Call for Papers | “Reinforcing, Crossing, and Transcending Borders: Soccer in a Globalized World” | International conference, September 5–6 2017, Athens, Greece. Call ends May 20, 2017

Following up on its 2016 conference, “Soccer as a Global Phenomenon,” The Weatherhead Initiative on Global History (WIGH) at Harvard University is happy to announce a second event, “Reinforcing, Crossing, and Transcending  Borders: Soccer in a Globalized World,” hosted by Olympiacos F.C. in Athens, Greece.

Austria v. Congo, 2007.

Referred to as the global game and embodying many different aspects of globalization, soccer has increasingly become the focus of scholarly research, the topic of media inquiry and the subject of creative work looking to understand the sport from both a local and a global perspective. Recognizing the importance of borders and border crossings to soccer’s growth into a major sport and to soccer’s relation to cultural, economic, political and social issues, this conference will look to examine how borders, boundaries and international movement have influenced the sport’s development.  In hopes of gaining a broad perspective, we are interested in submissions that include but are not exclusive to subjects such as: players and coaches who have played and coached abroad, fans who root from a distance, clubs who are concerned with global justice, the impact social media has had on the game’s international allure, and the influence national and local teams and regional and international governing bodies have had on immigration discussions. The conference will focus on these types of issues with the hopes of better understanding how soccer’s institutional framework, governing practices and international reach both facilitate border crossings, reify boundaries, and create global spaces.

We are seeking proposals from scholars at all stages of their academic career, including graduate students, who wish to present their original research on a variety of topics dealing with different cultural, economic, political and social issues related to soccer and borders. We are also open to groups who would like to propose roundtable topics and to filmmakers or video producers who would like to preview work related to these subjects. In order to ensure that we have global coverage of these topics, we especially welcome contributions from individuals outside North America and Europe.

Submission Guidelines

  • Please submit a single combined doc or pdf file including an abstract of no more than 500 words and a brief CV to wigh@fas.harvard.eduwith the subject line “Borders2017.”
  • In the body of the email, please include your name, affiliation, and the title of your project.
  • If you would like to propose a screening, please send us a proposal, and, if we are interested in your film, we will a request a production submission.
  • We recommend including a header with your name on every page of your submission.
  • In the case of papers or films with multiple contributors, we are only able to cover transportation costs for one person.

Paper Proposals are due May 20th, 2017. Late proposals will not be accepted.

Applicants will be notified in June 2017. If accepted, you will be asked for a draft paper by August 15th.  We hope to cover all (economy class) travel costs, accommodation and meals, pending the availability of funds.


  • Sven Beckert, Laird Bell Professor of History, Harvard University
  • Stephen Ortega, Associate Professor of History, Simmons College
  • Yağmur Nuhrat, Instructor of Sociology, Bilgi University
  • Daren Graves, Associate Professor of Education, Simmons College

Initiator of Conference Series: Cemal Kafadar, Vehbi Koç Professor of Turkish Studies,
Harvard University
Contact Email:


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