Call for Papers | “Building bodies: Gendered Sport and Transnational Movements”. Yearbook of Women’s History 2018. Call ends October 2, 2017

About the Yearbook

The Yearbook of Women’s History is a peer-reviewed academic annual covering all aspects of gender connected with historical research throughout the world. It has a respectable history in itself, reporting on issues concerning women and gender for 35 years. The Yearbook has addressed topics such as women and crime, women and war, and gender, ethnicity and (post)colonialism. Over time the Yearbook has shifted its focus from purely historical analysis to a broader historical and gender analysis, focused on women’s and men’s roles in society. By focusing on specific themes, the Yearbook aspires that each issue crosses cultures and historical time periods, while offering readers the opportunity to compare perspectives within each volume.

About the Upcoming Issue

The thrilling European title for the Dutch women’s football team, a pregnant Serena Williams winning the Australian Open tennis tournament, Kenyan-born Rose Chelimo of Bahrain becoming World Champion of the women’s marathon, and 66-year-old Pat Gallant-Charette being the oldest woman to swim across the English Channel – these are only recent highlights of female achievements in sport. In all respects, women’s sport participation and success is booming. In addition, ‘fitgirls’ have become part of popular culture. The 2018 volume of the Yearbook of Women’s History will focus on the making of ‘the sporting body’ as a concept full of ambiguous cultural meanings and impact. Marjet Derks, Professor of Sports History at Radboud University Nijmegen, will serve as guest editor for this volume, which will appear in the year of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Traditionally, sport has been a masculine domain dominated by men and capacities that have culturally been ascribed to them. ‘The athlete’ was a competitive and if necessary an aggressive achiever and had outstanding physical prowess. Sport participation by women was never perceived as natural, but rather as an act of border crossing or even space invading that transgressed gender and sexual naturalness. For that reason, it was met with prejudice and oppression.

For a long time, sports history reflected this male dominance. Even though magazines gradually began to address sport as a pastime from the late nineteenth century, academic interest only became more prominent in the late twentieth century, when historical analysis began to address sport as a thoroughly gendered field (Bourdieu). Starting with the role of female pioneers and their self-empowering experiences through sport, research has expanded towards analysis of sport as a basically gendered performative culture, in which gender (femininity, masculinity and transgenderism) is done, affirmed and challenged. Moreover, questions have arisen as to how issues of gender have changed sport. More recently, the intersectional dynamics of sports have come to the fore, together with a focus on transnational discourses, representations and practices.

The 2018 Yearbook of Women’s History invites papers which discuss the historical formation, transformation and impact of gendered discourses, representations and practices within sport and physical culture. The focus will be international and comparative. We welcome contributions that consider the Netherlands (or former Dutch colonies), as well as other parts of the world, in a transnational analysis.

Possible topics include:

  • Sport, physical culture and (inter)national icons
  • Sport, gender and colonialism
  • Sport, gender and migration / migration culture
  • Sport, gender and religion
  • Sport, physical education and women’s labour
  • Athletes, gender and lifestyle
  • Gender verification within sport
  • Sport, gender and citizenship
  • Sport and sexuality
  • Football: the last male stronghold?
  • Challenging boundaries: female boxing, male figure skating, body building
  • Battles of the sexes
  • Sports journalism and gender representation
We invite authors from all locations to submit an abstract. Abstracts (max. 300 words) are to be submitted by 2 October, 2017 to Saskia Bultman (editorial secretary):


  • Deadline for abstracts: 2 Oct. 2017
  • Deadline first version of papers: 15 Dec. 2017
  • Peer review: 19 Jan. 2018
  • Deadline second version of papers: 2 March 2018
  • Final editing: 4 May 2018
  • Publication: September/October 2018

Short Bio of Guest Editor

Marjet Derks is Professor of Sport History at Radboud University, Nijmegen. She specializes in historical analyses of sport as a transnational phenomenon in relation to gender, religion and colonialism. Further keywords are the cultural heritage of sport and its functioning within national and local processes of memory and identity. She is currently working on the cultural and social history of boxing in the Netherlands at the intersection of colonialism and local memory.

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