Douglas Hartman, “Midnight Basketball: Race, Sports, and Neoliberal Social Policy” (U Chicago Press, 2016)

The concept of late-night basketball gained prominence in the late 1980s when G. Van Standifer founded Midnight Basketball League as a vehicle upon which citizens, businesses, and institutions can stand together to prevent crime, violence, and drug abuse. The concept ignited and late-night basketball leagues were developed in dozens of cities across America. In Midnight Basketball: Race, Sports, and Neoliberal Social Policy (University of Chicago Press, 2016), Douglas Hartmann traces the history of late-night basketball with particular emphasis on the racial ideologies, cultural tensions, and institutional realities that continue to shape sports-based social policy. Hartmann brings to life the experience he had as a researcher in the field working with late-night basketball programs and the young men they were intended to serve. This experience provided him with a more grounded and nuanced understanding of the intricate ways sports, race, and risk intersect and interact in urban America.

Douglas Hartman is a professor and the chair of sociology at University of Minnesota.


Michael O. Johnston is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. He earned his doctoral degree in Public Policy and Public Administration from Walden University. His most recent paper, to be presented at the upcoming American Society for Environmental History conference, is titled “Down Lovers Lane: A Brief History of Necking in Cars.”