Thomas Oates, Ph.D.

Interim DEO
Associate Professor

Tom Oates holds degrees in American Studies and Mass Communication and holds a joint appointment with the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. His interdisciplinary scholarship has appeared in journals spanning communication, sport studies, and cultural studies. He is the author of Football and Manliness and the co-editor of The NFL: Critical and Cultural Perspectives, and Playing to Win: Sports, Video Games, and the Culture of Play.

He pursues research interests at the intersection of sport, media, and culture, focusing on how new media and neoliberalism are shaping articulations of race, gender, and sexuality around contemporary sport. His current project explores the connections between basketball with racialized and gendered meanings of space.

Tom teaches courses on the historical, economic, regulatory, and ideological forces shaping media production on the United States.

Courses taught in American Studies:
  • Masculinity, Race and Sport Media (graduate)
  • Sport and Neoliberalism (graduate)
  • Sport and Media, Space and Place (graduate)
  • Football in America
  • Sport and the Media
  • New Media and the Future of Sport
  • Baseball in America
  • Classics in Sport Journalism
Research Interests: 
  • Sport media
  • Critical/cultural studies


Football and manliness: An unauthorized feminist account of the NFL
University of Illinois Press
The NFL: Critical and Cultural Perspectives
Temple University Press
Playing to Win: Sports, Video Games, and the Culture of Play
Indiana University Press


"'Where I'm From': Jay-Z's 'Hip Hop Cosmopolitanism,' Basketball, and the Neoliberal Politics of Urban Space"
“Representing the Audience: The Gendered Politics of Sport Media”
Feminist Media Studies
Winter 2012
Winter 2012, 12, no 4 603-607

“Agile Big Man: The Flexible Marketing of Yao Ming”
Pacific Affairs
Summer 2004
Summer 2004, 77, no. 2 187-210

The Sporting Paratext, Reception, and the Male Domain in CBS’s ‘One Shining Moment’
Communication & Sport
October 15, 2013
“New Media and the Repackaging of NFL Fandom”
Sociology of Sport Journal
March 2009
March 2009, 26, no 1 31-49

“The Erotic Gaze in the NFL Draft”
Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies
January 2007
January 2007, 4, no. 1 74-90

“Sports Journalism as Moral and Ethical Discourse”
Journal of Mass Media Ethics
December 2007
December 2007, 22, no. 4 332-347

“The Mismeasure of Masculinity: The Male Body, 'Race' and Power in the NFL Draft”
Patterns of Prejudice
August 2004
August 2004, 38, no. 3 301-320

Race, Economics, and the Shifting Politics of Sport Media The Case of Jimmy the Greek
Radical History Review, Duke University Press
5/1/2016, 2016, no. 125 159-167

Failure is Not an Option: Sport Documentary and the Politics of Redemption
Journal of Sport History
2014, 41, no. 2 215-223

Selling streetball: racialized space, commercialized spectacle, and playground basketball
Critical Studies in Media Communication, Routledge
1/1/2017, 34, no. 1 94-100

Thomas Oates
Ph.D., The University of Iowa (2004, Mass Communication)
Contact Information

728 Jefferson Building (JB)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States