Ashley Brown

Position title: Assistant Professor & Allan H. Selig Chair in the History of Sport and Society


Phone: 608.263.1641

Office: 5105 Mosse Humanities
Mailbox: 5011 Mosse Humanities
Office Hours: Virtually Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:40-6:40pm

Ashley Brown


I am a twentieth-century United States historian whose research and teaching focus on African American history, women’s history, and the history of sport. I believe that sport is intrinsic to American culture and history, carrying the potential to initiate critical discussions about race, gender, mass culture and media, and labor. I am particularly passionate about investigating the journeys of minority and female athletes in country club sports.  In February 2023, Oxford University Press will publish my first book, Serving Herself: The Life and Times of Althea Gibson, a comprehensive biography of the first African American to win titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Nationals between 1956 and 1958.


Ph.D., George Washington University
B.A., Mount Holyoke College


Selected Publications

  • “’Uncomplimentary Things’: Tennis Player Althea Gibson, Sexism, Homophobia, and Anti-Queerness in the Black Media,” Journal of African American History, 106.2 (Spring 2021): 249-277.
  • “Swinging for the State Department: American Women Tennis Players in Diplomatic Goodwill Tours, 1941-1959,” Journal of Sport History, 42.3 (Fall 2015): 289-309.

Selected Awards

  • Nellie McKay Fellowship, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2020-2021.
  • Fall Research Competition Award, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2020.
  • Visiting Fellowship for Post-Doctoral Scholars, James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference, Emory University, 2017-2018.
  • Research Associateship, Five College Women’s Studies Research Center, 2016-2017.
  • National Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society, 2016.
  • 30th Annual Graduate Student Essay Prize, North American Society for Sport History, 2015.
  • Presidential Merit Fellowship, George Washington University, 2010-2015.

History Courses

  • History 136 – Sport, Recreation, and Society
  • History 201 – The Historians Craft: Heroes and Amazons in Sports
  • History 221 – Explorations in American History: African Americans and Sports
  • History 500 – Reading Seminar: African American Migrations
  • History 500 – Reading Seminar: Biography in U.S. Sports History
  • History 600 – Advanced Seminar in History: History, Sport, and Film
  • History 901 – African American Women, Freedom, and Identity