Sport & the City: Popular Culture and Urban Space in Africa
The International Journal of the History of Sport:
Africa Regional Issue
Edited by Scarlett Cornelissen (Stellenbosch University, South Africa)& Susann Baller (Basel University, Switzerland)
Call for papers
In 2011 the International Journal of the History of Sport will launch a biennial special issue devoted to Africa. With an African Academic Editor, Associate Editor and Board comprised of leading scholars in Africa and beyond, this interdisciplinary issue will explore sport and its relationship to cultural, societal and socio-economic dynamics on the African continent.
The theme of the launch issue will be ‘Sport & the City: Popular Culture and Urban Space in Africa.’
Research on the interrelations between sport and the urban environment has demonstrated that sport serves as an important arena for public policy and local agency (e.g. Peter Bremham/Stephen Wagg: Sport, Leisure and Culture in the Postmodern City, 2009). Moreover, it has shown that the social, economic, political, and cultural meanings of sport sites are highly contested (e.g. John Bale: Sport, Space, and the City, 1993). It has been argued that sport is a ‘specifically urban event,’ and that the invention of ‘modern sports’ was closely connected to the processes of urbanisation in the 19th and 20th Centuries (Christian Koller: Sport als städtisches Ereignis, 2008). Stadiums became ‘cathedrals of sport’ (Mark Dyreson: Cathedrals of Sport: Mapping New Territories, in: International Journal of the History of Sport 25/11 2008) – and of ‘modernity’ (Matthias Marschik: Die Kathedralen der Moderne, in: Informationen zur modernen Stadtgeschichte 1, 2006). Most of this research, however, has focused on West and East European cities. Some researchers have raised questions about sport and the apartheid and post-apartheid city, as well as on specific case studies on urban sports in Zanzibar, Congo, Ghana, Senegal and/ or Côte d’Ivoire.
This special issue aims at exploring the complex interrelations between sport and the city in Africa more deeply. It wishes to bring together case studies on different sports, regions and periods, and hopes to allow for trans-African comparisons. Although the African continent is currently the least urbanised, it experiences the highest increase in urban population. In the 19th Century, the urbanisation rate was less than 5%; in the contemporary age, it will soon cross the 50% mark. What does this mean for sport in African cities? What social, cultural and political role did sport play in colonial cities in Africa? How did this change in postcolonial Africa? And what role has sport played in some of the current ‘mega-cities’? What kind of sport policies were implemented by colonial and postcolonial regimes and why? How were they challenged by local agency? And what kind of conflicts over time (leisure time) and space (playing fields) erupted and evolved in different cities at different times?
The editors welcome papers that relate to various aspects of the above theme. Papers may address:
(a) the issue of sport and urban space, such as specific sites of sports in the urban environment (playing fields, stadiums, recreational areas, running tracks etc.), or the interconnections between neighbourhoods and/or districts and sport clubs;
(b) the issue of sport and popular culture in African cities, such as fandom, sport and local (urban) identities, or grassroots and amateur sports;
(c) the issue of urban politics and sport, such as the politics of recreational areas, stadiums, or sport clubs; sport in urban regeneration and gentrification processes; sport mega-events and politics in Africa; sport and urban tourism; or sport-for-development programmes in urban settings.
Papers on a variety of sports, different regions and different time periods are invited.
The following timeline will be followed towards the finalisation and publication of the issue:
Expression of interest: 15 February 2011
Selection of papers: 28 February 2011
Submission of first drafts: 15 May 2011
Submission of revised drafts: 31 July 2011
Publication: November/December 2011
Expression of interest (15 February 2011):
Submit a title and abstract of 300 words to:
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