Popular Culture, Sport and Leisure History Seminar – Mon, 5 Jun: Cricket Tours in the High Noon of Empire

Imperial Wanderers: Cricket Tours in the High Noon of Empire, c. 1890–1914

Speaker: Dr Prashant Kidambi (University of Leicester)

In the late Victorian and early Edwardian era, three amateur cricket teams from Britain toured colonial India. This paper explores the politics of the English cricketing visits to India. The first section sets these trips within the broader context of sporting tours in the British Empire during the 1890s, a singular decade in which such ventures became freighted with imperial meanings to an extent that was hitherto unprecedented. The following section illustrates how the English cricket tours of India became implicated in the racial discourses and practices of the Raj. The final section shows how these tours exacerbated tensions between European and Indian cricketers in colonial India and rendered hollow the frequently expressed claim that sport deepened the bond between rulers and ruled. Notably, the Parsi cricketers of Bombay showed that Indians could succeed at the imperial game by inflicting defeats on all three visiting teams. In turn, their sporting triumphs emboldened the colonised to affirm the principle of parity within an unequal society, a claim that was deeply resented by the Anglo-Indian Raj.

Dr Prashant Kidambi is Associate Professor in Colonial Urban History in the Department of History at the University of Leicester. He is the author of The Making of an Indian Metropolis: Colonial Governance and Public Culture in Bombay, 1890–1920 (2007), and has also had articles published in The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Journal of Urban History, and Planning Perspectives.


Time and Date: 5:15 PM, Monday, 5th June.
Location: John S. Cohen Room (203), Institute of Historical Research (Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU).

All are welcome. The full seminar programme can be found here: http://www.history.ac.uk/events/seminar/sport-leisure-history. For more information about the seminar, please contact us at bsshsouth@gmail.com.

You can also join the BSSH South mailing list by following this link: https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?SUBED1=SPORT-AND-LEISURE-HISTORY&A=1, visit our website at https://bsshsouth.wordpress.com, and follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BSSHSouth.

Mon, 22 May – Popular Culture, Sport and Leisure History Seminar: ‘Mobutu, Sport and Zairean Identity, 1965-1974’

More than a Game? Mobutu, Sport and Zairian Identity, 1965–1974

Speaker: Conor Hefernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Famous or perhaps more fittingly, infamous for his excessive patronage and spending, the late Zairian Dictator, Joseph Mobutu has long been a subject of historical interest. Nevertheless, despite numerous studies into the political and social functioning of his post-colonial regime, little has been done on the centrality of sport for the Zairian State in its tentative years. Placing sport within a broader Zairian and international context, this talk argues that boxing and football were used by the Zairian dictator as a means of forging a new identity for his state, both domestically and internationally. Used to unite his people and aggrandise himself, Mobutu adeptly repositioned his image through the use of sport. Something his comrades were all too aware of. In 1975, Zaire’s ruling party the MPR boldly stated that ‘in Zaire, we do not consider sport as a mere amusement, but as a socio-cultural political phenomenon’. Unpacking this statement, the talk will discuss how sport became so intertwined with politics in the new State with special reference to the Heavyweight Boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman held in Zaire in 1974 and the Zairian football team’s mixed experience at the 1974 World Cup.

Conor Heffernan is currently undertaking a PhD in the Department of History at Trinity College Dublin. He has previously had articles published in Sport in History and Sporting Traditions.


Time and Date: 5:15 PM, Monday, 22nd May.

Location: John S. Cohen Room (203), Institute of Historical Research (Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU).

All are welcome. The full seminar programme can be found here: http://www.history.ac.uk/events/seminar/sport-leisure-history. For more information about the seminar, please contact us at bsshsouth@gmail.com.

You can also join the BSSH South mailing list by following this link: https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?SUBED1=SPORT-AND-LEISURE-HISTORY&A=1, visit our website at https://bsshsouth.wordpress.com, and follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BSSHSouth.

