SHR Call for Papers




Special Issue of Sport History Review
Nature Sport and Environmental History:
Adulation or Alteration of Nature?


Guest Editors: Gregory Quin, PearlAnn Reichwein, and Pierre-Olaf Schut


“Nature sports” or “sports de nature” are terms that encompass many outdoor pursuits from mountaineering to diving, cycling, paragliding, skiing, and canoeing, to name only a few examples of what is today an elaborate sport and tourism sector. Exploring mountains and snowfields, rivers and oceans, field and forest, or air space and sky for sport requires a knowledge of the environment in order to prepare, navigate, and negotiate movement. Indeed, outdoor activities are intrinsically linked to particular spaces engaged for and by sporting subjects. These sporting spaces are often conceived as “natural” yet they also form cultural landscapes as sites of sport that can reveal diverse social and historical constructs imbedded within ideas of “nature” and ways of being outdoors or “en plein air.” Likewise human presence can also be conceived as part of nature. Environmental history scholars have identified the dichotomous framing of nature and culture as an epistemological artifact of European traditions and called for a rethinking to reframe as integrated, and more fluid than fixed. Similarly, sport historians have called attention to nature and the spaces of sport as cultural landscapes.

With the exploits of early sports practitioners and adventurers, the tourist development of certain sports sites led to urbanization or gentrification, which poses other environmental preservation and social concerns. The tension between tourism and economic development and the conservation of a “natural resource” that makes a site attractive for sport are at the heart of land management issues and other contestation. These tensions are further complicated by diverse and often conflicting ideas about relationships with the land, air, and waters, or between the country and the city, in both past and present times. Relationships with the “natural” world are shaped by cultures and this special issue invites reflection on how nature sport has been a medium for such expressions and contestations.

The expected contributions do not aim at drawing a caricature of a nature in peril but should reveal the tensions, contradictory effects, and/or particular temporalities of these historical changes.

Particularly welcome are papers highlighting the following subtopics:

  • Ways of understanding and thinking about nature, land, resources, and space in a sport history context
  • Environmental conservation and sport activities (e.g. surfing, climbing, skiing, paddling, etc.)
  • Exogenous pollution and access to practice at sporting sites
  • Urbanization and planning to develop sports and outdoor activities in rural/mountain/littoral areas
  • Global warming effects on skiing and ski resorts or other sports
  • Sustainable development and resilience of practice sites and activities
  • Parks and nature reserves and maintenance of sports and outdoor recreation activities   
  • Indigenous cultures and practices of land-based activities, games, and sports, as well as Indigenous resistance to “nature sport” and colonial occupation
  • Settler colonialism and sport as a violent disruption of human relations with the land and environment
  • Dismantling of underused facilities and decontamination of practice sites
  • Pandemics and implications for sport, recreation, and parks

Submission Instructions

We invite the submission of abstracts (maximum 500 words), outlining the intended topic, to all Guest Editors by April 1st, 2023. Notification of the acceptance of abstracts will be made by April 15th, 2023. Full papers must then be submitted by July 20th, 2023.

Please note that papers submitted to SHR should be limited to 6,000 to 9,000 words, including notes, and formatted according to SHR guidelines. All submissions will undergo double-blind peer-review and must be revised according to feedback from the reviewers and, where necessary, the comments from Guest Editors. It is expected that the special issue will be published in the 2024 Spring Issue (No. 1) of SHR.

Guest Editors’ Information and Contact

Gregory Quin, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland:
PearlAnn Reichwein, University of Alberta, Canada:
Pierre-Olaf Schut, Université Gustave Eiffel, France:

For a PDF version of this call for papers, please click here.

Last Updated: February 3, 2023