Call for Papers | Physical Cultures of the Body IV, a Free, Hybrid Conference | The University of Texas at Austin, January 11 (virtual) & 12 (in-person), 2024. Call ends November 19, 2023

Sponsored by The H. J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture & Sports WWW.STARKCENTER.ORG


The H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports is proud to announce that our 2024 Physical Culture of the Bodies Conference will be a two-day hybrid event. In this, our fourth annual conference, we welcome papers on historical and other humanities-based approaches to the study of exercise, strength, sport training, strength athletes, competitive lifting, the healthful benefits of exercise, and all other aspects of what we call “physical culture” across the millennia. Our hope is that many of you will choose to present in person this year and perhaps also make time to use the Stark’s resources during a visit to Austin. By meeting together we can, hopefully, learn more about each other, discuss our work, create new collaborations, and help the field of Physical Culture Studies continue to grow.

Conference Schedule

Thursday January 11

Virtual Conference using Zoom:  For those who participated in previous years, the format will be the same on Thursday. The virtual conference will consist of 75-minute sessions, thematically arranged, containing three papers of 20 minutes each and a 15-minute discussion period. The organizers will attempt to create sessions from individual papers, or you can submit an entire session of three papers and/or a panel presentation. Scholars already in Austin on Thursday will be able to watch the Zoom sessions at the Stark Center on our big screen.

Friday, January 12

In-Person Sessions at the Stark Center: We hope to use the same 75-minute format for our in-person sessions, which will be held at the Stark Center on Friday. A special feature on Friday’s program is a session dedicated to Dr. John Fair’s new biography, Tommy Kono: The Life of America’s Greatest Weightlifter (McFarland Press, 2023). This excellent book was made possible by the acquisition of the Tommy Kono papers, now housed at the Stark Center. Dr. Jason Shurley and Dr. Fair will speak in that session.

All presenters on Friday are expected to be in Austin.  We are not anticipating having some people on Zoom while others present in person. Our aim is to try and bring our scholarly community together.

Coffee, other drinks, snacks and a free lunch will be provided to paper presenters on Friday. We will share information on hotels and other matters when we know more about total number of Friday attendees. The archives will be open all week before the conference if you wish to come early and do research.  Please let us know if you wish to arrive before Thursday.

The conference is also sponsored by the Stark Center’s Iron Game History: The Journal of Physical Culture and we will again offer $300  monetary awards for The David P. Webster Award Best Graduate Student Essay and The Terry Todd Best Paper by a Working Scholar. Iron Game History is peer-reviewed and highly cited as all our back issues are on-line and free to all for download.  Submissions from scholars at all stages of their careers, and from all academic disciplines, are welcomed. To learn more go to: Iron Game History.

This is a free conference. There is no charge to present a paper or simply attend the conference as an audience member. We will require registration to watch the Zoom sessions on Thursday and to be an audience member at the Stark Center on Friday. Registration for audience members will open in late December on our website. Certificates will be sent to presenters following the event for evidence of your scholarly participation.

Abstract Submission

Please submit abstracts as a WORD DOC via email to The abstract should contain in order:

    1. Write either “ZOOM” or “IN PERSON” at the top of the page. Please also indicate if this is an Individual Paper or Part of a Session. If submitting a paper as part of a session/panel please also see below.
    2. Your name; academic affiliation; email address, and phone number. Graduate students must also  include the name of your supervising advisor and your home department.
    3. Full title of paper as it should appear in the conference program.
    4. A 250-300 word abstract discussing the paper’s subject, theoretical and methodological approaches, sources and significance of the research.
    5. Short biography of the author(s) of approximately 50 words.

Session or Panel Organizers should submit a sheet containing all the information above for themselves and also list the names and affiliations of all speakers.  Sessions should have an over-arching title and each paper should be individually titled.  Session abstracts may all be pasted into one document or they can be submitted individually.

Conference Organizers

Contact Information

Jan Todd, Stark Center,

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