Courses and Workshops

The Paris Olympics: Sport as Politics and Culture

Darren Zook
Thursday, Jun. 6, 2024, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM (PT)
Repeats every Thursday until Thursday, Jun. 27, 2024
Price: $155.00
29 slots available

Olympic flag "Paris 2024" with Eiffel Tower in background

With Paris preparing to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, it is the perfect time to step back and situate this grand event in a proper global context. Why do countries compete to host the Olympics, even with endless reports of financial loss for other host countries years afterward? And what is the larger geopolitical project behind what appears to be merely an international sporting event? Paris has put its reputation on the line for these Olympics, and we will situate the Paris games in a comparative context with other Olympics from the past. The Olympics have always been much more than the sports they showcase — they have also been a festival of cultural and political pageantry for the countries that host them.


Faculty Bio

Darren Zook teaches in political science and global studies at UC Berkeley. His areas of interest include comparative politics, human rights and international law. He has received numerous teaching awards for his creativity in the classroom, and was recently named one of the “Top Ten Most Inspiring Professors at UC Berkeley” by College Magazine. He lectures all around the world, and has published six books. He is currently at work on a research project involving the politics of ice in the era of climate change.


This is an In-Person, Livestreamed + Recorded Course

  • Classes will meet in person at the Golden Bear Center, Suite 202/204, at 1995 University Ave., Berkeley
  • Classes will stream live simultaneously, and be video recorded
  • You must be a current OLLI @Berkeley member to register. Learn about membership, including our fee assistance program.

Schedule Highlights

  • Course starts on Thursday, June 6, and ends on Thursday, June 27
  • Classes meet for 4 weeks, 2 hours per session (10–noon)
  • The June 20 class will be pre-recorded
  • Videos will post on Fridays in Member Dashboards
  • All course materials, including videos, will remain available to view and enjoy through Aug. 31

Member Praise for Darren Zook

Dr. Zook is one of the best teachers I've ever had and I'm 80!

Darren Zook is an amazing teacher. He's a well-organized, extremely knowledgeable, and always engaging.

I have taken several classes with Darren Zook and will take several more. His scope and depth of knowledge is extraordinary. And he is able to communicate it effectively and effortlessly. 


Faculty Q&A