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Looking at the World Cup from another perspective — outside the touchlines

Northwestern to host an academic series leading up to USA vs. Wales watch party Nov. 21
Organized by the Office of the Provost in partnership with units from around the University, this series features a range of international experts, including scholars from Northwestern's campuses in Evanston and Qatar, which will host this year's World Cup.

When is a game more than a game? And when is a World Cup more than a World Cup?

Northwestern will explore those questions through More Than a Cup: Outside the Touchlines of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, an academic series that will address the intersection of sports and society from the perspectives of gender, race, human rights and sports journalism. The series will conclude with a University watch party at Ryan Fieldhouse in Evanston for the United States vs. Wales men’s soccer game on Nov. 21.

Organized by the Office of the Provost in partnership with units from around the University, this series features a range of international experts, including scholars from Northwestern's campuses in Evanston and Qatar, host of this year's World Cup.

With the exception of the watch party, which is open only to students, faculty and staff, all events are free and open to the public. Additionally, Norris University Center will tune the large TV in its first-floor lounge to all Team USA games and will make the schedule available for the rest of the World Cup games. 

Issues of gender, race and technology

Conversations about Gender, Race and Technology in the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Wednesday, Nov. 2: The FIFA World Cup is a sporting and media event of global reach. In this panel webinar, a series of distinguished specialists will address issues concerning gender, racial, ethnic and technological dynamics at play in the 2022 World Cup in particular, and in football in general.

  • Harry Collins, Cardiff University
  • Brenda Elsey, Hofstra University
  • Rayvon Fouché, National Science Foundation
  • Claudia Kozman, Northwestern University
  • Moderator: Pablo J. Boczkowski, Northwestern University

If we look beneath the surface

Is it a Beautiful Game?

Friday, Nov. 4: Love it or loathe it, football is the most popular sport on the planet. It is considered by some to be a microcosm of our world: an avatar of social dilemmas, mirroring highs and lows, challenges and successes, struggles and triumphs, wins and losses. Media coverage of the game has reinforced and globalized these sentiments. However, what would we find if we dared to look beneath the surface?

  • Media Majlis exhibit creators Pamela Erskine-Loftus and Jack Thomas, Northwestern University
  • Hosted by Ian Hurd, Northwestern University

Perspectives on media and sports

The FIFA Men’s World Cup Qatar 2022: Who gets to talk, who gets to watch? Perspectives on Media and Sports from the Global South

Tuesday, Nov. 15: Five days before the kickoff of the first FIFA Men’s World Cup held in the Middle East, this panel explores critical issues surrounding Qatar 2022. As the world’s most watched sports mega-event, the World Cup is crucial to nation-branding efforts. The panel considers key questions such as global social media responses to Qatar’s host nation status, the issue of sports and gender in non-Western contexts, the economics of sports broadcasting and media piracy in the Middle East, the use of sports as a strategy of political communication and soft power in the Global South, and soccer as a proxy for international battles and social change.

  • J. A. Adande, Northwestern University
  • Susan Dun, Northwestern University
  • Claudia Kozman, Northwestern University
  • Craig LaMay, Northwestern University
  • Moderator: Zachary Wright, Northwestern University

Giving voice to the workers

“The Workers Cup” Film Screening and Talk Back with Director Adam Sobel

Thursday, Nov. 17: Adam Sobel’s debut feature film, “The Workers Cup,” premiered on opening night of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. It goes inside the labor camps of Qatar, where African and Asian migrant workers building the facilities of the 2022 World Cup competed in a football tournament of their own: The Workers Cup.

Watch party

USA vs. Wales watch party

Monday, Nov. 21: The first 100 entrants to this event at Ryan Fieldhouse will receive a commemorative “More Than a Cup” soccer scarf.