Protests, Sports, and Spectacle: Race and Dissent in a Global Context

This past week, North Dakota Quarterly editorial board member Eric Burin was on Jack Russell Weinstein’s Why? radio show on Fargo’s Prairie Public Radio. Eric discusses his forthcoming book project Protesting on Bended Knee: Race, Dissent, and Patriotism in 21st Century America which brings together over 30 essays considering Colin Kaepernick, protests, race, and sports in the United States (including one from Sharon Carson, former NDQ editor and member of the editorial board!). You can listen to the interview here. The book will be published this fall as a free download by The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota.

Eric’s interview was a thoughtful engagement with the social and historical complexity of protests, race, and spectacle in the U.S. But with the men’s soccer World Cup reaching its climax over the next week, it is also important to remember that sporting have served as an an important venue for protests on a global scale.

One of the contributors to Eric’s volume, historian Andrew Wegmann, analyzes a 2001 soccer match in Paris between France and its former colony of Algeria, an event that was supposed to represent a reconciliation between the two countries and the advent of a welcoming, tolerant “New France”; but the game was disrupted by Algerian immigrants who stormed the field, prompting France’s star player Lilian Thuram, himself a black immigrant from Martinique, to lash out at them, not because, as some naysayers carped, they had unpatriotically betrayed the nation, but rather on account of what Thuram deemed their immature, counterproductive protest methods.

You can check out his essay here.

For more on Eric’s forthcoming book, Protesting on Bended Knee: Race, Dissent, and Patriotism in 21st Century America, and another sneak peek, go here.

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