THE ALLROUNDER will feature the writing of some 60 different writers, who bring their in-depth knowledge on all facets of world sport.
Many of our writers are teachers and researchers at schools like Cambridge and Cornell, Michigan and Monash, King’s College and Queen’s University. Our aim is to bring their insights out of the seminar room and make them available to the curious sports enthusiast in an engaging, accessible format.
You’ve already seen the work of our writers in places like The New York Times, The Guardian, The Conversation, Salon, and ESPN Cricinfo, and you’ve heard them interviewed on the BBC, ABC, and NPR.
Their media commentary is based on in-depth research in different fields of sports studies. Our contributors have written the book. In fact, they’ve written a lot of books—on sport in history, sociology, media studies, philosophy, science, theology, literature, biography, and more.
Here’s an introduction to just a few of the writers you’ll see in The Allrounder, along with examples of work they’ve published on other blogs and media sites.
Jules Boykoff played in France for the US u-23 soccer team some 25 years ago. During the match, he was stunned when the French spectators cheered not for him and his teammates but for their opponents: the team from the Soviet Union. The realization that Americans weren’t loved abroad, even when playing a Soviet side, led him to the study of politics. Now chair of politics and government at Pacific University, Jules’ research focuses on international sport and politics as well as mass media and political dissent. His work on the Olympics has appeared in academic journals and popular media, and his book Celebration Capitalism and the Olympic Games (Routledge, 2013) looks at the costs of hosting the games. He regularly collaborates with journalist Dave Zirin, as in this piece for The Nation on the 2014 Winter Games, the Russian invasion of Crimea, and the farce of the “Olympic Truce.” You can follow Jules on Twitter at @JulesBoykoff.
Samir Chopra grew up playing cricket in Delhi–in the early morning before the temperature hit 40C. He went on to study mathematics, computer science, and philosophy, and he now teaches philosophy at the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College, specializing in the politics and ethics of technology. Samir is a regular contributor to ESPN Cricinfo, and his book Brave New Pitch (HarperCollins, 2012) looks at the evolution of cricket in the T20 era. He also comments on the sports of his adopted homeland. In this piece for his blog, he asks why American fans, contrary to all their political ideals, celebrate authoritarian coaches. Samir tweets at @EyeOnThePitch.
Emily Ryall grew up in Cornwall and became a rugby player. She played for Clifton and London Saracens in the Premiership RFUW, and she continues to play and coach the game. After working in the computer industry, she earned graduate degrees in physical education and philosophy. Now senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of Gloucestershire, Emily writes about the ethics of doping and technology in sport. She is co-editor of The Philosophy of Play (Routledge, 2013), and has appeared several times on BBC radio and television. In this blog post, she elaborates on a discussion from one of her classes: What would happen if soccer players were given extra points for goals that showed great technical skill and artistic merit? You can follow Emily at @emilyryall.
David Rowe has been teaching at universities in Australia for over thirty years, but he remains loyal to his home team, Plymouth Argyle F.C. Trained as a sociologist, David’s early research looked at the British music industry in the post-punk era. This interest in popular culture led him to the study of sport and media. His work in this area has been translated into several languages, and his many books and articles include Sport, Culture and the Media: The Unruly Trinity (Open University, second edition, 2004). Recently, he has been collaborating with Brett Hutchins of Monash University in looking at the various forms of online sports media, from IPL matches on YouTube to fan sites and fantasy leagues. In addition to writing about the media, David regularly writes for the media. In this commentary for The Conversation, written in the wake of Australia’s sweep of England in the most recent Ashes, David remarks on what the series revealed about cricket, Australian nationhood, and sports media. David is on Twitter at @rowe_david.
