Prof. Dr. Frank Jacob
Sports and politics have long been intertwined; in some cases—the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang being the most recent example—competition venues have doubled as stages for high-level international diplomacy and intrigue; while in others—preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar come to mind—governments’ use of sport and sporting events to achieve political advantages has unleashed a torrent of damaging consequences for workers, the environment, and vulnerable populations worldwide. Considering the historical and contemporary ties between sport and politics, a one-day conference in New York City in December 2018 will take a closer look at these relationships with a focus on four main topics. We invite scholars from across the disciplines—and from any stage of their career—to submit proposals that match at least one of the topics listed below. Proposals addressing a different topic or question related to sport and politics may also be considered.
The growing size, complexity, and popularity of sporting events across the 20th century—involving enormous public expenditures to create fleeting moments of “glory”—has entailed the exploitation of host cities, athletes, fans, and workers. Whether—and if so in which ways—politics help stimulate or counter these trends is one of the important questions we wish to discuss.
Many sports and sporting events create adverse environmental impacts whose legacies persist long after the athletes and spectators have gone back home. Thus, questions of ecological integrity and public health are of particular importance as we explore the relationships between sports and politics.
The corporate sponsors and political advocates of large scale sporting events often deploy and exploit stereotypes based on gender, class, and ethnic identities. To what extent these stereotypes are challenged or encouraged by athletes, politicians, spectators, or public opinion will form the central question of our third topic.
The prestige, power, and vast sums of money at stake make sporting events prime breeding grounds for scandals ranging from state-sponsored doping programs to bribes paid to ensure hosting rights to the Olympics or World Cup tournaments. Proposals dealing with historical, recent, or ongoing sport-related scandals will thus be most welcome.
Scholars interested in presenting a paper at the conference should send a short proposal (max. 300 words) and a one page CV to CHall@qcc.cuny.edu and firstname.lastname@example.org no later than May 31, 2018. Proposals should also indicate whether the potential presenter would be available for a roundtable discussion instead of a panel presentation.