It’s the keynote in the fourth instalment from the BSSH 2020 Conference as we hear previous podcast guest Dr Prashant Kidambi deliver a wide-ranging Sir Derek Birley Memorial lecture on the writing of sports history. Informed by CLR James’s classic text Beyond the Boundary Prashant discusses the boundary in sports history – both as a literal dividing line and as a metaphor for ways of thinking about sport’s relationship to wider events.
He questions how the history of sport is premised on looking beyond the boundary to the world outside, which he argues leads practitioners into a neglect – wilful or absent-minded – of the events that happen on the field of play itself compared to popular writers. He also argues that the boundary needs to be considered as a temporal device as well as spatial. We need to think about how we divide up events in sport and the effect this has on the narratives and analysis that we construct around sport and its relationship to society.
Stick around for a lively Q&A with BSSH members thinking through Prahsant’s ideas and sometimes questioning them.
We also hear the Society’s Chair, Raf Nicholson, announce the 2020 Lord Aberdare Literary Prize winner – the most prestigious award for academic sports history in the UK. But if you want to dive straight in to Prashant’s lecture it begins at around the 7m 30s mark.
Dr Prashant is Kidambi is Associate Professor in Colonial Urban History at the University of Leicester where he is based in the Centre for Urban Studies. In 2007 he published The Making of an Indian Metropolis: Colonial Governance and Public Culture in Bombay and is the author of numerous articles on the history of colonial India. His latest book, Cricket Country: An Indian Odyssey in the Age of Empire, was published by OUP in 2019.
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).