Call for Papers | “Issues in Transnational Sport History” | Special Issue of Sport History Review. Call ends November 18, 2019


Guest Editors:

  • Robert J. Lake – Douglas College
  • Simon J. Eaves – Independent scholar (formerly Manchester Metropolitan University)

We are pleased to announce this special issue of Sport History Review that will focus on issues in “transnational” sport history to understand the process of cultural exchange between and/ or across nations where the primary and explicit aim is one of equitable, open and free exchange. Scholars in the social sciences have over time come to develop a more nuanced and enlightened view of what a nation is – i.e. beyond merely political-defined borders – and how national identity is understood and transmitted through cultural messages and representations. As historians continue to grapple with critical issues related to “the nation” – e.g. the globalization of culture, media and business in the light of new technologies; colonization, neo-colonization and post-colonial politics; international politics; and nationalism, jingoism and xenophobia – sport has emerged as a key focus point for analyses. Sport – defined broadly to incorporate the myriad of leisure and recreation activities – is now understood to be an important platform from which to understand, and an important vehicle for the transmission of messages about, nations and their people in a collective sense; how representatives of nations view and understand themselves and those of other nations, and how nations, broadly speaking, relate to one another through sport as a vehicle to transmit certain cultural, social and political ideologies (Giulianotti & Robertson 2007; Taylor 2013).

Transnational exchanges are abundant and can take many forms in sport, from formal or informal sport tours or international-oriented competitions and events, to the creation of international federations and collective associations/clubs of sportspeople that cross national borders. These transnational exchanges, far from being innocuous or “just about sport”, can contain numerous features that, upon critical analysis, reveal compelling aspects of national culture or politics where debates, challenges or disagreements manifest themselves (see, for example: Guthrie-Shimizu 2004; Eaves & Lake 2018; Vonnard & Quin 2017). Research examining what might be termed “national playing styles”, where aspects of a broader national culture were revealed, can be analyzed through a transnational lens (see: Gitersos 2009; Koller 2017; Lake, Eaves & Nicholson 2018; ), alongside other culturally-infused aspects of performativity (see: Alamillo 2010; Collins 2013; Piercey & Porter 2017) and practices related to coaching and talent development within, for example, the transnational context of broader debates around amateurism/professionalism (Day 2017; Llewellyn & Gleaves 2016). Cultural stereotypes can abound in these contexts, revealing the influence of inveterate structures of class, race and gender and the concomitant struggles for power that are engendered (see, for example: Park 1985).

This special issue will blend historical analyses with sociology, political studies and media & communications studies to develop knowledge on the role of sport in fostering and augmenting transnational relations and exchanges. Research could incorporate, at its core, analyses of race (including ethnicity and indigeneity), gender and class relations over time, and highlight the growing importance – and increasing appreciation for the growing importance – of sport in the making of identity politics. The key feature for papers in this special issue is the critical analysis of how sporting exchanges – broadly defined – are understood, constructed, written about and played out between and across nations. These distinctions and similarities, when set in broader socio-cultural and political contexts, can reveal important cultural markers of understanding about social structures (like the nation, class, gender, and race).

Original research is encouraged on, but not limited to, the following:

    • Critical analyses of the role of sporting exchanges in processes of nation building across borders
    • Sport as a vehicle for emphasizing and politicizing cultural distinctions and representations between nations (perhaps set in broader social, political and religious contexts)
    • Articles related to sport history that build and enhance the debate around terminology (e.g. “transnational”, “international”, “globalized” sport)
    • Comparative historical analyses of race, gender and/or class relations, played out in sporting exchanges across/between nations
    • Sport and identity politics across/between nations from an historical perspective
    • Historical-based sport media analyses across/between nations
    • Performativity in sport (incl. playing styles) analysed through a transnational lens
    • Comparative analyses of coaching and talent development structures in a transnational context
    • Issues in indigenous sport where connections exist across/between nations (e.g. Indigenous Games)
    • Comparative critical analyses of the sportization process (the incipient development of sport) across/between nations
    • Issues in sport history within specific transnational contexts, e.g.:
    • Transatlantic, transpacific, borderlands
    • Trans-European, trans-Asian, trans-American (North/South/Central), trans-African, trans-Australian/Australasian
    • Issues in sport history within a specific nation, e.g. Trans-Canadian, Trans-American or Trans-Australian
    • New insights into sport and colonial/neo-colonial relations within a transnational context
    • The politicized use of sportsmen/women as national/cultural ambassadors
    • Historical perspectives on sport for development (from a transnational perspective)

Submission Instructions

We invite the submission of abstracts (maximum 500 words) outlining the intended topic to Robert J. Lake ( by November 18, 2019. Notification of the acceptance of abstracts will be made by December 9, 2019. Full papers must then be submitted by May 31, 2020.

Please note that papers submitted to SHR should be limited to 8,000 to 10,000 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 2021 Spring Issue (no. 1) of SHR.

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