1. Soccer as a Field of Study

Soccer takes on many forms around the world. For some, it is a “safe” and healthy game, full of orange slices, minivans, and parents watching on the sidelines from their lawn chairs. For others, it is a matter of life and death. Wear the wrong colors and it may cost you your life. In some societies, the sport is tied to ethnic, religious, class, or racial identities. Soccer can also be an almost-exclusively hyper-masculine social arena. And, in the case of countries like Argentina, it is followed with even more devotion and passion than any organized religion. 

We open HIS 4100 with a look at how soccer takes on greater meanings than just play. The readings selected are just a sample of how journalists, sociologists, economists, and others analyze soccer through an academic lens, and then convey their analysis to the general public or colleagues within their field of study.


  • Foer, Franklin. How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization. Reprint Edition. New York: Harper Perennial, 2010. Prologue & Chps 1-3 [Aug 29 & 31]
  • Foer, How Soccer Explains the World. Chps 5-7 [Sep 7]
  • Brannagan, Paul Michael, and Danyel Reiche. Qatar and the 2022 FIFA World Cup: Politics, Controversy, Change. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022. Chps 1-2, 4 [Sep 12-14]