Scholars Discuss New Book on Fútbol in Latin America

By | February 18th, 2015 | No Comments

Futbol_BookCoverHow does football shape national narratives in Latin America? Why is the game so closely tied to masculinity and femininity? How can studying fútbol advance our understanding of Latin American history? These and other questions were part of the Football Scholars Forum recent discussion of Joshua Nadel’s Fútbol!: Why Soccer Matters in Latin America.

The author, an assistant professor of Latin American and Caribbean history at North Carolina Central University, shared his experience of writing a book that the publisher expected to have cross-over appeal.  In addition to tackling questions from the thirteen participants online, Nadel also suggested future directions for research on Latin American fútbol.

An audio recording of the event can be downloaded here.

The next gathering of the Football Scholars Forum will be on March 26 for a paper on Zambian football by Hikabwa Chipande, a PhD candidate in African history at Michigan State University. For more information about this event, please contact Alex Galarza.

Forum on Football in the Middle East

By | November 23rd, 2013 | No Comments

20131123-194419.jpgThe Football Scholars Forum, an international online think tank, convened on November 14 to discuss Football in the Middle East. The conversation focused on a special issue of the academic journal Soccer and Society, edited by Alon Raab and Issam Khalidi. The group began by noting that while football has been a critical force in broader political and cultural developments in the region, there is little institutional support for studying the game in the Middle East.

The ensuing 90-minute discussion demonstrated the value of scholarly collaboration and research on the game.  The group explored a dizzying number of topics and territories, including football as a source of unity and hope and as a site of political and ideological conflict; the 2022 World Cup in Qatar; soccerpolitics in Turkey; sport and Islamism; Palestinian and Iraqi Kurdish women’s teams; and football films and poetry.

For a Storify Twitter timeline click here.

Download the mp3 of the session here.

90-minute Patriots Ward off Faction Replays

By | January 26th, 2012 | 2 Comments

The Times (London), January 25, 2012

By Matthew Syed

It is no coincidence that Alex Salmond, the wily and rather combative leader of the SNP, is fighting to hold the referendum on Scottish independence in 2014. This, of course, is partly to do with the anniversary of the Battle of Bannock-burn, where the Scots gave the English a bit of a kicking in the First War of Scottish Independence.

But, perhaps even more significantly, it is also about the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and a recognition that the patriotism that invariably surrounds great sporting occasions could lend the campaign for secession unstoppable momentum. No wonder David Cameron wants to hold the referendum early.

Few politicians, let alone sports fans, have failed to recognise the curious alchemy of events such as the Commonwealth Games, not to mention the Olympics and World Cup. It is not just the anthem-singing and the flag-waving, but a sense of unity that is conspicuous by its absence at just about any other time in national life – with the possible exception of a royal wedding.

We are divided by religion, by political affiliation, by cultural allegiance and by our attitudes to Simon Cowell but, when David Beckham is charging around against Greece, or Sally Gunnell is leaping around Montjuic, or Tim Henman is getting edgy against Pete Sampras in SW19, we are bound up in a shared national story. Look hard and you can almost see the pages moving.

In this sense the Africa Cup of Nations, which started at the weekend, is perhaps the most important sporting event in the world. Not in terms of the football, of course – although the European club stars who return home to represent their homelands lend stardust to an event that improves in quality with each incarnation – but rather in terms of the politics of identity. As the players of Niger and Libya and Equatorial Guinea cruise around the pitch, you can see history in the making.