Associate Professor Jules Boykoff receiving international attention for his research on the Olympic Games

Politics & Government faculty member and 2012 recipient of a Graves Award in the Humanities undertakes research on activism and the Olympics. His commentary has recently appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian (UK) and The Nation.



Politics and Government associate professor Jules Boykoff is researching the history and politics of the Olympic Games to further shape and cultivate the discipline's dynamic curriculum.

The recipient of a prestigious Graves Award in the Humanities, Boykoff is in the midst of a book-length project titled “Activism and the Olympic Games: Celebratory Capitalism and its Discontents." The author of six books and numerous scholarly articles, Boykoff is respected internationally for his previous findings on the social ramifications of media coverage, political dissent and the economics of sport.

Boykoff's current project takes a close look at creative political activism in response to the Olympics. The manuscript will examine how poets and artists use their talents to bolster and brighten Olympics-related social movements, he said.

Boykoff will implement the project into a seminar for Pacific students this fall, one that emphasizes the connectedness of the humanities and social science disciplines. The seminar will be open to students of various majors, and the emerging discourse will aid in the manuscript's completion.

"My goal is for the book to be suitable for classroom use," Boykoff said. "It will allow instructors and students to engage this deeply relevant history in an interdisciplinary way, which is necessary to truly understand the proper contexts of historical events."

Boykoff has resided in Europe since January to study and conduct research at the Olympic Studies Centre in Barcelona and the University of Brighton's Chelsea School of Sport (United Kingdom).

At the upcoming Summer Olympics, Boykoff will interview activists, attend protest events and chronicle the cultural, economic and political changes brought about by the Games.

He will also travel to Switzerland to pore through International Olympic Committee  (IOC) Archives, including the Avery Brundage Papers, named for a controversial IOC president who held steadfast to the Games' amateur tradition despite growing forces of commercialism and professionalism that dominate today's sports landscape.

"Somewhere between multinational corporation and global institution, the International Olympic Committee sits at the heart of a vast interlocking structure of national and international bodies, sporting associations and sponsoring firms," Boykoff said.

Prominent news organizations, including The New York Times, have deemed Boykoff's perspectives deserving of public consideration. Following are a) opinion pieces about the Olympic Games written or co-authored by Boykoff this year, or b) analysis provided by Boykoff to other journalists:

Feb. 8, 2013: Dazzling Olympic performances mask hyperconsumerism of games

Aug. 10, 2012: Economic Crisis Now an Olympic One (Boykoff provides analysis)

July 31, 2012 - Democracy Now!: Olympic Goodwill Image Belied by Arrests, Censorship and Corporate Ties Behind London Games (guest appearance by Dr. Boykoff)

July 27, 2012 - NBC News online: When the Olympics and politics collide: Is neutrality just a 'fairy tale'? (Boykoff provides analysis)

When the Olympics and politics collide: Is neutrality just a 'fairy tale'

July 20, 2012: ESPN online: Stars, stripes and the Olympics (Boykoff provides analysis)

July 19, 2012 - Red Pepper (United Kingdom): Policing dissent at London 2012

July 6, 2012: OurKingdom (UK): Five New Rings: A Review of Mark Perryman's 'Why the Olympics Aren't Good For Us, and How They Can Be' 

July 5, 2012 - The New York Times: Olympian Arrogance

July 2012 - Anthropology News: The Olympics and its discontents

May 21, 2012 - The Nation: Protest is Coming to the London Olympics

April 22, 2012 - The Guardian (UK): Has London 2012 been greenwashed? 

April 4, 2012 - The Guardian (UK): What is the real price of the London Olympics?

Jan. 2, 2012 - The Guardian (UK): London, check Vancouver

Administered by Pomona College, the biennial Arnold L. Graves and Lois S. Graves Awards are made to faculty members under age 42, or those in their first decade of teaching, at private, non-denominational liberal arts colleges in California, Oregon and Washington. 

Note: Pacific University fosters an environment rich in discourse. Dr. Boykoff's opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Pacific University or its other community members.


Posted by Joe Lang (jlang@pacificu.edu) on Feb 15, 2012 at 10:55 AM

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