1st Edition

The British World and the Five Rings Essays in British Imperialism and the Modern Olympic Movement

Edited By Erik Nielsen, Matthew Llewellyn Copyright 2016
    134 Pages
    by Routledge

    134 Pages
    by Routledge

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    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 favour of a critical approach to imperialism.

    Combining thorough research with engaging and accessible writing, The British World and the Five Rings is applicable to many fields of Olympic scholarship making it a central work in the growing field of sports studies.

    This book was published as a special issue of Sport in Society.

    1. Prologue-- Britain, Empire, and the Olympic Experience  Erik Nielsen, Macquarie University (Australia), Matthew Llewellyn, California State University, Fullerton (USA)

    2. For a ‘United’ Kingdom and a ‘Greater’ Britain: The British Olympic Association and the Limitations and Contestations of ‘Britishness’  Matthew Llewellyn, California State University, Fullerton (USA)

    3. Flights to Empire: Australia’s Imperial Engagement with the Olympic Games: 1900-1938  Erik Nielsen, Macquarie University (Australia)

    4. (Dis)located Olympic patriots: Sporting connections, administrative communications and imperial ether in interwar New Zealand  Geoff Kohe, University of University of Worcester (U.K.)

    5. `The Emblem of One United Body . . . One Great Sporting Maple Leaf’: The Olympic Games and Canada’s Quest for Self Identity  Robert K. Barney and Michael Heine, University of Western Ontario (Canada)

    6. ‘In our case, it seems obvious the British Organising Committee piped the tune’, the campaign for recognition of Ireland in the Olympic Movement, 1935-56  Tom Hunt, Independent Scholar (Ireland)

    7. Rhodesia and the Olympic Games: Representations of masculinity, war, and Empire, 1965-1980  Andrew Novak, George Mason University (USA)

    8. Epilogue: The ‘British World’, Other Worlds, and the Five Rings: Possibilities for Trans-Imperial Histories and Historical ‘What Ifs’  Mark S. Dyreson, Pennsylvania State University


    Erik Nielsen is a lecturer in the Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations at Macquarie University (Australia). He is the author of Sport and the British World, 1900-1930: Amateurism and National Identity in Australasia and Beyond (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

    Matthew P. Llewellyn is an Associate Professor of Kinesiology at the California State University, Fullerton, co-director of the Centre for the Socio-Cultural Sport and Olympic Research, associate editor of the Journal of Sport History, and the author of numerous books and journal articles on the history of sport.