Race and Power in South African Sports

This seminar explores sport and social change in South Africa from the late nineteenth century to the present. The primary focus is on the history of rugby, cricket, and soccer, but we will also cover precolonial games, running, and golf.  We’ll examine the sporting lives of South African athletes, fans, reporters, coaches, and administrators and then link them to shifting racial identities and power relationships. This complex and fascinating history will shed light on the pivotal role of sport in the struggle against apartheid and in nation-building efforts after 1994.  The main intellectual goal is to use race, class, gender, and nationalism to deepen our understanding of South Africa’s remarkable transformation from pariah of global sport to successful World Cup host. On a more practical level, the course will strengthen skills of critical thinking, digital scholarship, oral communication, research, and writing.