Chris Gaffney was 1997 Player of the Year for the Taipei Businessmen’s Football League. After his one-year stint with the Red Lions of Taiwan, he returned to the US to take a position as teacher and coach at a New England prep school, and then completed graduate studies in geography. Now a senior research fellow at the University of Zürich, Chris’ work focuses on the impact of major sporting events on urban centers. His book Temples of the Earthbound Gods (University of Texas Press, 2008) examines the role of football stadiums in the history and culture of Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. For the last five years, he has worked in Rio as a visiting professor and journalist, covering the preparations for the World Cup and the Olympics. In this post for his blog Hunting White Elephants, Chris observes that the IOC might have learned something from the massive demonstrations in Brazil in June 2013. You can follow Chris’ reports from Rio at @geostadia.
Amy Bass teaches history and directs the Honors Program at the College of New Rochelle. Her book Not the Triumph but the Struggle (University of Minnesota Press, 2002) looks at the protest of Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics in the broader context of race and sport in 20th-century America. She also edited a volume of essays looking at race and identity in global sport. Amy has contributed her expertise to NBC’s coverage of the summer and winter Olympics. She earned an Emmy award as supervisor of the network’s Research Room at the 2012 London Games, leading the team of 30 experts who provided information on geography and regional politics. Amy also writes for CNN Opinion, Slate, and Salon. In this piece, she looks at a recent book on the great LA Lakers teams of the 1980s and the significance of Magic Johnson’s 1991 announcement that he was HIV-positive. Amy is on Twitter at @bassab1.
Eric Simons writes about science and nature for California magazine, the San Francisco Examiner and Los Angeles Times, and he’s author of a book of Charles Darwin’s years in South America. A devoted fan of teams in the Bay Area, Eric once had a realization while riding home from a University of California football game. He was hoarse and sweaty. His stomach was upset from stadium food, and his head hurt from the noise. And to top it off, his team’s loss had put him in a bad mood. Why did he go to these games week after week, Eric asked himself, when he usually ended up miserable? That question led to his book The Secret Lives of Sports Fans: The Science of Sports Obsession (Overlook, 2013), which uses research in psychology, neuroscience, and biochemistry to investigate how fandom affects our bodies and brains. Eric drew upon his work for this piece, published last year in the Wall Street Journal, that explains why Americans–fans and non-fans alike–go mad during March Madness. You can find the latest from Eric at @ericsimons.
Graham Tomlin is dean of St. Mellitus College and principal of St. Paul’s Theological Centre in London. He is a long-suffering supporter of Bristol City, although he gains some uplift by also following Manchester United. This ploy of following two clubs–one perennially disappointing, the other more successful–must surely be a violation of some eternal law. But if anybody would know, it’s the Reverend Doctor Tomlin. Author of several books on theology and host of the podcast GodPod, Graham also writes about sport, fandom, and faith on his blog. In May 2013, after attending the Champions League final, he wrote this appreciation of German fans and what they get right about sport. Graham is on Twitter at @gtomlin.
Kasia Boddy is a University Lecturer in American literature at the University of Cambridge. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh and former faculty member at Dundee, she has written about contemporary Scottish literature and culture. She has edited an anthology of American short stories for Penguin, and she is currently writing a study of the Great American Novel. In her research, Kasia also uses literary texts as sources to examine the cultural history of particular subjects. Her most recent book looks at the meanings of geraniums in literature and art. Her previous book took this approach to a wholly different subject. Boxing: A Cultural History (Reaktion, 2009) looks at the sport from ancient Mesopotamia to the present, as revealed in the work of potters, painters, poets, photographers, and filmmakers. Of course, you’re wondering how Rocky Balboa fits into this history. Kasia offered this review of the final Rocky film on its release in 2007.
