Call for Papers | “Futures—Past: Liberation, Futurity, Intersectionality, and Interdisciplinarity: Reading Sport, Physical Culture, and the (Physically Active) Body”, Special Issue of Sociology of Sport Journal | Call ends December 2, 2022

Guest Editors
    • Dr. Letisha Engracia Cardoso Brown, University of Cincinnati, USA
    • Dr. Anthony Jean Weems, Florida International University, USA
    • Dr. Tomika Ferguson, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA
    • Dr. Courtney Szto, Queens University, Canada
    • Dr. Chen, University of Connecticut, USA
    • Dr. Natalie Welch, Seattle University, USA
Photo by Kate Trysh on Unsplash

Today we can feel how time is a spiral, how the present moment is always layered with multiple pasts and underlying alternate futures. Time as a concept is not only related to one’s individual life but also to society that goes back many generations and in one’s community.
Jamieson, 2022

Over the past 40 years, the Sociology of Sport Journal (SSJ) has served as the flagship journal of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS), operating in tandem (community) with the distribution of critical scholarship from diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives on the sociology of sport, physical culture, and the physically active body. As a publication, the journal has sought to have its finger on the pulse of the current moment, highlighting those critical themes and issues as they arise (e.g., hip-hop culture, activism, microaggressions).

In this special issue celebrating the 40th anniversary year of SSJ, we invite contributors to consider one or more of the special issue themes of futurity, liberation, intersectionality, and interdisciplinary. We seek manuscripts that explore and envision a more radical sociology of sport and physical culture; a project that necessarily builds upon four decades of scholarship while pushing boundaries of what a sociology of sport and physical culture scholarship towards liberation could look like. As Karl Marx noted, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”

Liberatory sociology refers to an inquiristic orientation that moves beyond simply studying the social world to ultimately transform social relations “in the direction of expanded human rights, participatory democracy, and social justice” (Feagin & Vera, 2009 p. 1). While there have been some tremendous achievements in sport and society over the last 40 years (e.g., the continued impact of Title IX, the No Room for Racism initiative, and Black Girl Hockey Club); we have also witnessed the continued impact of settler colonialism, white-supremacy, capitalism, and heteropatriarchy (e.g., 2020 Olympic ban of BLM apparel, FINA exclusion of Soul Caps, anti-transgender participation bans). SSJ has published on these subjects and more, and yet there is work that remains to be done.

The rise of neoliberal globalization, the continued crimes against the land and bodies of racialized peoples worldwide, and the concurrent ecological disasters disproportionately affecting the poor, marginalized, and those occupying the Global South are all representative of current crises.

That said, we call upon contributors (many of whom might be situated in Global North universities that have been historically and actively complicit in the process of injustices here and elsewhere) to reflect and consider the limitation, opportunities, and challenges for a sociology of sport and physical cultural studies to be in service to ‘change the world,’ that is, to create an alternative world that is yet to come. We encourage scholarship that problematizes the glacial speed and definition(s) of ‘progress.’

We challenge contributors to think creatively about time, and what we can learn from this history of scholarship within SSJ and the fields of sport, physical culture, and the physically active body more broadly to create a more liberated future. We encourage contributors to think through how intersectionality and interdisciplinarity might play a role in shaping movement in this fields across time as well. Specifically, we encourage contributors to consider the past forty years of the sociology of sport by critically considering how the dominant intersecting systems of race, gender, sexuality, class, nation, and (dis)ability, have been explored within the fields sub- fields related to sociology (e.g., media and cultural studies, critical race theory, Black feminisms, critical whiteness studies); as well as what work remains to be done. The commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the journal offers an important opportunity to engage with the layered nature of time—the many ways that the past, present, and future are interconnected. To that end, we welcome theoretical/conceptual reflections as well as empirical studies that address topical area(s) including, but not limited to:

      • The histories of race/racism and intersectionality covered within the last 40 years of SSJ
      • What do the archival histories of SSJ tell us?
        • How have the publications changed historically qualitatively and quantitatively?
      • Discussions of media and political discourse(s) over the past 40 years in relation to (race, gender, class, nation, and/or other modalities)
      • The development of women’s professional sport over the past 40 years
      • Euro-American centrism, Anglophone hegemony, and the politics of knowledge production in the sociology of sport
      • The environmental impact of sporting mega-events
      • Political economy, athletic labor, and Marxist sociology of sport
      • What are the futures/pasts/present realities of athlete activism?
      • Critical pedagogy and methodologies
      • Settler-colonialism, decolonization, and Indigenous resurgence
      • What are the historical and potential contemporary consequences of attacks against bodily autonomy (e.g., Roe v. Wade, anti-trans participation bans) on athletes’ participation and general rights?
      • Alternative and/or non-capitalist modes of organizing sport and physical culture?
      • Athlete activism in the age of #BLM, #SayHerName, #MeToo, #NotNCAAProperty and other social and digital movements

As emerging scholars in our own right invested in studying various aspects of sport, physical culture, and the body that can help contribute to a more humane and just world, we highly encourage submissions from other emerging scholars, collaborative works, as well as independent scholarship! This special issue hopes to offer reflections and critical commentary, and commemorate the last 40 years of SSJ, sport, and society.

Where have we been and what does that mean for where we are now and where we are headed? Only time will tell.

Authors should follow the “Submissions Guidelines for Authors” used in every issue of the Sociology of Sport Journal found at Papers should not exceed 8000 words inclusive of endnotes and references. Submit original manuscripts online:

If you have any questions, please reach out to the following guest editors:

Submissions of papers due, December 2nd, 2022

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