Popular Culture, Sport and Leisure History Seminar – Mon, 24 Apr: ‘Imperial Pride and Admiration for America in ‘Modern Wonder’ Discourse in Britain in the Late 1930s’

Imperial Pride and Admiration for America in ‘Modern Wonder’ Discourse in Britain in the Late 1930s

Speaker: Dr John Law (University of Westminster)

This paper develops the idea of ‘the modern wonder’ to consider public discourse on modernity in Britain in the period immediately before the Second World War, a time when writing about modernity was reaching a peak. Modern wonders were portrayed in a variety of media, ranging from cigarette cards to boys’ story papers, books, and magazines for the less demanding adult reader. Central to many of these efforts as editor and writer was bogus ‘Professor’ Archibald Low. An analysis of his and other modern wonder material published in 1938, shows a tension between an unrestrained admiration for American technological leadership and longstanding British imperial pride. The former component was informed by the process of Americanization, which gave Britons a comprehensive understanding of life in the United States. The latter component demonstrated a complex set of feelings that embraced traditional racist tropes, admiration for the white dominions and a feeling of dismay that if only Americans would notice what Britons could achieve they would be very impressed.

Dr John Law is a Research Fellow in the Department of History, Sociology and Criminology at the University of Westminster. He is the author of The Experience of Suburban Modernity: How Private Transport Changed Interwar London (2014) and 1930s London – The Modern City (2015), and co-author of The Roadhouse Comes to Britain: Drinking, Driving and Dancing, 1925–1955 (2017).


Time and Date: 5:15 PM, Monday, 24th April.

Location: Past & Present Room (202), Institute of Historical Research (Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU).

Popular Culture, Sport and Leisure History Seminar – Summer Programme

Popular Culture, Sport and Leisure History Seminar

Summer 2017 Programme

Semester Theme: Popular Culture, Empire and Imperialism

 

24 Apr:       Dr John Law (University of Westminster)

Imperial Pride and Admiration for America in ‘Modern wonder’ Discourse in Britain in the Late 1930s

 

22 May:       Dr Conor Heffernan (Trinity College Dublin)

More than a Game? Mobutu, Sport and Zairian Identity, 1965–1974

 

5 Jun:          Dr Prashant Kidambi (University of Leicester)

Imperial Wanderers: Cricket Tours in the High Noon of Empire, c. 1890–1914

 

19 Jun:        Dr Ludivine Broch (University of Westminster)

The Merci Train: Post-War France in 52,000 Objects

 

The Popular Culture, Sport and Leisure History Seminar is part of the BSSH South Sport and Leisure History Network. The seminars take place in the Past & Present Room (202) of the Institute of Historical Research (Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU) at 5:15 PM on Mondays fortnightly.

Popular Culture, Sport and Leisure History Seminar – Mon, 20 Mar: ‘Competing Corporatized Memories in Contemporary British Professional Wrestling’

A Historic and Triumphant Return? Competing Corporatized Memories in Contemporary British Professional Wrestling

Speaker: Dr Benjamin Litherland (University of Huddersfield)

This paper explores competing historical narratives in two recent professional wrestling texts, and the way memory and nostalgia are utilised for contemporary brand narratives. British professional wrestling was a pillar of popular culture in the 1960s and 70s, featuring on ITV’s weekly World of Sport programming. By the 1980s, however, due to shifting priorities at the broadcaster and changing political-economic contexts, World of Sport and then televised British professional wrestling were cancelled. Wrestlers from that era have not been forgotten, though. Characters like Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks and Kendo Nagasaki have been maintained in fan sites, popular publications, documentaries and other similar materials. Nor was World of Sport’s cancellation the death of British wrestling. Professional wrestling has been cultivated in independent promotions, and over the past several years (re)emerged as a global centre for the sport.

Seeking to capitalize on those successes, British professional wrestling has returned to mainstream screens. Firstly, on New Year’s Day 2016, ITV screened World of Sport Wrestling, a two-hour special of matches showcasing contemporary British talent combined with short ‘history’ vignettes. Secondly, in January 2017, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) aired on their network the two night, 16-man tournament to crown the first ever WWE U.K. Champion. In both broadcasts and in paratexts surrounding them, the ‘history’ of British wrestling was a prominent discourse, yet both presented very different versions of the same history that rarely acknowledged the other. That media companies actively construct and sell their own histories is not surprising: wrestling history is complicated by questions of kayfabe and performance, and the WWE has excelled in this form of corporate memory making. Rarely, however, have they competed to such a degree to control how those histories are presented. This paper provides a short history of British wrestling and the WWE in Europe and analyses these two shows’ construction of history and online fans reactions and responses to them.


Dr Benjamin Litherland is a Lecturer within the Media and Journalism group at the University of Huddersfield. He is the co-editor of Sport’s Relationship with other Leisure Industries: Historical Perspectives (2017), and has also had articles published in Celebrity Studies, Journal of Historical Research in Marketing and Sport in History.

