Next week our Soccer Politics class here at Duke University we are transitioning to a virtual classroom, and the first Zoom lecture/discussion will be about Peter Alegi’s excellent book African Soccerscapes. The book takes us on a journey through the history of football throughout the continent, exploring it’s spread during the colonial period, it’s role in anti-colonial movements, and the ways it has shaped the world’s game.
The Vice Sports episode below, about a contemporary rivalry in Algerian football, connects to one part of the story Alegi tells.
Students in the class: as you read, please offer some written comments below with reflections on some of the following questions:
Describe some of the contradictions and tensions surrounding the emergence of football in different colonial settings in Africa.
What roles did football play in anti-colonial movements and decolonization? Why was it able to play these roles?
Why did African styles of play and attitudes towards the game develop as they did? How has Africa impacted the global game?
This book was published in 2010. If you were to update it based on the last decade, what stories about African football would you include?
In addition, I encourage you to look for photographs or videos of some of the players and moments Alegi describes, and to share them either in the comments section below or, if you wish, in the form of your own longer blog posts.
We of course welcome comments from all others as well on these topics!