How and why has soccer become the most popular sport on the planet? What explains the its powerful impact on culture, economics, and politics? In this course we’ll explore the global history of soccer, drawing on examples from the U.S., Europe, Africa, and Latin America. We’ll examine the development and spread of the game, institutions such as FIFA, biographies of legendary players, and economics of the sport. We will discover the little-known history of women’s soccer stretching back to the late nineteenth century, and discuss the way the sport shapes and is shaped by broader ideas about gender and sexuality. We will debate the philosophical and ethical issues raised by soccer, and focus on the ways the sport condenses, channels, and at times transforms politics. Materials include works of history, anthropology, literature, journalism, memoirs, documentary films, and footage of classic games. The major research project will focus on producing a guide to be published on the Soccer Politics Blog (sites.duke.edu/wcwp) on how to watch and understand the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The class is taught in four languages: English, French, Italian and Spanish. All students must enroll in the group lecture on Tuesdays along with one of the Thursday discussion sections. Students enrolled in the French, Italian and Spanish sections will do much of their reading, as well as all their writing, research, and class discussion in the foreign language.