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Conference | Roundtable

Understanding Sport Participation: On the embodiment of religion, gender and race/ethnicity

Wednesday 4 December 2019
Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden

Understanding Sport Participation: On the embodiment of religion, gender and race/ethnicity

How are ideas and norms about Islam, race/ethnicity and gender embodied and enacted through sports? How do we understand ‘empowerment through sports’ for Muslim women in increasing Islamophobic societies? This roundtable brings together experts working on related approaches to racism and sexism in sports and the embodiment of race/ethnicity, religion and gender in sport practices.

In this roundtable, each speaker draws on their own research and expertise to highlight issues pertaining to racism and sexism in sports, citizenship and physical exercise, and the relation between race and religion. The aim of this meeting is to discuss how religion, race/ethnicity and gender are lived, reproduced and contested within sports activities, while taking into account embodied experiences and infrastructures of ideologies and policies.

The event is supported by a Seed and Breed Grant from the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (LUCIS).


Convener Jasmijn Rana is assistant professor at the institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology of Leiden University. She has worked on sport participation of Muslim women in the Netherlands and Morocco, and kickboxing more particularly, and on diversity in heritage production. Her main areas of research focus on the everyday lived relations between actors/groups and the state and its interactions with race/ethnicity, gender and religion. She is currently developing a new project looking at how ‘culture’ in entangled in sports, by focussing on the embodiment of race/ethnicity, gender and religion in the practice of running.

Agnes Elling is senior researcher and staff member science development at the Mulier Institute. She is a member of the editorial board International Review for the Sociology of Sport (IRSS). As a researcher in social inequalities in sport, her interests focus on gender, ethnicity, sexuality and diversity. Recent work includes research on the experience of people with chronic illnesses and sport. Focusing on diabetes type II and the role of health care providers as well.

Monia Lachheb works as assistant professor at Institut Supérieur du Sport et de l’éducation Physique de Ksar-Said. She is part of L’institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain (IRMC) permanent research team. Her works focus on physical education, sports and the role of the body in the Maghreb, with attention to gender and sexuality. Recent works includes research on female soccer players in Tunisia and identity in African soccer.

Aarti Ratna is associate professor of sociology at Solent University. Prior to joining Solent University, she completed her doctorate at the University of Brighton and was a lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University. Her research interests focus on sports and leisure activities with an anti-racist feminist approach. Ratna’s recent work is concerned with first generation migrants from India, citizenship and leisure culture. Among other functions at Solent university she is chair of the Leisure Studies Editorial Board and editorial board member for the Palgrave book series New Femininities in Digital, Physical and Sporting Cultures.

Jacco van Sterkenburg is associate professor in the Department of Media & Communication at Erasmus University. He completed his doctorate at Utrecht University, concerning reconstructions of race, ethnicity and gender through media and sports. As a specialist on cross-cultural research. Van Sterkenburg is a member of the advisory board of the International Sociology of Sport Association (ISSA), Visiting Research Fellow at the Mulier Institute, board member of the journal Communication and Sport and a member of Young Erasmus. His research focusses on topics concerning race, ethnicity, sport, migration, gender and media.

Sepandarmaz Mashreghi is a PhD student in Malmö University, Sweden. Her research focuses on the interplay of cultural and psychosocial influences on the understanding and participation of physical activity. She uses a critical decolonial interpretation of physical activity and its implications on individuals’ well-being. In her current project, she considers the critical and transformative aspects of using culturally relevant methodologies (i.e. visual and arts-based methods) within a participatory action research model in order to explore the benefits and challenges of Physical Activity and Health classes in school for young refugees.

Practical information

The roundtable is free to attend, but please register via secrcaos@fsw.leidenuniv.nl.

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