Kate AguilarFaculty

Kate Aguilar joined the History Department in the fall of 2021. As a professor of African American History, trained in the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary field of African American Studies, she teaches both parts of the African American History survey course, pushing students to grapple with not only what Black history is but what Black history does.

She begins the semester of each course, for example, introducing the late-historian Manning Marable’s reflections on the field, in which he argues that Black Studies embodies three primary tasks: description, or the detailing of the experience of Black people; correction, or the challenging and altering of the traditional interpretations and stereotypes of Black people; and prescription, or the developing of models and solutions that promote Black empowerment. She does so to highlight the relationship between the past and the present, theory, and practice. The hope is that each course encourages and prepares students to create more equitable policies and practices. As she mentioned recently in the Washington Post article, “Blocking Black History is an Attempt to Counter Black Power,” “History is not merely a collection of facts. History is a practice. It is a discussion about what events get included in the historical record and why, about how historians have interpreted and debated those events, and about how approaches and ideas change over time.” 

In addition to the survey courses, Dr. Aguilar is a trained sport historian who has helped Gustavus develop a Sport Management minor. She teaches a course on the Black athlete in America and contributes to public scholarship in the field as a contributor to the blog SPORT IN AMERICAN HISTORY and through a Washington Post op-ed on the Black quarterback, "It took until 2023 for two Black QBs to start in a Super Bowl. Here’s why." She is a proud member of the North American Society for Sport History, in which she serves on the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonisation Coordinating Group. 

Her scholarship focuses on the Black athlete and University of Miami football team of the 1980s, through which she argues that cultural histories of Miami have yet to contend with how college football and the "team of the 1980s" complicate the city’s racial legacies and limited historical interpretations of Black athletic activism. She explores how the public used certain images of the Black athlete and “team of the 1980s" to reinforce the Right’s call for law and order. The team in response used football as a medium through which to advance a 1980s Black radical tradition and shine a light on Black (Miami) excellence. Her book manuscript is under contract at the University of Illinois Press.

While Kate is committed to her scholarship and activism, her great passion is serving students. She feels honored to do so as a member of the History Department, African/African Diaspora Studies program, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies program, and in Sport Management. She is also a part of a broader community of scholars working on campus to learn more about, implement, and assess inclusive teaching pedagogies through an HHMI Grant. 

“Books saved my sanity, knowledge opened the locked places in me and taught me first how to survive and then how to soar.”
― Gloria E. Anzaldúa



2023    The World They Built: How University of Miami Football Challenged Reagan’s America,

under contract with the University of Illinois Press.

2018    “To Win One for the Gipper: Football and the Fashioning of a Cold Warrior,”

Defending the American Way of Life: Sport, Culture, and the Cold War, eds. Toby Rider and Kevin Witherspoon, University of Arkansas Press, 113-126.

Public Scholarship   

2023    “It Took Until 2023 for Two Black QBs to Start in a Super Bowl. Here’s Why,”

Washington Post (op-ed), February 12.

2023    “Blocking Black History is an Attempt to Counter Black Power,” Washington Post (op-

ed), February 1.

2021    “A Review of ‘Colin in Black & White’: Race, Sport, and the Power of Black Oral

History,” Sport in American History (blog), October 30.

Book/Film Reviews

2022    Film Review of They Call Me Magic (2022), Journal of Sport History 49, no. 2 (Summer 2022): 168-169.

2022    Through Their Own Lens: Film Review of One Night in Miami (2020), Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali (2021), and Muhammad Ali (2021), Journal of Sport History 49, no. 1 (Spring 2022): 53-56.

2022    Keith B. Wood, Memphis Hoops: Race and Basketball in the Bluff City, 1968-1997 (2021), Journal of Southern History 88, no. 3 (August 2022): 592-593.

2021    Paul E. Morton, Jai Alai: A Cultural History of the Fastest Game in the World,

Connecticut History Review (Spring 2021): 124-126.


PhD, Department of History, University of Connecticut; M.A., Africana Studies, Indiana University; B.A., Black Studies, DePauw University

Areas of Expertise

Africana Studies and Sport History


reading, travel, movies, and running

Courses Taught

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
HIS-143 African American History II 6 2024/SP, 2023/SP, and 2022/SP
HIS-142 African Am History I 6 2023/FA, 2022/FA, and 2021/FA
HIS-203 The Black Athlete in America 4 2024/SP, 2023/JN, 2022/FA, and 2022/SP
HIS-331 Hip Hop and the Black 1980S 1 2023/FA