Author Archives: Laurent Dubois

About Laurent Dubois

I am Professor of Romance Studies and History and the Director of the Forum for Scholars & Publics at Duke University. I founded the Soccer Politics blog in 2009 as part of a course on "World Cup and World Politics" taught at Duke University. I'm currently teaching the course under the title "Soccer Politics" here at Duke. My books include Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France and the forthcoming The Language of the Game: How to Understand Soccer.

Pelada & the Wonder of the Game

The film Pelada started as a student project at Duke University, when Gwendolyn Oxenham, Ryan White, and Rebekah Fergusson — along with Luke Boughen, who was a student at Notre Dame — got funding from CDS and the Provost’s office to start travelling around the world looking for, and filming, pick-up games. The result is… Read More »

Reading Galeano

Eduardo Galeano’s Soccer in Sun and Shadow is one of the most lauded books written about soccer to this day. Rather than providing a standard ‘nuts and bolts’ account of the game, forcing the reader to sift through countless names, dates and statistics, Galeano instead provides his readers with 150 short sketches about the game.… Read More »

Soccer as Ritual, and Being on the Pitch with Zidane

The French anthropologist Christian Bromberger has studied and written about football games as a kind of ritual that provides an “inexhaustible terrain of interpretation” for those who participate and watch. In his French-language book “Le match de football,” he studied how crowds experienced and interpreted games in the European football heartlands of Marseille, Milan, and… Read More »

The “I Believe” Chant: A Brief History

During Friday afternoon’s student protests at Duke University, the crowd approaching the Allen Building (which was occupied that afternoon by nine students, who are still in the building as of today), broke into a very particular chant, as seen here in a video posted by the Duke Chronicle.   They repeated the chant on Saturday… Read More »

The Forgotten Early History of Women’s Soccer

Gail Newsham’s book In a League of Their Own! offers a unique account of the early history of women’s soccer in England. There is surprisingly little work on the history of women’s soccer in general, and particularly on its early period. Newsham’s research was pioneering in that she was able to gather together documentation on… Read More »

Football as Ritual

The French anthropologist Christian Bromberger has studied and written about football games as a kind of ritual that provides an “inexhaustible terrain of interpretation” for those who participate and watch. In his French-language book “Le match de football,” he studied how crowds experienced and interpreted games in the European football heartlands of Marseille, Milan, and… Read More »

The Stade de France: A History in Fragments

(Originally posted at Africa is A Country on November 15th, 2015) The French national team player Patrice Evra was dribbling up the pitch when the second bomb exploded. Two minutes earlier, the same thing had happened: a loud, resonating explosion heard by the 65,000 fans gathered to watch a friendly match between Germany and France.… Read More »