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The Olympic Games: Peaceful Internationalism or Nationalist Competition?

April 29, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

featuring Matthew Andrews, Associate Teaching Professor of History

With the 2020 Summer Olympic Games set to begin in Tokyo a year later than scheduled, this seminar will explore the complex relationship between the Olympic Movement and global politics. By focusing on a handful of the more significant Olympiads, this seminar will consider the paradox of an event that was created to celebrate human commonality, while requiring athletes to compete as representatives of different nations. Join sports historian Matt Andrews as he discusses how the United States and the Soviet Union (and other nations) used the Games for Cold War propaganda, how female athletes have struggled for inclusion and equality of opportunity at the Games, and how various individuals have used the Games as a global theater for political protest. Throughout our seminar we’ll explore whether the Olympic Games have helped to mend political conflicts and ease international tensions or exacerbate these conflicts—and we’ll ask if they still have political importance in 2021.

Matthew Andrews is Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of History at UNC-Chapel Hill. He teaches courses on the intersection of sport and politics, with a particular interest in the use of sporting arenas as spaces to both bolster and protest the political order. He is a UNC Center for Faculty Excellence Teaching Fellow for the 2019-2021 academic years and the 2020 recipient of both the Schwab Excellence and Tanner Teaching Awards. In 2016, 2018, and 2019, the Daily Tar Heel named him UNC’s “Best Professor,” and his course, “The Olympic Games: A Global History,” was named best UNC course in 2019.


Thursday, April 29 at 5:00 pm

Reviving the Games in the Era of Nationalism

Thursday, April 29 at 6:45 pm

Cold War Battles in the Olympics

Friday, April 30 at 5:00 pm

Gender at the Olympic Games—Who Gets to Compete as Female?

Friday, April 30 at 6:45 pm

Human Rights at the Olympic Games


This webinar is a virtual event. Tuition is $50, which includes “admission” to the webinar in real time (with live Q&A) as well as access to the recorded talks to watch at your leisure for up to 2 weeks after posting. Registrants will receive instructions for accessing the event online the morning of April 29.

**Save money by purchasing a season pass to all 5 spring webinars for only $175 ($150 for GAA members).**


Register here or call us at 919.962.1544.

Online registration closes at midnight the night before the event. For same-day registration, please call our office at 919.962.1544.


Co-Sponsored by the General Alumni Association.

For information about GAA discounts and other scholarships available to Humanities Program participants, click here.

Tuition is complimentary for any currently teaching, full time K-12 teachers. If you are eligible, click here to register. Complimentary teacher registration closes at 4:30 pm the Friday before the event.


April 29, 2021
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm