Calcutta Conference CFP

Sport and the Nation, International Conference, 19-20 January 2012

Department of English and School of Media, Communication and Culture, Jadavpur University, Kolkata 700032, India

The history of modern sport is intimately linked to the rise of the modern nation-state and its cultures of self-representation. Indeed, though games have existed as long as human beings have inhabited the earth, organized sport in the contemporary sense is thought to be a distinctive product of modernity. Enshrined in the curriculum of the Victorian public school and viewed as a means of training imperial administrators, sport also entered the public sphere as a spectacle for mass audiences, leading to a regulation of its practices and the foundation of sports bodies. The founder of the modern Olympic Games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, was convinced that ‘organised sport can create both moral and social strength’, and international sporting spectacles became a means for displaying the health and self-discipline of individual nation-states. This ideology, imperial and European in its origin, was transmitted also to the colonised subjects of European imperialism. The postcolonial ideology of the nation invests heavily in sport as a means of national self-projection, while at the very same time, globalization and multinational capital have created a huge sports industry where highly-paid athletes compete in profit-making spectacles for a global audience. As a vital ingredient of contemporary culture, sport has produced a rich literature of its own, as well as representations in other media such as film. But sport may also be, as in India, a problematic constituent in the task of national self-construction: acknowledged but neglected, a focus of hope but also of disappointment. In 2012, as the world’s athletes prepare for yet another Olympic Games, we need to examine both gains and losses in national sporting histories.

A two-day, Interdisciplinary International Conference on ‘Sport and the Nation’, will be held at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India, on 19-20 January 2011. Conference themes include sporting identities and cultures, the literature of sport, sporting nationalisms, gender, race and multiculturalism in sport, competition, spectacle, and globalized sport, and other related issues. Earlier conferences on linked themes have been held at the University of Leeds and the University of Paris – Sorbonne, and we hope to build up an international collaborative research network in this field. Abstracts are invited for short presentations (20 minutes), with the provision that the number of places is severely limited. Abstracts should be e-mailed to the undersigned by 30 September 2011, and successful applicants will be informed by 30 October 2011.

Supriya Chaudhuri

Abhijit Gupta

Convenors: Parthapratim Bose (Jadavpur University), Supriya Chaudhuri (Jadavpur University), Abhijit Gupta (Jadavpur University), John McLeod (University of Leeds), Alexis Tadié (University of Paris-Sorbonne). 


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