I study sport, society, and cities in Latin America.
My dissertation uses archival sources, oral histories, and ethnography to argue that soccer clubs were sites of sociability whose stadiums and facilities articulated specific visions of national progress, modernization, and consumption. I explore these themes through a history of the Ciudad Deportiva, Club Atlético Boca Juniors’ attempt to build a massive stadium and recreational complex on seven artificial islands. Club directors, architects, state officials, and a wider public shared the dream of building the Ciudad Deportiva as part of the city’s master plan for a modern Buenos Aires, yet political infighting at Boca Juniors and a withdrawal of public and private support halted the efforts just as the stadium’s construction began.
The project’s initial success reveals how a soccer club was able to mobilize civic and state actors to articulate a specific vision of consumption and modernity. Its failure reveals how the tensions of club politics and governance as well as wider political and economic trends foreclosed those visions. My dissertation advances scholarship on politics and culture by revealing how the ‘apolitical’ perception of clubs and their projects were, in fact, a crucial location in which state officials, planners, and citizens articulated sociopolitical change. I conducted this research with two major fieldwork grants: the Fulbright-IIE fellowship and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) João Havelange Research Scholarship.
As a Cultural Heritage Informatics Fellow at MATRIX, MSU’s Digital Humanities Center, I developed a prototype for a digital dissertation that enables the reader to interact with primary sources and metadata. This concept was featured alongside the work of other graduate studies pursuing digital work in their degrees in a Chronicle of Higher Education piece. I aim for my research and completed dissertation to be at the forefront of exciting changes in open, accessible, and innovative work in digital history.