Sunday, November 29, 2015

Call for Papers: The Beautiful Game: The Poetics and Aesthetics of Soccer in Transnational Perspective

The Beautiful Game: The Poetics and Aesthetics of Soccer in Transnational Perspective
University of Basel
June 30-July 2, 2016

Confirmed Speakers:
Simon Critchley (New School for Social Research)
Eva Lavric (University of Innsbruck)
Emily Ryall (University of Gloucestershire)

This conference, scheduled to take place during the 2016 European Championship and hosted by the University of Basel’s Department of English, takes up soccer with a special focus on its poetics and aesthetics. The conference particularly seeks to scrutinize the poetics and aesthetics of the game in light of comparative as well as transnational, transcontinental, and global perspectives. In doing so, it aims to shed light on the poetics and aesthetics of all aspects of soccer, from the actual game to fan chants and choreographies, from representations in the arts to the aesthetics of media coverage, from the poetics of live commentary to institutional image cultivation (MLS, FIFA, UEFA, etc.), from aspects of design (jerseys, balls) to recent developments in stadium architecture. Given this range and diversity of the forms in which the poetics and aesthetics of soccer manifest themselves, the conference by necessity is interdisciplinary in nature, with possible contributions coming from fields such as literary and cultural studies, philosophy, linguistics, visual studies and the arts, design, and architecture to name but a few.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:
• the poetics and aesthetics of the game
• “skill,” “creativity,” “intuition,” and “style” in soccer
• soccer and the notions of the beautiful and the sublime
• fan chants
• fan choreographies
• Ultra aesthetics
• the aesthetics (and politics) of institutional image cultivation via the staging of events such as opening ceremonies, fixture draws, player award ceremonies, etc.
• languages of/in soccer
• the poetics and rhetoric of soccer live commentary
• the poetics, rhetoric, and aesthetics of soccer media coverage
• representations of soccer in the arts (including literature and film)
• the aesthetics of stadium architecture
• design in soccer: jerseys, balls, gear, club emblems, etc.

In addition to academic talks, the conference will also include an art event, exhibiting some of the original art that is the basis for tschuttiheftli’s sticker collection they create for every World Cup and European Championship (

Please send your 300-word abstracts and 100-word bios to:

The deadline for submissions is December 14, 2015. The conference organizers plan to publish a collection of essays based on selected contributions to the conference.

Conference Organizers:
Dr. phil. des. Ridvan Askin and Dr. Catherine Diederich, Department of English, University of Basel, Nadelberg 6, CH-4051 Basel

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