Call for Papers | “Sport and history in small states and non-sovereign territories”, Special Issue of International Journal of the History of Sport | Call ends May 31, 2024


Special issue editors:
Iceland’s Amanda Andradottir (16) shoots against Czech Republic’s Jitka Chlastakova (13) during the She Believes Cup soccer match Feb. 20, 2022, in Carson, CA. Iceland won 2–1 and ended as runner-up behind the United States. (Shutterstock/Ringo Chiu)

In the first issue of the new journal Small States & Territories, released in 2018, Godfrey Baldacchino proclaimed the “mainstreaming” of the study of small states and territories. He used the example of the recent success of the Iceland men’s football team at EURO2016 as a means towards critiquing the mainstream treatment of small states’ successes in various arenas as being curios and oddities, with little attempt to understand the context of such successes and their limitations. Whilst Iceland’s specific case may have been discussed by Vidar Halldorsson in his 2017 book, and indeed other texts have examined the politics of small states and non-sovereign territories, there is nevertheless still a significant historiographical gap within Anglophone literature on the topic.

Defining “small states” is difficult. In a 2009 article, Matthias Maass noted that scholars had different criteria, such as permanent population, land area, national gross domestic product relative to the global economy, and military power. The Commonwealth, however, defines “small states” strictly in terms of population: i.e. states with 1.5 million permanent residents or less. Additionally, non-sovereign territories have a variety of sizes and relationships with “parent” countries: “territories”, “dependencies”, “commonwealths”, or even other “stateless nations” which are formally incorporated into the metropolitan state, and thus struggle for recognised status. Some of these territories, unrecognised or not, might have no military power, but have populations which far exceed some small states.

The relevance of small states and territories to global sport culture is typically acknowledged in the background. Brian Stoddart in 1988 noted as much when discussing the importance of small states to the rise of Caribbean and West Indies cricket. But acknowledging small states and territories as a particular foci for the historical study of sport has been much more rare, with some exceptions, including: Evelyne Combeau-Mari (Réunion), Antonio Sotomayor (Puerto Rico), Gareth Stockey (Gibraltar), Peter Gold (Gibraltar), Matthew L McDowell (the Falkland Islands, the Isle of Man), and Simon Vaukins (the Isle of Man). Some of these studies include small states which no longer exist, including Newfoundland (Fred Mason, Osvaldo Croci) and Saarland (Alec Hurley).

This special issue seeks to redress that balance. Potential topics include (but are not limited to):

      • Histories of sports and individual events and phenomena in small states and territories
      • Histories of small states’ and territories’ struggle for recognition from international sporting federations
      • Histories of traditional sports and activities in small states and territories
      • Histories of international sporting events and competitions in which small states and territories have played a visible role
      • Biographical examinations of key personalities involved in sport within small states and territories
      • Critical examinations of the relationship between empire, de-/post-colonialism, and sport and history within small states and territories
      • Histories of sporting organisations and governance within small states and territories
      • The historic relationship of sport with disputes over sovereignty within small states and territories
      • Historic sport and diplomacy involving small states and territories.

Potential articles must be based on primary historical research, and be structured as history articles. However, the editors take an expansive view of definitions of “small states” and “territories”: we hope to provoke debate on these categorisations, and we will discuss this in the introduction.

If you are interested in being a part of this special issue, please submit a 150-word abstract to the above editors by Friday, 31 May 2024.

We would be looking to publish this special issue by the end of 2025. Thus, if your abstract is accepted by the editors, we would expect the first draft to be submitted by Monday, 2 December 2024. We will have more details on submission at a later date.


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