Alex Galarza with his PhD advisor (and FSF member) Ed Murphy
The Football Scholars Forum has garnered national media attention as a venue for innovative and collaborative scholarship. On February 11, the Chronicle of Higher Education published a feature article on rethinking doctoral dissertations that quoted FSF co-founder Alex Galarza, a PhD. student in history at Michigan State University. Click here to check out his prototype for a digital dissertation on soccer clubs of the 1950s and 60s in Buenos Aires.
On Wednesday, December 5, FSF members met in East Lansing and online to discuss Jun Stinson’s documentary film The 90th Minute. We were joined by Gwen Oxenham, the producer of Pelada and author of Finding the Game: Three Years, Twenty-five Countries, and the Search for Pickup Soccer.
Participants in the session listened to Peter Alegi’s interview with Jun and Gwen’s reflections on the film, as well as her perspective on women’s professional soccer. Discussion topics also included international comparisons; salary inequities; limited media coverage; fan loyalty and other significant challenges facing the new league to launch in the U.S. in early 2013.
Participants: Melissa Forbis, David Kilpatrick, Alon Raab, Alex Galarza, Peter Alegi, Alejandro Gonzalez, Chipande Hikabwa, Alexander Kitroeff, Benjamin Dettmar, and Lindsay Krasnoff.
Listen to the audio from the session here.
On Wednesday, December 5, at 3:30pm EST, our final “game” of the 2012 season will feature Jun Stinson’s short film, The 90th Minute.
The 20-minute documentary follows three members of FC Gold Pride, the 2010 Women’s Professional Soccer champions. The film sheds light on what it’s like to be a female professional soccer player in the U.S. — a dream that has become more elusive after the demise of the WPS.
Why are Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Abby Wambach and others struggling to play professionally in their country? Why have two pro women’s soccer leagues failed since the heady days of Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain and the 1999 Women’s World Cup? What needs to happen for a new women’s league in the U.S. to be sustainable? How does the situation in the U.S. compare with international trends?
Unfortunately, Jun Stinson is unable to join us for the session. However, Peter Alegi interviewed Jun on the film and asked a few questions on behalf of the group. To listen to Peter’s interview with the director, click here. We are pleased that Gwen Oxenham, former Duke and Santos player and one of the producers of the film Pelada , will join us for a terrific season finale!
Send Alex Galarza (galarza1 [at] msu [dot] edu) your Skype name to be included in the call. Alex can also email you the link and password to view the film.
Update: On November 21, “U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati announced the launch of a women’s professional league which will start play in March,” according to ESPN. Read more about it here and here.
FSF members met on November 7th to discuss a selection of chapters from Ted Richards’s edited volume, Soccer and Philosophy: Beautiful Thoughts on the Beautiful Game. The conversation began with Ted discussing the book’s genesis and quickly moved into exploring the potential of aesthetics and morality on the field to speak to deeper issues in philosophy and the human condition. Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, the topic of FSF member David Kilpatrick’s chapter in the volume, served as a useful example for participants to discuss style, Nietzsche, and economics.
Participants: Ted Richards, David Kilpatrick, David Roberts, Christoph Wagner, Andrew Guest, Laurent Dubois, Peter Alegi, Alex Galarza
Unfortunately, due to technical issues, we were unable to record the session.
On Wednesday, November 7, at 1pm EST (the day after the U.S. presidential election), the Football Scholars Forum will convene to discuss Ted Richards’s edited book Soccer and Philosophy: Beautiful Thoughts on the Beautiful Game. This session promises to expand the horizons of those of us whose knowledge of the intersections of philosophy and football is limited to Monty Python’s famously hilarious “Germany vs. Greece” video.
“This book is a delight,” Simon Kuper notes, “and it taught me more philosophy than I learned in my entire time at university.”
