Professor Jules Boykoff Receives Fulbright Award

Pacific University associate professor and Politics & Government Department chair Jules Boykoff has received a fellowship award from the J. William Fulbright Scholarship Board to conduct research in Brazil this summer and fall. He will be working out of the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro State University).

Boykoff's research will allow him to complete his latest book about the political history of the Olympics. A renowned expert on the business, politics and social implications of international sport, Boykoff has authored numerous papers and two previous books on the subject: Activism and the Olympics: Dissent at the Games in Vancouver and London (2014) and Celebration Capitalism and the Olympic Games (2013).

"My proposed research will examine the politics and economics of the 2016 Summer Olympics, including the activist response," Boykoff said. "The results will take the form of a chapter in my upcoming book, The Political History of the Olympic Games (Verso Books), and shorter essays for news publications.

This project extends Boykoff's previous research and writing on the politics and economics of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Boykoff believes the politics and economics of the Olympics, as well as the activist response, are understudied topics and his research and subsequent publications are intended to correct this trend.

"It is my hope that the results of this endeavor will inform the study of activism and sports mega-events," he said, adding that what he learns in Brazil will "undoubtedly improve my teaching and research activities" at Pacific and elsewhere.

Boykoff will depart for Brazil in August and return in December. In preparation, he has been gathering additional data on Olympic spending and construction projects and cultivating further contacts in Rio from various communities.

Once in Brazil, he will collaborate with colleagues at the university and conduct qualitative interviews with activists, journalists, and Olympic organizers. Visiting Rio in advance of the 2016 games will be critical for valid research, Boykoff said.

"Witnessing ongoing construction projects firsthand will inform my analysis, and working with the Olympic Organizing Committee in Rio to share its internal documents, papers and insights will be more effective in person. And carrying out one-on-one interviews is always more effective in person than other means to establish trust, gauge body language, and ascertain the nuance of meaning.” 

May. 14, 2015