Call for Papers | From Forgotten Women to an Intersectional Approach in the Prosopography of International Sporting Institutions | RERIS Conference, Barcelona, July 2017

Based on the 2016 RERIS conference which focused on sporting biography, this call is intended as a follow-up. Indeed, the 2016 edition was conceived within the recent trend of biographical analysis in the historiography of international relations. The prosopography of international sport leaders allowed us to go beyond biographies as a method of historical inquiry, enabling us to “highlight the conditions under which sports institutionalized since the end of the 19th century”. However, the 2016 gathering demonstrated a paucity of women’s biographies, and lacked an intersectional perspective (i.e. the intersection of race, gender, class, sexuality and ability). As we demonstrated this year, “individuals helped to develop international sport through their work in sporting institutions as well as the way influences on their personal lives helped to shape those organizations”. As personal lives are built by the intersection of gender, race and class, such themes should be given as much significance by historians as they were the by sports administrators we study. This is all the more relevant in the context of the sexist division of leisure from the XIXth century. Thus the 2017 conference will be an opportunity to take our prosopographical perspective further, with an emphasis on figures from these forgotten groups. As this panel is meant to understand the position of women within major sporting institutions, it will welcome biographies, as well as network presentations or collective biographies of women.

Guidelines and Timetable

This panel seeks to avoid the presentation of female athletes (given the wide literature about them), and focus more on the presentation of administrative personalities. However, international organisations do not only rely on power positions. Since we aim at interrogating subalternity through an intersectional approach, it would be highly interesting to learn more about the “women behind”: i.e. not only the few ones who secured a powerful position in patriarchal institutions but also the ones who helped to shape and administrate international organisations (secretaries, wives, non-committee members…) and remained forgotten. This will also be an opportunity to have a reflexive view on Sport History. Indeed, this particular gaze “from below” will HEP to rethink archives collection and data mining.
As we want to be sure no names overlap, please send two potential names or a theme for a collective biography (family network, jobs) with a short abstract of no more than 200 words. We will be very happy to welcome presentations including a reflexive methodological approach. Expressions of interest should be sent to Claire Nicolas and Georgia Cervin at the email addresses below no later than January 31st 2017.

The conference will be organized in Barcelona from the 13th to the 15th of July 2017 (the venue has still to be confirmed).

Complementary information can be found on our website (especially about previous conferences) :

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