Michigan State University
Peter Alegi is Professor of History at Michigan State University, USA, and Research Associate at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. His books include Laduma! Soccer, Politics & Society in South Africa (UKZN Press, 2004; 2010); African Soccerscapes: How a Continent Changed the World’s Game (2010); and Africa’s World Cup (2013, co-edited with Chris Bolsmann). He is Editor-in-Chief of MSU Press’s “African History and Culture” book series, and an Editor of African Studies Review. Alegi also hosts the Africa Past and Present podcast (afripod.aodl.org) and directs the Football Scholars Forum (footballscholars.org).
The New Historiography of Southern African Football
The past two decades have witnessed a significant growth in the production of scholarly histories of Southern African football (soccer). From MA and PhD theses to academic books and journal articles, this diverse body of work has deepened our understanding of football’s local, national, and transnational dimensions. This paper evaluates recent important scholarly works on South Africa, Mozambique, and Zambia and connects them to recent developments in the discipline of African history. The paper looks at historians’ use of written and oral sources and their treatment of the socio-cultural, political, and economic agency of African players, administrators, coaches, fans, and reporters. It also considers the changing role of race, ethnicity, gender, and age as categories of analysis. This “new historiography of football” signals a maturation of the field of sport and social change in Africa and in the conclusion this paper presents some potentially intriguing possibilities for future research.