Imagined Olympians

EPUB EBook by John Bale

EBook Description

Observing the Rwandan cultural practice of gusimbuka, widely described as Tutsi high jumping, Europeans discerned a natural ability to jump and predicted that Tutsi would dominate world sports- EPUBor so the story goes. Imagined Olympians EPUB EBook And, as John Bale makes clear in this book, it is just that-a story, a Western representation that recast cultural practice as competitive sport and made of the Tutsi high jumper an "imaginary athlete." Bale explores the colonial representation of gusimbuka, revealing the Tutsi sportsman and prospective Olympian as an invention with broad implications for understanding the workings of the Western gaze.

In written accounts and photographs, many published here for the first time, Bale uncovers a bewildering variety of images-evidence of the equivocal nature of the Western view of Rwandan body culture. Through a consideration of different, often conflicting rhetorical modes, Bale shows how these images were deployed to increase the cultural and political distance between Tutsi and Hutu, and to bring the Tutsi closer to the European. An intriguing and sobering case study, Imagined Olympians provides valuable insight into how the West both idealizes and vilifies the non-Western body.

John Bale is visiting professor of sports studies at Aarhus University, Denmark, and professor of sports geography at Keele University, U.K.

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