Roberta J. Park: Paving the Sport History Highway While Saving Physical Education From a House Divided

in Kinesiology Review
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Internationally acclaimed sport historian Roberta Park was among the Academy of Kinesiology’s leading scholars. Her extensive career at the University of California, Berkeley, was a powerful example of one woman’s agency and success in the hierarchical world of higher education. Systematically opening up the breadth of embodied and gendered practices deemed suitable for examination by sport historians, Park’s pioneering scholarship helped turn a narrow lane into the broad highway of sport history. She demonstrated that it is neither possible nor desirable to study the history of medicine, health, or fitness without accounting for the body, raising provocative questions about the historical origins of training regimens for sport and exercise, and excavating the histories of the biomedical sciences to better understand the antecedents of sports medicine and exercise science. She never abandoned her faith in the importance of the profession of physical education, properly supported by scholarly enquiry, holding up Berkeley’s foundational program as a template to guide physical education’s future and grieving its demise in 1997.

Vertinsky is with the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Wrynn is with the Office of the Chancellor, California State University, Long Beach, CA, USA.

Vertinsky (patricia.vertinsky@ubc.ca) is corresponding author.
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