Call for Papers | Essay collection on the history of sport in Berlin | Call ends November 15, 2021



      • Heather Dichter (De Montfort University)
      • Molly Wilkinson Johnson (University of Alabama in Huntsville)
Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele win’s the men’s Berlin Marathon 2019 with the second-fastest time in history

While Berlin is most known within sport as the host of the 1936 Olympic Games, often called the Nazi Olympics, the city has a rich and long sporting tradition. From sporting activities pre-dating the German Empire through the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, two world wars, the divided Cold War states, and reunified Germany, Berlin has held a major place within German sport. In addition to the infamous 1936 Summer Olympics and the iconic performances of athletes such as Jesse Owens, Berlin has been the site of numerous sporting events including socialist sport festivals and the 2006 FIFA World Cup final, with nearly 1 million fans at the public Fanmeile leading to the Brandenburg Gate. Meanwhile, the city’s population has participated in sport and recreational activities in formal clubs, at times demonstrating affinity to religious, political, or social groups. Likewise, Berlin residents have often engaged in unorganized independent athletic recreation an act which could even serve as a form of opposition.

This essay collection will explore Berlin as a sports city, and the history of sport in Berlin, from a range of historical perspectives (political, social, cultural, diplomatic, environmental, global, media, and others). While we welcome submissions pertaining to Berlin’s history as a host of sport mega-events, we also encourage submissions pertaining to lesser-known histories of sport and physical activity in Berlin.

Potential topics include:

      • research on specific sports and local clubs in Berlin, such as equestrianism, football, handball, ice hockey, or Turnen
      • eighteenth- and nineteenth-century sport
      • religious or political sport
      • physical activity or sport as recreation
      • alternative or lifestyle sports
      • sport and education
      • sport and urban planning in Berlin
      • sport and the media, marketing, consumer culture, or globalization
      • sport and identity
      • sport and immigration
      • large-scale sporting events
      • sport tourism
      • sport and Berlin’s environment

Papers including intersectional analyses of Berlin as a sports city, or focusing on gender and/or sexuality, race and/or ethnicity, media, and politics are particularly welcome.

Please send questions to Heather Dichter at

To submit a proposal for consideration, email the abstract (500 words) and a short bio by November 15, 2021 to both and

Once the selection of papers has been decided (December 2021), papers of 6,000 words maximum (including references) would be due to the editors by JUNE 15, 2022. Revised chapters will be due late 2022 with expected publication of the book in late 2023.

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