Sports, Politics & Cultural Transformation: The Evolution of Sports Around the World

Distinguished speaker series, Dr. Andrei MarkovitsOn Nov. 12, Dr. Andrei Markovits will speak as part of the College of Sciences Distinguished Speaker Series in Winter Park at Cocina 214.  Guests are asked to arrive at or before 6:00pm for drinks, to order dinner and mingle with the speaker.  The talk begins promptly at 6:30pm.  Please be sure to RSVP online at

Markovits will be speaking about “Sports, Politics, & Cultural Transformation.”

While the recent World Cup created a veritable national hysteria in the United States, the game of soccer still remains way behind the North American Big Four of baseball, football, basketball and hockey in terms of its cultural proliferation and popular reception. Why?

How did this North American difference arise?

Dr. Markovits will highlight how in the course of the late 18th and throughout the 19th centuries, modern sports arose out of previously disparate local games and physical activities. He will then trace how a few team sports played with ball-like contraptions emerged into cultural behemoths that have come to engulf billions of people (still mainly of the male persuasion). By analyzing these constructs in terms of their common class-related and gender-defining identities, the lecture will highlight how our globalized world has both changed former patterns yet continues to maintain old traditions.

About the Speaker

Andrei S. Markovits is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Karl W. Deutsch Collegiate Professor of Comparative Politics and German Studies at the University of Michigan.

Born in the West Romanian town of Timisoara to a middle class Hungarian speaking Jewish family, Markovits lived his first nine years there learning three languages. After a nine-year stint in Vienna, Austria, where he finished his secondary education in that country’s top school, Markovits proceeded to study at the Columbia University in New York City, from which he received five degrees. In 1975, he joined the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, where he remained a Fellow until 1992. He was an Assistant Professor at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut from 1977 until 1983 and an Associate Professor from 1983 until 1992 at Boston University. Thereafter he joined the faculty of the University of California, Santa Cruz as a professor until 1999, when he assumed his current position at the University of Michigan.

Markovits has published widely on topics as diverse as Austrian and German politics; European social democracy; European anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism; German-Jewish relations; new social movements; as well as more recently on comparative sports cultures, especially in Europe and North America. His work has appeared in 15 languages. Markovits has been a visiting professor at universities in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Israel. He has won many teaching awards as well as prestigious fellowships. His most recent book is entitled “From Property to Family: American Dog Rescue and the Discourse of Compassion” published by the University of Michigan Press.

For more information on Dr. Andrei Markovits and to RSVP visit his Distinguished Speaker Series page.

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