & Gerard Akindes, Eds. Sports in Africa Past and Present (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2020). 

“W. E. B. DuBois, South Africa, and Phylon’s ‘A Chronicle of Race Relations,’ 1940-1944,” in Phillip Luke Sinitiere, Ed., Citizen of the World: The Late Career and Legacy of W. E. B. DuBois (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2019)

“The Political Olympics,” in Brad Austin and Pamela Grundy, Eds. Teaching U. S. History Through Sports (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2019).

“‘The Onward March of a People Who Desire to Be Totally Free’: The 1953 Baton Rouge Bus Boycott,” in David Feldman, Ed., Boycotts Past and Present: From the American Revolution to the Campaign to Boycott Israel, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).

“BRICS, Bats, and Balls: Nation Building, Sporting Diplomacy, and the Politics of Mega-Sporting Events in the BRICS Countries,” RASAALA: Recreation and Society in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, Vol. 6 (2018).

“If You’re (Concerned About) White You’re Alt-Right: Racialized Conservative Responses to Black Panther,” Africology: The Journal of Pan-African Studies, Vol. 11, No. 9, August 2018.

“The African Diaspora and Sport in the United States,” in John Nauright and Mahfoud Amara, Editors, Sport in the African World, (Abingdon, UK/New York: Routledge, 2018).

“The Wizard of Williamstown?: How John Wooden Almost Became an Eph Instead of a Bruin,” Journal of the West, Vol. 57, No. 2, Spring 2018.

“A reminder of abilities never fully tapped,” Preface (“Viewpoint”) for Heindrich Wyngaard, Bursting Through the Half-Gap:The Story of Errol Tobias, South Africa’s First Black Springbok: Trailblazer or Traitor? (Melville, Johanesburg: Dickie and Bugler, 2017).

“‘The Creation of a Frustrated People’: Race, Education, the Teaching of History and South African Historiography in the Apartheid Era,” in Amos Morris-Reich and Dirk Rupnow, Eds. Ideas of ‘Race’ in the History of the Humanities Palgrave Critical Studies in Antisemitism and Racism, (London/New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).

“The Great Gift of Low Expectations: South Africa and the World Cup,” World History Bulletin, Vol. XXXIII, No. 1, Spring 2017.

The African Drum, Bantu World, and South Africa-United States Transnational Linkages, 1949-1954,” in Toyin Falola and Cacee Hoyer, Eds. Human Rights, Race, and Resistance in Africa and the African Diaspora (New York and London: Routledge, 2017). Finalist for the 2017 Ronald T. and Gayla D. Farrar Award in Media & Civil Rights History.

Current Projects

Dr. Catsam is working on books on bus boycotts in the US and Southern Africa in the 1940s and 1950s and on the 1981 Springbok rugby tours and anti-apartheid sporting politics.