N. Jeremi Duru is professor at American University’s Washington College of Law. After earning degrees in public policy and law at Harvard, Jeremi practiced in the area of civil rights law, including work on behalf of sports industry professionals in employment cases. Since entering academia, Jeremi has published scholarly articles on sports law, and he is regularly interviewed on legal questions in sport. He serves with the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which promotes equal opportunity in coaching and management in the NFL. Jeremi’s book Advancing the Ball (Oxford University Press, 2012) tells the story of the NFL’s adoption of the Rooney Rule, and he regularly meets with administrators of leagues and associations outside the US regarding the value of this policy on interviewing coaches of color. In this piece, Jeremi argues for something like the Rooney Rule in promoting the hiring of minority coaches in the English Premier League. You can follow Jeremi on Twitter at @njeremiduru.
Deb Waterhouse-Watson is a faculty member in the Centre for Comparative Literature & Cultural Studies at Monash University. Her research in literature, media, and communications ranges from female superheroes to contemporary vampire fiction. Deb grew up in family of dedicated Australian football fans, and she was for years a dues-paying member of the Hawthorn Football Club. But in the course of her doctoral research on Australian football and sexual assault, she discovered a decade-old episode of rape involving Hawthorn players and a club official. Her research led to the book Athletes, Sexual Assault, and ‘Trials by Media’ (Routledge, 2013), and it also brought the painful end of her loyalty to Hawthorn and her devotion to footy. In this review of a journalistic book on the sexual culture of Australian football, Deb discusses the need for broader discussion of sex, rape, power, and sport. Deb tweets at @DebWaterhouseW.
Jason Blake is a native Torontonian who has been living for close to two decades in Ljubljana, Slovenia. A professor of English at the University of Ljubljana, Jason has written a guidebook of the language for Slovenian students as well as guidebook of Slovenia for English-language visitors. He has also published translations of poetry and prose from Slovene and German. Jason’s book Canadian Hockey Literature (University of Toronto Press, 2010) is the first in-depth study of how Canada’s obsession with hockey is expressed in novels, short stories, and poetry. Only a few years ago, Jason’s Slovenian cable service finally began carrying NHL games. As he was drawn from his favorite European arts network to the Stanley Cup playoffs, Jason contemplated the supposed divide between sport and art.
Firdose Moonda is a South Africa-based correspondent for ESPN Cricinfo and ESPN FC. She has also written for the Sunday Times, The Age of Melbourne, Forbes Africa, and other newspapers and magazines. Her work might be in sports journalism, but Firdose’s interests are varied: she studied law and economics at university, and she would prefer to write about food and culture. What draws her to sport is the drama. Her all-time favorite book is The Arabian Nights–because a woman tells the stories. In this story for ESPN FC, Firdose asks why an African federation turns to a foreign coach, over a proven local coaches, for the national side. Firdose is on Twitter at @FirdoseM.
David J. Leonard is chair of the Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies at Washington State University. David writes for both academic journals and media sites on race in American popular culture, sport, and society. His book After Artest: The NBA and the Assault on Blackness (SUNY Press, 2012) looks at the league’s response to the 2004 Pistons-Pacers brawl, when Ron Artest chased a fan who had sprayed him with a drink and sparked a fight among players and fans. A former student of sociologist Harry Edwards, architect of the 1968 Olympic Project for Human Rights, David follows the example of his mentor in linking scholarly research with social criticism and activism. In a commentary for the Chronicle of Higher Education, he took on university athletics programs that sought to ban their players from using Twitter. David does plenty of tweeting himself. You can find him at @drdavidjleonard.
David Papineau is professor of philosophy at King’s College London. He has written several books, on topics such as consciousness, the philosophy of science, and philosophical concepts, for specialists, students, and general readers. In his time he has competed at soccer, rugby, field hockey, running, sailing, tennis, golf and especially cricket, and he follows an absurd number of sports around the world. He writes about the interconnection of sport and philosophy on his blog More Important Than That, covering issues like citizenship and sporting eligibility, the psychology of choking, road cycle racing and the logic of altruism, and the explanation of sporting dynasties. He doesn’t expect to run out of topics soon. In this post, he addresses the question of why we choose to become fans of certain clubs or athletes. Be sure to read all the way to the end. David tweets at @davidpapineau.