History, identities and religion

  • Sport and religion, sport as a religion
  • Olympism and sporting ethics
  • Sports heritage, sport in the collective memory
  • Social and cultural history of sport
  • The body and sport in colonial and postcolonial contexts
  • Expressions and affirmations of identity
  • Minorities and minority groups
  • Sport, integration and migration

Researchers involved in this theme observe, analyze and interpret sport from the point of view of the human and social sciences. The objective is to understand how sport, participation in sport, the organization of sport, the staging of sport and representations of sport have modeled and model individuals (images of the body, of gender and of “race”; ethical values, relations with the Absolute, etc.) and social groups (physical education, youth movements, “associationism”, “fandom”, etc.) and the way individuals and social groups have constructed and construct sport, participation in sport, the organization of sport, the staging of sport and representations of sport. Addressing these questions provides insight into how physical activities and people who do them contribute to fundamental historical processes (nationalism and collective identification, colonialism, geopolitical relations, etc.) and to the transformation of the societies from which they emerged. By conducting fundamental research into these issues, our group develops the expertise needed to ensure the responsible management of the sporting environment.


Researchers working on this theme:

Institute of Sports Sciences:

  • Nicolas Bancel - Associate professor
  • Jérôme Berthoud - Doctoral student
  • Herrade Boistelle - SNSF doctoral student
  • Romain Chasles - Doctoral student
  • Patrick Clastres - Associate professor
  • Claire Nicolas - Doctoral student
  • Grégory Quin - Assistant professor
  • Thomas Riot – SNSF senior researcher
  • Lucie Schoch – Assistant teacher
  • Quentin Tonnerre - Doctoral student
  • Philippe Vonnard – Associate researcher

Faculty of Arts

  • Anne Bielman - Full professor (Archeology and Antiquity section)
  • Michael Gronenberg -  (Philosophy section)
  • Philippe Kaenel - Associate professor (Art History section)
  • Dominique Kunz Westerhoff - Associate professor (French section)
  • Karl Reber - Full professor (Archeology and Antiquity section)
  • François Vallotton - Full professor (History section)

Faculty of Theology and religious Sciences

  • Olivier Bauer - Full professor (Lemanic Institute of Practical Theology)


Major publications on this research theme:

  • Bauer, O. (2011). Hockey as a Religion: The Montreal Canadiens. Champaign: Common Ground.
  • Bauer, O. (2015). ABC de la religion du Canadien de Montréal. Montréal. Disponible gratuitement et en libre-accès à l’adresse: https://olivierbauer.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/bauer_abcreligioncanadien.pdf
  • Riot T., Bancel N., Boistelle H. (2016), « Danses macabres. » Une technologie culturelle du massacre des Tutsi au Rwanda, Cultures et Conflits, n°103, Décembre 2016.
  • Bancel N., Riot T., Frenkiel S. (dir., 2016), Sports in Postcolonial Worlds, Routledge, London, 138 p.
  • Boli C., Clastres P., Lassus M., eds. (2015) , Le sport en France à l'épreuve du racisme du XIXe siècle à nos jours : sports, xénophobie, racisme et antisémitisme. Nouveau Monde éditions, Paris, 380 p., 2015.
  • Poli R., Berthoud J., Busset T., Kaya B., 2012. Football et intégration. Les clubs de migrants albanais et portugais en Suisse. Berne : Peter Lang.
  • Berthoud J., Quin G., Vonnard, P., 2016. Le football suisse. Des Pionniers aux professionnels. Lausanne : PPUR (Collection Savoir Suisse).
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