The Beautiful Game

The Beautiful Game: The Poetics and Aesthetics of Soccer in Transnational Perspective

University of Basel, June 30 - July 2, 2016

This conference, scheduled to take place during the 2016 European Championship and hosted by the University of Basel's Department of English, takes up soccer with a special focus on its poetics and aesthetics. The conference particularly seeks to scrutinize the poetics and aesthetics of the game in light of comparative, transnational, transcontinental, and global perspectives. In doing so, it aims to shed light on the poetics and aesthetics of all aspects of soccer, from the actual game to fan chants and choreographies, from representations in the arts to the aesthetics of media coverage, from the poetics of live commentary to institutional image cultivation (FIFA, UEFA, MLS etc.), from video gaming to aspects of design (jerseys, stadia). Given this range and diversity of the forms in which the poetics and aesthetics of soccer manifest themselves, the conference by necessity is interdisciplinary in nature, with contributions coming from fields such as literary and cultural studies, philosophy, linguistics, visual studies and the arts, design, and anthropology to name but a few.


Simon Critchley (New School for Social Research)

Eva Lavric (University of Innsbruck)

Emily Ryall (University of Gloucestershire)

Special guest

Ivan Ergić (former FC Basel captain and Serbia International)

In addition to academic talks, the conference will also include an art event, exhibiting some of the original art that is the basis for tschuttiheftli’s sticker collection they create for every World Cup and European Championship. For further information, please visit

The art exhibition, reception and match screening on Friday, July 1, will take place at Didi Offensiv. At the reception, we will have a round table discussion with Ivan Ergić, Daniel Schreier, and Aline Bieri.


The conference team is headed by Ridvan Askin, Catherine Diederich, and Aline Bieri from the University of Basel. They are joined by Sixta Quassdorf, Rahel Ackermann Hui, Denise Kaufmann and Johanna Schüpbach.


The conference venues are located at the Department of English of the University of Basel, Nadelberg 6, 4051 Basel.

All plenary talks take place in the "Grosser Hörsaal" (great lecture hall) on the ground floor of the Department of English, Nadelberg 6. Parallel sessions take place in the Grosser Hörsaal and in room 11 of the Department of English (see program for details).

Getting There

Here is how you get there:

The closest airport is the EuroAirport in Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg. Taxis are expensive in Switzerland, so you may want to check with your hotel about free shuttle bus service. Note that most international flights arrive at Zurich airport. However, if you book with the airline SWISS, the train fare from Zurich to Basel is included in the fare when choosing Basel as your final destination. Direct trains from Zurich airport to Basel main station leave every hour. You can buy your ticket (approx. CHF 35 for a one-way ticket) in the airport on the train level. (Note: Please make sure you buy your single ticket on the day of use as the ticket is valid only on the day of issuing. Note also that you cannot purchase tickets on the train).

The City

The conference takes place at the University of Basel, Switzerland. Located in the north-west of Switzerland, Basel sits right on the border of France, Germany, and Switzerland. For more information on this very lively and friendly Rhenish city with its top-notch museums and theaters, check out Basel Tourism, Switzerland Tourism.