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Transnational Stereotypes in Professional Wrestling during the Early Twentieth Century in Spain

Carlos García-Martí and Raúl Sánchez-García

This paper analyzes how professional wrestling expanded stereotyped race, national, and class images toward the Spanish public in the first two decades of the twentieth century. The professional wrestling circuit of music halls, theaters, and circuses helped connect a myriad of grappling practices spanning different national traditions. Nonetheless, it also helped convey different racial, ethnic, and national images within a frame of social class divide at a time of rampant imperialism and colonial domination. In this context, Spain experimented with a short-lived wrestling mania, with several international wrestling tournaments and jujutsu exhibitions before World War I. In these tournaments, both fighters and patrons exploited racial stereotypes as a way to better sell the activity to the paying audience, connecting with, but also reinforcing, the perceptions that populated the collective imagination about different people, due to ethnicity or nationality linked also to social class.

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“Wrestling with Apartheid”: South Africa–US Amateur Wrestling Relations, Rebel Tours, and the Anti-Apartheid Movement, 1960–1991

Hendrik Snyders

From the onset, South African amateur wrestling, under the auspices of the SA Amateur Wrestling Union and its successors, was organized along racial lines and, under apartheid, it continued to cater exclusively to white amateurs. By 1970, it was suspended from the International Amateur Wrestling Federation. Denied participation in international competition, it resorted to rebel and boycott-busting tours involving a number of sympathetic countries and individuals in Europe, the Americas, and the Far East. Organized mostly clandestinely, it succeeded in offering international competition to the South African national wrestling team for almost two decades. One program, the Oregon Wrestling Cultural Exchange, was particularly strong. This US-based program generated strong opposition from the Amateur Athletics Association, the International Wrestling Federation, and several anti-apartheid organizations. It survived until the end of the 1980s, when the USA Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act (1986) and the campaigns of the anti-apartheid movement closed it down.

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Volume 52 (2021): Issue 1 (May 2021)

Open access


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L’UFOLEP et sa commission scolaire sous la Quatrième République française : de la réhabilitation à l’embellie d’une voie sportive laïque dans l’école élémentaire

Éric Claverie, Julien Krier, and Jean-François Loudcher

Cette recherche se propose d'éclairer la renaissance d’une fédération affinitaire sous la Quatrième République française, l’UFOLEP. Elle met l’accent sur les difficultés de reconstruction, puis sur la réussite à trouver un espace de développement. Celui-ci prend la voie de l'école élémentaire, par le biais de son ancienne commission scolaire : l’USEP. Dans ce cadre parascolaire, qui rayonne peu à peu à l’enseignement de l’EPS lui-même, l’USEP développe des innovations conformes à son éthique en faveur d’une éducation physique et d’un sport éducatif protégé des voies fédérales classiques. Cette orientation sportive (et non voie) s’accorde bien avec le registre doctrinal de la Ligue de l’Enseignement qui héberge ce mouvement sportif, autour d’une idée laïque repensée dans cette France d’après-guerre. En revanche l’UFOLEP peine à développer sa voie postscolaire qui, après s'être redressée, stagne.

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Sport and Recreation in Canadian History

Douglas Booth

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Puddings, Bullies, and Squashes: Early Public School Football Codes

Tim Chandler

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“Playing With Apartheid”: Irish and South African Rugby, 1964–1989 1

Chris Bolsmann

The struggle against apartheid was fought on many fronts. Internationally, the Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) across a number of countries engaged in a range of activities that highlighted the atrocities of the Pretoria regime and the plight of the majority in South Africa. An important site of struggle against apartheid was in the sports sphere. Ireland and the Irish AAM played a significant role in this regard. The AAMs in Australia, Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United States, among others, recorded victories against apartheid through demonstrations, boycotts, and the ban on participation of South African teams in international tours, tournaments, and events. A number of scholars have highlighted the role of the international AAM and its campaigns against apartheid sport. To date, historical studies of the anti-apartheid struggle and South African sport have primarily focused on Britain and New Zealand and, to a lesser extent, the United States. Irish sporting contacts with South Africa extend back over a century. Thus, focusing on the case study of Irish AAM activism against segregated sport further adds to the literature on the sports boycott and the struggle against apartheid. This article draws on Jacob Dlamini’s notion of “moral agents” in understanding players’, teams’, and sports associations’ decisions to continue to play with apartheid, despite international opposition. Drawing from archives in Ireland and South Africa, this article adds new details to the struggle against apartheid rugby in South African sport between 1964 and 1989.

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Baylor University’s Football Stadia: Life Before McLane Stadium

Chad Seifried, Tiffany E. Demiris, and Jeffrey Petersen

The present study offers a descriptive history of the football grounds at Baylor from 1894 to 2014. The current review identifies important individuals and notable events that impacted the football facilities at Baylor. Moreover, the contextual factors influencing each period of change were recognized, and it was determined if Baylor’s facilities followed the pattern of other regional peers. In the case of Baylor, football ultimately created social anchors for the institution and Waco because the increasing popularity and commercial interest in college football produced spectacles capable of providing a unique campus spirit. Next, the spectacle of football and spirit both established and improved alumni relationships and corresponded with interest in elevating the prestige of the university and city to attract students, visitors, and businesses to operate in the area. Finally, the construction of various Baylor football playing grounds produced significant media attention capable of boosting enrollments and recognition that Baylor was a major university.

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From the Playing Fields of Rugby and Eton: The Transnational Origins of American Rugby and the Making of American Football

Adam Burns

Some studies date the origins of US intercollegiate football—and, by extension, the modern game of American football—back to a soccer-style game played between Princeton and Rutgers universities in 1869. This article joins with others to argue that such a narrative is misleading and goes further to clarify the significance of two “international” fixtures in 1873 and 1874, which had a formative and lasting impact on football in the United States. These games, contested between alumni from England’s Eton College and students at Yale University, and between students at Canada’s McGill University and Harvard University, combined to revolutionize the American football code. Between 1875 and 1880, previous soccer-style versions of US intercollegiate football were replaced with an imported, if somewhat modified, version of rugby football. It was the “American rugby” that arose as a result of these transnational exchanges that is the true ancestor of the gridiron game of today.