SRE 2012 Conference
You are invited to attend the 4th International Conference on Sport, Race and Ethnicity, which will be held at the Belfast Campus of the University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 27 – 30, 2012. The conference is hosted by the Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute at the University of Ulster.
The SRE2012 Conference Committee would like to thank the Irish Football Association for their generous and continuing support.
15th June 2012 - Programme Update
‘Due to some last minute additions to the Conference Programme it has been updated as of June 15th. Please check the updated programme and confirm your presentation day and time. Please note in particular that Day 1, Thursday June 28th , will now have a 9 am (rather than 8.30am) start time to accommodate a number of delegates who are arriving into Belfast on early morning flights with the first Key Note following at 10 am.’
the final conference programme is now available.
Update : Pre-Conference Event
Delegates interested in attending a pre-conference event on sport and peace building in Northern Ireland may be interested in the Sport for Peace Building Conference, Tuesday 26th June 2012, 6.00pm – 9.30pm, Roe Valley Resort, Limavady. Further Information is available (pdf)>>
The site for the forthcoming Sport, Race and Ethnicity Conference is one of the most intriguing destinations for the study of sport and identity anywhere in the world. For most of the latter part of the twentieth century Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland was an international byword for ethnic division, conflict and violence. Amid this turmoil, lasting almost three decades, sport continued to exist, albeit in abnormal circumstances.
Sport and Ethnicity
Instead sport came to reflect, exacerbate and occasionally promote division between the majority Protestant and Unionist population of Northern Ireland and the minority Catholic and Nationalist people, many of whom wished to see the unification of Northern Ireland with its neighbour the Republic of Ireland. Thus a key theme of the 4th SRE Conference will be the role of sport in the creation and promotion of ethnic identities and from that sport’s role in accentuating, ameliorating or merely marking out the degree of ethnic diversity increasingly evident across the world.
Over the last number of years it seems the role of sport in this regard has become evermore pronounced. Issues of sport and ethnic/nationalist rapprochement since the end of the Sri Lankan Civil War; ethnic/nationalist conflict in Tibet in the lead-up to the Beijing Games and the IOC’s apparent impotency over human rights and, in view of the impending 2011 IRB RWC in New Zealand, the question of Pacific Islanders having their own team at the Rugby World Cup instead of being segmented by island region, all bring to the fore issues of ethnic identity and the critical role of sport in this regard.
Sport and Race
Of course 2012 is also a hugely significant year for the United Kingdom as many of the world’s leading athletes descend upon London in the weeks immediately following the SRE conference.
With this the opportunity to consider mega-events as a site for the interrogation of issues of race and ethnicity in modern sport is both appropriate and timely. On this theme one of the issues the conference will broadly consider is the possible revised ‘racial’ interpretations of athletic performance in the wake of China’s ascent to the top of the unofficial medal table at Beijing in 2008 (breaking down longstanding assumptions about ‘oriental’ physical inferiority by comparison to ‘African-American’ and ‘European’ representatives). Indeed arguably the same could be said around Latino ascendancy in Major League Baseball (the ‘American’ game) and/ or talented ‘white’ men playing in the NBA through and alongside the drafting of players from mainland Europe.
It appears that rarely before has there been a more opportune time to consider the full extent of the interplay of race, ethnicity and sport in the modern world. On a more theoretical and conceptual level around issues of sport and diversity the conference will also consider the ongoing attempts to make sense of the concepts ‘race’ and ethnicity in sport; consider how issues of indigeneity remain significant (or otherwise) in national or global sports and indeed whether cosmopolitanism is an inherently virtuous goal in sport?