This article examines the past, present, and future of historical research in sport and physical education. Due to time and space limitations, the focus is on work that has emerged and is emerging in North America—particularly the United States—but it must be noted there are very active sport historians throughout the world; in departments of kinesiology, history, and American studies. This article covers two broad categories: the past to the present and the present to the future of research in sport history. Within these two sections, there is also an analysis of changes in the conduct of research by historians as this has had, and will continue to have, a major impact on the kinds of work that will be produced in the future.
Patricia Vertinsky and Alison Wrynn
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.
Alison M. Wrynn and Paulina A. Rodriguez Burciaga
The story of the origin of today’s National Academy of Kinesiology begins in 1904 when Luther Halsey Gulick made the first attempt at creating an Academy. Due to various factors, this effort waned. In 1926, Clark Hetherington called together four of his colleagues to initiate what we now recognize as the Academy. This article will describe and provide an analysis of the stories of the first 10 members of the Academy as well as provide the context within which the Academy emerged.