Since the mid-nineteenth century, the United States has used sport as a vehicle for spreading its influence and extending its power, especially in the Western Hemisphere and around the Pacific Rim, but also in every corner of the rest of the world. Through modern sport in general, and through American pastimes such as baseball, basketball and the American variant of football in particular, the U.S. has sought to Americanize the globe’s masses in a long series of both domestic and foreign campaigns. Sport played roles in American programs of cultural, economic, and political expansion. Sport also contributed to American efforts to assimilate immigrant populations. Even in American games such as baseball and football, sport has also served as an agent of resistance to American imperial designs among the nations of the Western hemisphere and the Pacific Rim. As the twenty-first century begins, sport continues to shape American visions of a global empire as well as framing resistance to American imperial designs.
Mapping an Empire of American Sport chronicles the dynamic tensions in the role of sport as an element in both the expansion of and the resistance to American power, and in sport’s dual role as an instrument for assimilation and adaptation.
This book was published as a special issue of the International Journal of the History of Sport.
1. Prologue – The paradoxes of imitation and resistance: the origins of the map of an American empire of sports Mark Dyreson 2. Imperial ‘deep play’: reading sport and visions of the five empires of the ‘New World’, 1919–1941 Mark Dyreson 3. Sporting Japanese-ness in an Americanised Japan Sandra Collins 4. Baseball’s kakehashi: a bridge of understanding and the Nikkei experience Samuel O. Regalado 5. Reason and magic in the country of baseball John D. Kelly 6. The national pastime trade-off: how baseball sells US foreign policy and the American way Robert Elias 7. American sports across the Americas Joseph L. Arbena 8. The limits of Pan-Americanism: the case of the failed 1942 Pan-American Games Cesar R. Torres 9. From la bomba to béisbol: sport and the Americanisation of Puerto Rico, 1898–1950 Roberta J. Park 10. ‘Changing the cultural landscape’: English engineers, American missionaries, and the YMCA bring sports to Brazil – the 1870s to the 1930s Claudia Guedes 11. In pursuit of perspective: the other empire of sport – cultural imperialism for confident control and consequent legacies J.A. Mangan 12. Epilogue – Imperial complexities: in pursuit of ‘provocative’ post-imperial analyses J.A. Mangan
As Robert Hands in The Times recently observed, the growth of sports studies in recent years has been considerable. This unique series with over one hundred volumes in the last decade has played its part. Politically, culturally, emotionally and aesthetically, sport is a major force in the modern world. Its impact will grow as the world embraces ever more tightly the contemporary secular trinity: the English language, technology and sport. Sport in the Global Society will continue to record sport's phenomenal progress across the world stage.