Susan Brownell: Olympic Games and the Rise of Asia: China's Bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and the Concerns about Olympic Bids in the West

Jun 01, 2015 | 04:00 PM c.t. - 06:00 PM

In late 2014, the withdrawal of Oslo’s bid to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games provoked debate in the West. Only Almaty and Beijing-Zhangjiakou remain in the competition to host the global mega event, with the host to be decided in July. As if to underscore a shift in the world order, all seven Olympic Games and FIFA Soccer World Cups after the London 2012 Olympics will be hosted outside the traditional Western powers – and three of them by Asian nations. Western media and commentators have hailed this as a crisis for the Olympic Games and perhaps for Western liberal democracies as a whole.  They are asking whether Olympic Games can now be hosted only by “dictatorships,” while Western liberal democracies are too constrained by public opposition to the huge costs. This presentation will argue that the perception of the costs of Olympic Games should be put into the proper context, and that Asia is just joining a world system that the West still dominates – for now.

Susan Brownell is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and currently Visiting Professor at the Institute of Chinese Studies and Visiting Fellow at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies at Heidelberg University. She was the only non-Chinese member of the teams of “academic experts” working with the organizers of the Beijing Olympic Games and Shanghai World Expo. She is the author of Training the Body for China: Sports in the Moral Order of the People’s Republic and Beijing’s Games: What the Olympics Mean to China, and co-editor (with Jeff Wasserstrom) of Chinese Femininities/Chinese Masculinities: A Reader, among others.

Time & Location

Jun 01, 2015 | 04:00 PM c.t. - 06:00 PM

Silberlaube, Room K25/11
Habelschwerdter Allee 45
14195 Berlin