That’s a bit of a provocative question, but one that lent itself well to a workshop I co-directed with Dr. J Simon Rofe last week at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS University of London.
As you’re getting ready for today’s Super Bowl spectacle, it’s a good time to recall that #EverythingHasAHistory. Including American football which, as Ben Halls at VICE Sports reminds us, is a much closer cousin to rugby than many Americans likely realize. In fact, the changes that occurred as American football developed in the late nineteenth century leads to one of the earliest, surprising, and fascinating stories of transatlantic influences in French sport.
Hello, and happy new year! May yours be merry and bright. I usually take the first week of the year to take stock of how the “best of” the past year puts greater focus into events of the coming one.Thus, here’s my watch list for the first half of the year. They’re less predictions and more things to take note of…though, if I’m honest, should things work out, I hope you give me some credit for my foresight!
I recently wrote a paper for the #GoldenGamesNUS sports diplomacy conference on the three times the French men’s basketball team played in China (1966, 1980, and 2006). The subject may seem odd to the casual eye, but these countries boast the oldest hoops traditions outside of North America, dating to 1893 (France) and 1895 (China). As it turned out, “La France en Chine: The Power of Basketball Diplomacy” is one of the more fun, quirky papers I’ve written and the challenges involved in stitching it together are instructive on many levels.