Soccer and Revolution Winter 2024

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Class Details

Soccer is a serious game! It can trigger revolutionary dynamics and support struggles for emancipation. Take for example soccer in Brazil where legendries, such as Socrates and Walter Casagrande became the symbol of Brazilian resistance to the dictatorship. Another striking example is the Argentino Juniors team that was formed by young Italian immigrants from a working-class background, imbued with socialist and anarchist ideas. Soccer can express class conflict too. On the other side of the Atlantic, Manchester United, which has the most successful record in English soccer, was created by a railway company union. The recent Netflix series “The English Game,” which puts under scrutiny the soccer’s class dynamics in the late 19th century, is another example. Soccer may look different today, but class conflict remains a key players, not only in England. Likewise, soccer can express gender or religious affiliation. Drawing upon these aspects of soccer, this course aims to examine how this popular game is a soundboard for many different social, political, cultural, racial or gender identities throughout the world. Some questions that we will address include: why soccer stadiums are the primary place where Moroccans protest the country’s social, economic and political situation? Why when the Raja Casablanca (Morocco’s largest city) plays, the Moroccan anthem is frequently drowned out by the crowd singing the Raja’s anthem with the chorus: “Fi blady dhalmouni” — “In my country, they have oppressed me”? What can we learn from the case of Ahmed Ben Bella, a former player of Olympique de Marseille who became the first president of Algeria after playing a major role in a fierce and bloody decolonial war against France? To this end, we will read a selection of theoretical and critical texts and watch soccer games, documentaries, and read sport reports and interviews with players and coaches to gain a deeper understanding of the historical paths of some soccer icons who proved to be Rebels and are largely regarded as such: Lucarelli (Italy), Navazo (Spain), Drogba (Ivory Coast),Caszely (Chili), Mekhloufi (Algeria), Pasic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Socrates (Brazil), Claudio (Argentine), Thaljieh (Palestine), etc.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 20
Expected: 20
Class#: 1168
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: active participation, in-class presentations, creating or updating wikipedia pages about soccer players (a tutorial about wikipedia will be arranged in collaboration with the library).
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: None

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