Fútbol and Scholarly Collaboration – Alex Galarza
“A football club is the accumulated cultural capital and the historical memories of the group of people who have chosen to invest their time, their energy, and their love in it.” – David Goldblatt
I study football(soccer) clubs in Buenos Aires, Argentina. My dissertation examines political and economic change in Buenos Aires, using football clubs as a lens to view politics, associative life, and consumption. While excellent soccer scholarship has been produced for decades, there is a need for more dialogue and collaboration amongst academics who study the sport. In the spring of 2010, I co-founded the Football Scholars Forum with a historian of South Africa, Peter Alegi. The scholarly community has met over Skype to discuss recent works in soccer scholarship over the past three semesters. As a Cultural Heritage Informatics Fellow, I plan to dedicate my time towards continuing to grow the community, turn the website into a platform for collaboration, and add sources to a group Zotero library. The project will re-launch as footballscholars.org by summer of 2012.
As part of this process, I also have concrete goals that include forming a roadmap for producing a digital dissertation, continuing to use the web as a platform for collaboration with Argentine football scholars, and to pick up hard skills in CSS3 and HTML5. It is a privilege to study football, a truly global medium of cultural, political, and economic exchange. This privilege has led to a commitment to share my historical production beyond academia and to embrace the opportunity to bridge academic and popular history. The Digital Humanities is one ‘tent’ that has proven invaluable in the last two years to produce rigorous scholarship that embraces technology. My exposure to DH has not only led directly to this fellowship, but also co-founding gradhacker.org, a platform for advice on professionalism, productivity, wellness, and technology produced by graduate students for graduate students.
As a historian of fútbol, I am not without my biases. As my grandfather before me, I support Real Madrid FC, and am partial to Fulham in the EPL. I also enjoy playing ultimate, hiking, and canoeing. I look forward to sharing my experiences as a CHI fellow for the next academic year.