Friday May 06, 2022

Episode 99: Towards a Public Sociology of Sport

This episode is quite different from our normal releases – rather than an interview or monologue about harm in contemporary sport, we are actually publishing a panel session on the importance of public sports scholarship, particularly in the context of a global pandemic. This episode was recorded in Montreal on April 22, 2022 at the annual meeting of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, or NASSS as you’ll hear in the episode.

The episode starts with Derek urging us to consider the place of both academic conferences – and more specifically, the role that in-person only conferences hold in our fields. In the lead up to organizing this panel, we had been thinking about ways in which we can make our work more accessible and more widely available for folks who may not have access to the ivory tower and/or the ability to attend NASSS – not to mention the desire given that we are still in the midst of a global pandemic. Since this panel was focused on the importance of critical public scholarship, we thought….how can we have such a panel that is entirely paywalled in the ivory tower and inaccessible for folks who are not comfortable returning to in-person events? We decided the only way to actually put such a panel on was to – despite a lack of support from the association – put the event on in a hybrid manner. 

We think that we must start resisting the decisions of the academic communities in which we are part of – and doing it vocally and loudly. When thinking of the ways in which we can mobilize against an academic system that contributes to inequality, I think we need to look at small forms of resistance and disobedience to build momentum. The academy has LONG been willingly complicit in erecting some of the most harmful systems of oppression and discrimination, so taking that on requires a concerted effort from us all. So I will simply close with a call to all scholars on conference planning committees, association executive boards, or editorial boards, or any other influential position in our disciplines, to loudly object to exclusionary decisions that are made even if it puts our positions at risk. 

Huge thanks to our panelists! Please check out their brilliant work. 

Letisha Brown, assistant professor at Virginia Tech and incoming assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati. Letisha has published numerous brilliant public pieces in First and Pen, Engaging Sports and The Shadow League and has appeared on podcasts including Crossing the Lane Lines, The Black Athlete Podcast, and is also a friend of the EoS show!

Courtney Szto is an assistant professor at Queens University and author of the 2022 NASSS Outstanding Book Award for Changing on the Fly: Hockey Through the Voices of South Asian Canadians published with Rutgers University Press in 2020. Courtney is managing editor for Hockey in Society, Associate Editor for Engaging Sports, and executive producer of “Revolutions,” a documentary on bike waste and the circular economy premiering tomorrow here at NASSS at 3:30 in Salon 1. Courtney has also appeared on or published in The Globe and Mail, Sports Illustrated, Rabble, Interrupt Magazine, CBC’s The Current, and on a number of podcasts. 

Jules Boykoff is a professor of politics and government at Pacific University and author of NOlympians: Inside the Fight Against Capitalist Mega-Sports in Los Angeles, Tokyo and Beyond, published in 2020 with Fernwood, Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics, published with Verso in 2016, among many others. Jules has also been an active public scholar, publishing on myriad topics in outlets such as The Washington Post, The New York times, The Nation, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, NBC News Think and many others. Jules has also appeared on television on the BBC, Democracy Now, CBC, CNN, and Al Jazeera. 

Victoria Jackson, a Clinical Assistant Professor at Arizona State University who has published in the Los Angeles times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Slate, The Independent, and the Athletic, where she has recently joined as a contributor to the culture vertical. Victoria has also appeared on 60 Minutes to discuss American college sports and is a frequent podcast, radio, TV, and documentary film commentator on sport and society. 

Tracie Canada, is an assistant professor of Anthropology, concurrent faculty in Africana Studies, and affiliated with the Initiative on Race and Resilience at the University of Notre Dame. Tracie is finishing her book about the lived experiences of Black college football players, tentatively titled Tackling the Everyday: Race, Family, and Nation in Big-time College Football. Tracie has published a number of public pieces in outlets like Black Perspectives, Scientific American, SAPIENS, Fieldsights, and Anthropology News. 

And finally Nathan Kalman-Lamb is a Lecturing Fellow at Duke University. Nathan is the author of Game Misconduct: Injury, Fandom, and the Business of Sport, published with Fernwood in 2018, and has authored a number of public pieces in outlets such as LA Times, The Guardian, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Time Magazine, The Daily Beast, Jacobin, and many others. Finally, Nathan is a co-host of The End of Sport Podcast. 



For a transcription of this episode, please click here. (Updated semi-regularly Credit @punkademic)

Research Assistance for The End of Sport provided by Abigail Bomba.


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