UBC’s Okanagan campus is kicking off a new course that will tackle the social phenomena of famed footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Arguably the best player in the world, and perhaps the greatest of all time, Ronaldo is the second highest paid athlete (behind Floyd Mayweather, Jr.) and has signed endorsements with Armani, Nike, Coca-Cola and many others. With over 100,000 fans on Facebook, he is the most ‘liked’ athlete in the world, proving his eminence and relevance in 21st century culture.
University of British Columbia associate professor of sociology, Luis LM Aguiar, at UBC Okanagan’s Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences is teaching students how Cristiano Ronaldo affects society and why they should care.
Interested by Ronaldo’s super-stardom and media scrutiny, Aguiar’s class discusses the social phenomena of sport and sports celebrities, while focusing on the identity, nationality and representation of Ronaldo within Portuguese culture.
“In this case, I’m interested in how Ronaldo has been used to construct several discourses about who he is, what makes him distinct as a footballer, what is his relationship to Portugal, Madeira (his hometown) and his Portuguese identity,” says Aguiar.
UBC-O’s unique course is the latest in a burgeoning trend in teaching that focuses on celebrities and their social influence. Rutgers University in the United States now offers a course on feminism and Beyonce while Skidmore College in New York teaches the sociology of Miley Cyrus. The University of Missouri also offers a course on Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Locally, the University of Victoria’s School of Music has a course on Beyonce and female sexuality in music.