Sports Culture in Latin American History

This collection showcases an impressive array of scholarship that employs new and traditional sources to highlight the importance of athletes, who often find themselves at the intersection of discussions about race, gender, nation, civic identity, and public space. Seamlessly weaves national identity, gendered discourse, civic life, and ethnicity from one chapter to the next. This volume privileges the human body over organized sports and presents physicality as a connective tissue. Across eight chapters, authors imbue athletes with symbolic and social significance as mediators of longstanding dichotomies across the region. This compilation will be welcomed by Latin Americanists searching for an accessible and varied collection to use in undergraduate courses on popular culture, as well as by sports scholars seeking to deepen their breadth of coverage of sports in the Global South.
Journal of Social History

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Perhaps no other activity is more synonymous with passion, identity, bodily ideals, and the power of place than sport. As the essays in this volume show, the function of sport as a historical and cultural marker is particularly relevant in Latin America. From the late nineteenth century to the present, the contributors reveal how sport opens a wide window into local, regional, and national histories. The essays examine the role of sport as a political vehicle, in claims to citizenship, as a source of community and ethnic pride, as a symbol of masculinity or feminism, as allegorical performance, and in many other purposes.
Sports Culture in Latin American History juxtaposes analyses of better-known activities such as boxing and soccer with first peoples’ athletics in Argentina, Cholita wrestling in Bolivia, the African-influenced martial art of capoeira, Japanese Brazilian gateball, the “Art Deco” body ideal for postrevolutionary Mexican women, Jewish soccer fans in Argentina and transgressive behavior at matches, and other topics. The contributors view the local origins and adaptations of these athletic activities and their significance as insightful narrators of history and culture.

about the editor

David M. K. Sheinin

David M. K. Sheinin is professor of history at Trent University and académico correspondiente of the Academia Nacional de la Historia de la República Argentina.

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David M. K. Sheinin