Time and Date: 5:15 PM, Monday, 20th March.

Location: Past & Present Room (202), Institute of Historical Research (Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU).

All are welcome. The full seminar programme can be found here: http://www.history.ac.uk/events/seminars/248. For more information about the seminar, please contact us at bsshsouth@gmail.com.

You can also join the BSSH South mailing list by following this link: https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?SUBED1=SPORT-AND-LEISURE-HISTORY&A=1, visit our website at https://bsshsouth.wordpress.com, and follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BSSHSouth.

Popular Culture, Sport and Leisure History Seminar – Monday, 6 March: ‘Industry, Leisure and Regeneration along Teesside’s ‘Steel River”

From Victorian Blast Furnaces to Twenty-First Century Bungee Jumps: Industry, Leisure and Regeneration along Teesside’s ‘Steel River’

Speaker: Dr Tosh Warwick (Middlesbrough Council and Leeds Beckett University)

This paper will explore the role of leisure and sport in shifting identities amidst regeneration schemes along Teesside’s ‘steel river’. Previously at the heart of Middlesbrough’s emergence as a Victorian boom town, the Tees was central in shipping the iron and steel from the factories, foundries and furnaces which adorned its banks across the globe. With the iron and steel manufacturing gone amidst wider industrial decline, the Tees has been reinvented as a river which, whilst continuing to serve the chemical industries of the district, had evolved into a location for leisure and extreme sports making use of industrial heritage and the post iron and steel landscape.

Dr Tosh Warwick is Heritage Development Officer at Middlesbrough Council and Lecturer in History at Leeds Beckett University. He previously completed his doctoral thesis, entitled ‘Middlesbrough’s Steel Magnates: Business, Culture and Participation, 1880–1934’ at the University of Huddersfield.  He is author of Central Middlesbrough Through Time (2013) and co-author of River Tees: From Source to Sea (2016).


Time and Date: 5:15 PM, Monday, 6th March.

Location: Past & Present Room (202), Institute of Historical Research (Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU).

All are welcome. The full seminar programme can be found here: http://www.history.ac.uk/events/seminars/248. For more information about the seminar, please contact us at bsshsouth@gmail.com.

Popular Culture, Sport and Leisure History Seminar – Monday, 20 Feb: ‘Experiences and Exploitation of Nostalgia amongst Football Fans’

Experiences and Exploitation of Nostalgia amongst Football Fans

Speaker: Dr Chris Stride (University of Sheffield)

This paper takes a quantitative approach to investigating football fan experiences of nostalgia, considering the potential triggers that arouse nostalgia, the relationship between nostalgic feelings and age, and the increasing sophisticated ways in which football clubs leverage their heritage in nostalgia-based marketing strategies. A survey of fans attending the last match at their club’s old ground before a move suggests that their past degree of allegiance is a greater predictor of their level of nostalgia than their present commitment – and that attending football for social reasons, as opposed to for the sport on offer, has the greatest positive effect on the likelihood of experiencing nostalgia. A study of fan’s favourite shirt designs from the past indicates that, despite the potential for ‘second-hand nostalgia’, and the wide variation in design styles over the past 40 years, it is shirts from fan’s teenage years that are strongly preferred. However, these nostalgic feelings are most keenly felt in middle age, with the oldest fans showing little consensus preference between eras. Finally, the paper looks at how clubs have attempted to evoke and tap into these feelings. Previous research has shown that experiencing nostalgia boosts a fan’s commitment to his or her team. This paper argues that if clubs are designing heritage exhibits and stadium branding to evoke nostalgia, such as halls of fame or statues, they are showing patchy recognition of what fans feel most nostalgia for, and the ages at which they feel it.

Dr Chris Stride is a Senior Lecturer and Statistician in the Management School at the University of Sheffield. He has co-authored articles that have appeared in journals including International Journal of the History of Sport, Sport in Society and Sport in History.


Time and Date: 5:15 PM, Monday, 20th February.

Location: Past & Present Room (202), Institute of Historical Research (Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU).

All are welcome. The full seminar programme can be found here: http://www.history.ac.uk/events/seminars/248. For more information about the seminar, please contact us at bsshsouth@gmail.com.

You can also join the BSSH South mailing list by following this link: https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?SUBED1=SPORT-AND-LEISURE-HISTORY&A=1, visit our website at https://bsshsouth.wordpress.com, and follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BSSHSouth.