Futebol Nation

This week in my class on popular sport and the modern world, we are discussing Brazilian soccer. In particular, we are moving towards discussions of cultural representations of “samba football” within and outside of Brazil. Our reading, Howard Goldblatt’s Futebol Nation, makes some fascinating arguments about the connections between the evolution and celebration of Brazilian ...

The West’s Awake

Last week in my class on the history of popular sport in the modern world, we looked at Gaelic Games and the interaction of sport and nationalist identity in twentieth century Ireland. Following from previous weeks, when we discussed how segregation mitigated baseball’s claim to being the American Pastime and manifestations of religious tensions in ...

The Power of Words: Xi Jinping’s Show of Force

The Chinese Communist Party has made major news across the planet in the last week, after removing term limits from the positions of president and vice president (though Chinese leader Xi Jinping is not actually “president”, that title more a result of convenience in English translation). The move has generated enormous interest in the Western ...

Centre Trail Podcast 15: Frederick Douglass & Black Panther

Tara and John get together at the end of Black History Month to discuss the life of Frederick Douglass, whose two hundredth birthday was this past February 14th. We particularly focus on the impact of his famous memoir A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and think about this month’s release of the new ...

Centre Trail Podcast 14: The Winter Olympics

Tara and John discuss the Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea and some wider historical questions around the Olympic Games. Where does this idea come from, how does it translate into a type of “Olympic ideal” and what are some of the ramifications of this for how countries interact with each other?

Olympic Roundup

In honor of our podcast coming out tomorrow, here are a few links to good reads about the olympics: Why are Jamaican runners so good? This article tackles some of the historical and cultural issues embedded in that question. Skis are more than 4,000 years old.  And according to this piece they have changed a ...

Centre Trail Podcast 13: St. Valentine’s Day and Lent

Tara and John talk about St. Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday, which this year fall on the same day, raising interesting comparisons about their broader cultural impact. Come for the discussion of historical context of two juxtaposed cultural practices, stay for the sweet Anne of Cleves references.