Fixtures 2010/2011

The 2010/2011 schedule for FSF has been posted on our new schedule page. The current lineup includes David Goldblatt, Laurent Dubois, and Chris Gaffney, we are very pleased to include them for the fall and spring. Over the course of the season we will be making an extra effort to keep everyone involved and contribute to the site. To do so, I would ask everyone to register, you will be sent an email to confirm and then can change your password from the default one to one of your choosing in your dashboard.

This will enable us all to contribute articles, stories, or media associated with the book or topic of the month. Additionally, we will be posting the recordings of past and future sessions in a members-only page. This is so that we can go back to reference the stimulating conversations we have and to avoid furiously scribbling notes when we would rather listen to our contributors.

We will also be asking for volunteers to write the wrap-up posts after every session from now on. This will be a simple 300 word summary of interesting topics or trends that came up in discussion for the frontpage of the website. I would also ask those of you with web expertise to make suggestions about our page, I am a rank amateur and would benefit tremendously from advice. We need your investment to grow our community and have a sustainable way of keeping this group fresh and exciting!

Congratulations to South Africa for hosting a memorable tournament, to Spain for winning it, and to Peter for providing a valuable piece of scholarship that will serve as a touchstone for years to come. Now it’s August, and as the club season begins anew we can all take our foolish hopes that this season will be different and channel them into a productive year!

2010 World Cup Daily

As Africa prepares to stage its first World Cup, Trevor Nelson travels to South Africa to explore the nation’s passionate relationship with the beautiful game and to confront his own reservations about a country with a history of apartheid.

Peter recommends: “Trevor did a fine job with this documentary piece. One of the best I’ve come across in the media frenzy surrounding the tournament.”

African Soccerscapes Success

FSF May was a grand success! We had a 90-minute discussion on Peter Alegi’s new book, African Soccerscapes: How a Continent Changed the World’s Game. Incidentally, it seems like Skype may be our connection of choice, as not too much was lost without video and the audio quality was excellent. Unfortunately, the recording failed. So it goes.

Thanks to Peter Alegi, John Turnbull, Andrew Guest, David Keyes, Jill Kelly, and Leslie Hadfield for their participation, and special thanks to Ben Dettmar for facilitating.

Please check back frequently at the website and feel free to send any interesting material you would like to share. I have added a number of new links and hope that this can be as much of a web forum is it is a place for discussing the books we choose.

David Goldblatt and Footy Culture BBC Radio 3

David Goldblatt, author of The Ball is Round, has an interesting radio series coming up on the metaphors, language, and culture surrounding the national teams at the World Cup. More info below:

2010 FIFA WORLD CUP Night Waves Monday 7 to Friday 11 June 9.15-10.00pm BBC RADIO 3 *

With the World Cup just five days away, Night Waves presents a week of letters by writer David Goldblatt exploring football and its metaphors around the globe. Scratch a football culture anywhere and it bleeds in metaphor – ideas, comparisons and phrases that reveal much about the game but a lot more about the country that coined them. Each night, David chooses one of this year’s national teams as his subject. The Italians have the richest literary culture when describing the beautiful game and Italian sports writing even has its own Dante.

In tonight’s programme, David Goldblatt delves into the meaning of phrases such as “melina” (a gruel-like soup) and “arbitano” (a callow young priest) on the pitch and discovers that the language of Italian football is woven into the tapestry of politics and religion. Programmes later in the week explore the relationship between the tango and football in Argentina (Tuesday); look at the origins of the black star on the Ghanaian team shirt (Wednesday); and consider the geometric beauty of the much-celebrated, but rarely imitated, Dutch “total football” (Thursday). Presenter/David Goldblatt, Producer/James Cook

Tip o’ the hat to Peter Alegi.

May 25 – African Soccerscapes

The Football Scholars Forum will have its last meeting prior to the World Cup tomorrow at 2pm EDT, please check your time zones to ensure that we are all coordinate as I mistakenly used EST in my last notice (EDT is -4 UTC).

RSVP to Alex Galarza for Skype participation.

Here are a number of links of interest that are related to author Peter Alegi’s research and book:

New York Times “South Africans Push to Make the World Cup Their Own”

Dennis Brutus on Facebook Excerpts from Peter’s lecture at the Alan Paton Memorial Lecture

Radio Interview on France International

Visit the publisher’s page on African Soccerscapes for even more links and press related to the book.

May 25 – Alegi’s African Soccerscapes

“In this wonderfully researched and richly textured narrative, Alegi tells the vital story of how football transformed Africa and Africa transformed football during the 20th century. The book is a must-read for all those wishing to gain a greater understanding of the past, and future, of the global game.” – Laurent Dubois

FSF will be discussing Peter Alegi’s African Soccerscapes: How a Continent Changed the World’s Game on Tuesday, May 25th at 1400 EST. Those participating in person can assemble at the departmental conference room at Morrill 340. Those participating via web will take note that this month we are using Skype instead of Adobe Breeze this month. If you plan on participating via skype, please ensure that you download it, have a microphone and headphones, and email me at so that I can add you to the conference call.

Inaugural Sessions of 2010

January: The Global Game: Writers on Soccer, with John Turnbull and Alon Raab.

Listen to an audio recording here (for educational/personal use only).

February: Spartak Moscow: A History of the People’s Team in the Worker’s State, with Robert Edelman.

Listen to an audio recording here (for educational/personal use only).

March: Golden and Blue Like my Heart: Masculinity, Youth, and Power Among Soccer Fans in Mexico City, with Roger Magazine

Listen to an audio recording here (for educational/personal use only).