CSSOR supports a number of different research projects on various sociocultural topics in sport. Every member maintains an active research interest. A list of books, peer-reviewed articles, and book chapters produced by CSSOR members can be found under publications.  In addition, CSSOR supports “Clusters of Excellence,” where its members form research teams on significant topics that cross-disciplines. Currently identified Clusters of Excellence include “Doping,” “Gender,” and “The Olympic Games”. Look forward to future projects tied to CSSOR’s Clusters of Excellence.

Book Publications

Erik Nielson & Matthew P. Llewellyn, The British World and the Five Rings: Essays in British Imperialism and the Modern Olympic Movement (London: Routledge, 2016)

Prior to the outbreak of World War II, the British presided over the largest Empire in world history, a vast transoceanic and transcontinental realm of dominions, colonies, protectorates and mandates that covered over one-quarter of the world’s land mass and comprised a population of over 450-million subjects. Spanning Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania, over fifty modern nations—currently recognized by the International Olympic Committee—were governed and controlled by the British crown at some stage prior to the gradual dissolution of the Empire. The British World and the Five Rings seeks to explore the relationship between the former British Empire and the Olympic Movement. It pays due regard to the settler dominions, but it also addresses those territories who were less willing partners in the British imperial project. In doing so, the tendency of so-called ‘British World’ histories to promote an apologia for Empire is rejected in favor of a critical approach to imperialism.


The Rise and Fall of Olympic AmateurismMatthew P. Llewellyn & John Gleaves, The Rise and Fall of Olympic Amateurism  (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2016)

For decades, amateurism defined the ideals undergirding the Olympic movement. No more. Today's Games present athletes who enjoy open corporate sponsorship and unabashedly compete for lucrative commercial endorsements.
Matthew P. Llewellyn and John Gleaves analyze how this astonishing transformation took place. Drawing on Olympic archives and a wealth of research across media, the authors examine how an elite--white, wealthy, often Anglo-Saxon--controlled and shaped an enormously powerful myth of amateurism. The myth assumed an air of naturalness that made it seem unassailable and, not incidentally, served those in power. Llewellyn and Gleaves trace professionalism's inroads into the Olympics from tragic figures like Jim Thorpe through the shamateur era of under-the-table cash and state-supported athletes. As they show, the increasing acceptability of professionals went hand-in-hand with the Games becoming a for-profit international spectacle. Yet the myth of amateurism's purity remained a potent force, influencing how people around the globe imagined and understood sport.


Cold War Games: Propaganda, the Olympics, and U.S. Foreign PolicyToby C. Rider, Cold War Games: Propaganda, the Olympics, and U.S. Foreign Policy  (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2016)

Drawing on newly declassified materials and archives, Toby C. Rider chronicles how the U.S. government used the Olympics to promote democracy and its own policy aims during the tense early phase of the Cold War. Rider shows how the government, though constrained by traditions against interference in the Games, eluded detection by cooperating with private groups, including secretly funded émigré organizations bent on liberating their home countries from Soviet control. At the same time, the United States utilized Olympic host cities as launching pads for hyping the American economic and political system. Behind the scenes, meanwhile, the government attempted clandestine manipulation of the International Olympic Committee. Rider also details the campaigns that sent propaganda materials around the globe as the United States mobilized culture in general, and sports in particular, to fight the communist threat.


The 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games: Assessing the 30-year LegacyMatthew P. Llewellyn, John Gleaves & Wayne Wilson, The 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games: Assessing the 30-year Legacy  (London: Routledge, 2015)

The 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games stand as the most profitable and arguably the most important event in the history of the modern Olympic movement. Fresh off the back of the financially disastrous Montreal Games of 1976 and the politically controversial Moscow Games of 1980, the Olympic movement returned to the United States for the sixth time in an attempt to salvage the economic viability and global prestige of the Olympics. The Los Angeles Olympics proved to be both provocative and polarizing. On the one hand they have been heralded as an overwhelming, transformative success, ushering the Olympic movement into the modern commercial age. On the other hand, critics have repudiated the Games as a manifestation of commercial excess and a platform for western political and cultural propaganda.

In conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the Los Angeles Olympics, this volume examines their legacy. With an international collection of contributing scholars, this volume will span a range of global legacies, including the increasing commercialization of the Games, the changing participation of women, the Communist boycott movement, nationalism and sporting identity, and the modernization and California-cation of the Games.


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