All posts by John

Popular Sport and the Modern World

We are coming to the end of the term here at Centre College, with commencement only a few days away. This semester has proved to be very, very busy for us here. I have been completely wrapped up in my new class “Popular Sport and the Modern World.” I had buckets of fun, and was ...

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Where Did We Go???

Where did we go? This is the first year of Centre Trail’s existence, and we are having a great time. We are also learning a lot, particularly about the ability of two faculty members at a teaching intensive college to keep up the maintenance of a blog site and podcast! It has been a few ...

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?

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.

British Football and Working Class Culture

This week in my upper division class on the history of popular sport in the modern world, we are talking about working class culture in nineteenth century Britain and the development of professional association football (soccer, to my students). In Britain today, soccer retains the aura of a working class sport, albeit one under assault. ...

Centre Trail Podcast Twelve: When is a sport a sport, and what’s a Founding Father?

Tara and John get together as the spring semester at Centre College starts to get underway. John is teaching the history of modern popular sport, and he talks a little about how to define sports and what kind of interesting historical questions that activity raises. Tara revisits her blog post on Founding Fathers, and talks ...