Soccer is undoubtedly one of the most popular sports on the planet. Played by millions and followed by billions, the sport generates passions in all corners of the world. Historian Laurent Dubois will explore “The Global Politics of Women’s Soccer…the Hijab on the Pitch” as the Cornell history department’s Harold Seymour lecturer in Sports History on April 17 at 4:30 pm. The lecture is free and open to the public and will be held in Cornell’s Kaufmann Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall.


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Laurent states that his talk will broadly look at the history of women’s soccer, as well as reflect on the upcoming 2015 World Cup. As part of this, he will discuss debates about whether women can play in hijab.
The Seymour lectures bring some of the best sport historians in the world to Cornell, says Ernesto Bassi, coordinator of this year’s lecture. “The timing for this year’s lecture couldn’t be better, coming shortly after the men’s soccer World Cup and before the women’s soccer World Cup. Given the game’s popularity among Cornell students and faculty and the vibrancy of Ithaca’s soccer scene, we anticipate a lot of interest in this talk.”

Dubois’ book “Soccer Empire: The World Cup & the Future of France,” demonstrates how even the most seemingly apolitical institutions in a society can become the battlegrounds for its most pressing questions of identity and ambition. Dubois, Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History at Duke University, has written five other books, his most recent is “Haiti: The Aftershocks of History” (2012). His articles have appeared widely, including in Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, and in the most prestigious academic journals in history and the humanities.

The Seymour Sports History Lecture is presented annually in the spring by the Cornell history department in the College of Arts and Sciences with the generous support of George Kirsch ‘67.

Laurent Dubois’ website:
Laurent Dubois edits the Soccer Politics blog ( which hosts discussions about a range of topics around soccer & politics and is linked to a course he teaches at Duke.

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.