Ted Richards, “a philosopher who loves soccer,” will be joining the conversation via Skype, along with chapter authors David Kilpatrick and Jesús Ilundáin. We have selected several chapters to discuss, though participants are free to delve as deeply into the book as they wish. The selected chapters are:
• Stephen Minister, “What’s Wrong with Negative Soccer?”
• John Foster, “Tell Me How You Play and I’ll Tell You Who You Are”
• Victor Durà-Vilà, “Why Playing Beautifully is Morally Better”
• David Kilpatrick, “Nietzsche’s Arsenal”
• Jesús Ilundáin and Cesar Torres, “Embellishing the Ugly Side”
Please RSVP by emailing your Skype name to Alex Galarza (galarza1 AT msu DOT edu) so that you can be included in the online call.
Our inaugural meeting of 2012-13 was an exciting affair. It revolved around Javier Pescador’s new work on Mexican fans of “El Tri” in the United States. The uses of wrestling masks, Aztec symbols, churros and other markers of Mexican-ness demonstrate some of the ways in which fans are helping to transform the Mexican national team into a global brand.
The discussion covered many important topics and themes, including youth soccer, commercial and media imperatives, differences between Mexico-based and U.S.-based fan experiences, club vs. national team tensions (in MLS, for example), and the sources and methodology informing this research. Pescador’s Flickr photostream here is worth checking out.
Participants: Alejandro Gonzales, Hikabwa Chipande, Ben Smith, Ed Murphy, and Peter Alegi (all with the author in East Lansing); David Keyes, Corry Cropper, Melissa Forbis, Ana Paula Martinez, Andrew Guest, Sean Jacobs, Chris Bolsmann, and David Kilpatrick (via Skype).
Listen to the audio recording here.
On Wednesday, September 26, at 1pm EDT, historian Juan Javier Pescador (Michigan State University) will participate in a discussion of his paper entitled “Global Fútbol, the Masked Fan and Flat Screen Arenas: Mexican Soccer Communities in the United States and the Genesis of the Tricolor Brand in Global Landscapes, 1970-2012.”
This paper analyzes the profile, evolution and transformation of Mexican soccer communities in the United States in the context of current globalization processes that are redefining national identities, recreational activities, ideals of youth and manhood, and consumer practices among people of Mexican origin or descent in the United States. Focusing on the interactions and connections U.S. Mexican soccer communities have developed with the Mexican national team and with the increasingly dominant Big Time sports global media, this study discusses new ways of producing and framing Mexican nationalist symbols in global arenas with significant and unexpected consequences.
The session, as is our custom, will be physically held in East Lansing, Michigan, and live online via Skype. For a copy of the paper and to participate online please contact Peter Alegi at alegi [at] msu [dot] edu and provide your Skype name.
Photo from Creative Commons on Flickr by Sister72
With all the buzz around the upcoming European Championships and the Olympics, I thought it would be a good time for another installment of Football Scholars Miscellany— a ‘First XI’ of miscellaneous themes and links as food for FSF thought from recent months. As always, the intention is not to try to cover everything nor to focus on the specifically scholarly. Instead, the intention is to draw from a mix of the scholarly and the broader football world for thoughtful and thought-provoking perspectives. And please let me know what I’ve missed through comments or email—the First XI is never necessarily the best eleven; it’s just what’s available on the day…
Author, scholar, and journalist David Goldblatt became the second FSF author to visit Michigan State University in person (March 15-16). We had a lively discussion on the second half of his sacred text of football history: The Ball is Round. and learned more about David’s new project on the cultural politics of football in Britain since 1989. Participants included: Alejandro Gonzales, Hikabwa Chipande, Andrew Guest, Ben Dettmar, Aaron Passman, Alex Galarza and Peter Alegi (all with the author in East Lansing), and David Kilpatrick, Ben Healy, Brenda Elsey, Corry Cropper, and Alon Raab via Skype. The recording is available here. Goldblatt’s March 15 talk on football, Britishness, and Englishness is available here.