A Sound Mind in a Sound Body: Intellectual History as Sport History 

Embracing recent trends in intellectual history, “A Sound Mind in a Sound Body: Intellectual History as Sport History” is a workshop that invites scholars to engage with the ways ideas are produced, circulated, and transformed by the practitioners of sport and within the institutions and discourses that frame sporting cultures. 

By broadening our view of who and what is an intellectual we begin to understand the history of ideas as a more complex web expanding far beyond academic and political institutions. From physical education classes to yoga studios, from fitness centers to college and professional athletics, sport and physical culture have long acted as key forms of public pedagogy where a variety of ideas about selfhood and civic purpose are disseminated. This expansive view enables us to consider athletes, fitness instructors, coaches, and other practitioners as legitimate agents in the history of ideas, whether as intellectuals or purveyors of anti-intellectualism. So too do training programs, playbooks and clinics, advice on health and wellness, leadership and management styles, and governing policies, such as amateurism, and statements about social and political issues (including generational changes, race, sex, gender, and sexuality). They provide important terrain in which to explore and chronicle sport’s intellectual history. 

We welcome ambitious papers that unearth not just the intellectual outflow of ideas from sport practitioners and the spaces in which they operate but also which explore the genealogy of the ideas that shape sport and physical culture. This approach to an intellectual history of sport allows us to more directly wrestle with how systemic and institutionalized forms of oppression continue to live within sporting structures and locate sport within larger intellectual and political currents. As a result, we might see, for example, the ways that sport and physical culture are often oriented around the project of modernity, acculturation, and state building. 

Finally, sport itself has long served as a site of idea formation in a more traditional sense: the pipeline of practitioners to scholars. We welcome critical reflections on the “academization” of sport, the gendered and racialized nature of its structures, and the relationships between sports practitioners and sporting discourses. 

Possible Topic Areas: 

● Sport and Education (pedagogy, P.E., Health/wellness, etc.) 

● Sport and Governance (rule, governing bodies, origin stories) 

● Sport and Modernity 

● Athlete & Coaches as Intellectuals 

● Anti-Intellectualism and Sport (scientific racism, gender/sex discrimination, etc.) 

● Foundational Ideas that Shape Sport & Physical Culture (Amateurism, muscular Christianity, etc.) 

● Intellectual History of Stadiums (space, place, and politics). 

● Sports and the Culture Wars 

● Performance as Intelligence 

● The Practitioner to Scholar Pipeline 

● Race, Gender and the cultivation of the fit body 

Please submit a 500-word abstract and 200-word biography to Andrew McGregor (andrewmcgregor@dcccd.edu) by November 15, 2020. Those selected will be notified by December 1, 2020 and required to provide a 5,000-7,000 paper to the organizers by April 7, 2021. Selected participants will present a 5-10 minute version of their paper, read and comment upon papers by other participants, and engage in peer review sessions at the workshop.

Successful papers will be eligible to appear in a special issue of the Journal of Sport History edited by Natalia Mehlman Petrzela and Andrew McGregor

Please contact Andrew McGregor (andrewmcgregor@dcccd.edu) with any questions.