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British Society of Sports History Annual Conference

2019 Annual Conference

The 2019 British Society of Sports History Annual Conference took place on 6th and 7th September 2019 at Liverpool Hope University.

Below is the programme and speakers. If you'd like any further information about this past event, please contact Liam O'Callaghan on ocallal@hope.ac.uk

Programme and Speakers

Day 1 - Friday 6th September 2019

From 8.30

Registration – EDEN 036 Foyer


Welcome from Professor Atulya Nagar, Deaon of the Faculty of Science (EDEN 036)


Parallel sessions

Session 1 (EDEN 041)

Depictions of gender

Chair: Clare Tebbutt

Session 2 (EDEN 043)

Sporting biographies

Chair: Geoff Levett

Session 3 (EDEN 047)

Sport and politics in Ireland

Chair: Matt McDowell

Yann Descamps (Université Paris Est Créteil)

Sport, Culture and Gender in Japanese Comic Books and Animated Series

Paul Wheeler (University of Chichester)

An Ideal Golfing Holiday - Bournemouth Golf Week 1936-1939


Conor Murray (Dublin City University)

Two Ireland’s, one game: Survival, consolidation and co-operation in Irish club football 1921-51.

Amanda Callan-Spenn (University of Wolverhampton

‘It is quite impossible to adequately conceal oneself in a bucket’: Judo in the early twentieth century – a case study of Sarah Mayer

Mike McGuinness (Teeside University)

James Robertson Justice: Actor, International Brigader and Sportsman

Helena Byrne (British Library)

Where are we now? A review of research on the history of women’s soccer in Ireland.


Veronica Smith (University of York)

Sport, Masculinity and Class: Stained glass at Victoria Baths, Manchester


Conor Curran (Trinity College Dublin)

Physical drill in Irish Free State Schools and the National Programme Conference, 1925-6


Tea and coffee


Parallel sessions

Session 1 (EDEN 041)

Sport governance and power

Chair: Allister Webb

Session 2 (EDEN 043)

Gender and controversy

Chair: Helena Byrne

Session 3 (EDEN 047)

Sporting modernities

Chair: Kay Schiller

Sam Oldfield (Manchester Met.)

An Example of Unselfishness, Tolerance and High Moral and Playing Standards’: The Formation of the International Netball Federation

Lisa Taylor (Manchester Met.)

‘Down the Lea’: Remembering rowing in East London


Keith Myerscough (De Montfort University)

Basket Brawl: An Ethnographic Image of 20th Century American Society?


Verity Postlethwaith (University of Worcester)

‘The Japanese committee was responsible for the bungling’: an analysis of media based narratives of Japan and the Paralympic Games

Raf Nicholson (Bournemouth University)

Women’s Sport Governance: Merger-Takeovers in the 1990s and beyond

Barbara Horley (De Montfort University)

Out of the Pits and Starting the First Lap! Speedway Racing in the Midlands 1932 – 1965


Andrew Hao and Thomas Hunt (University of Texas at Austin)

Olympic Ideal versus National Interests: A Case Study of International Olympic Committee Members’ Decision-Making

Marjolein Van Bavel (Institute of Historical Research)

‘La Lucha por Luchar’: The hidden histories of women in Lucha Libre in the second half of the 20th century in Mexico City

Geoff Swallow (Manchester Met.)

The Man Who Wasn’t There: the Jarvis-Nuttall ‘match’ of 1901 as a space of modernity






Sir Derek Birley lecture (EDEN 130)

Dr Paul Rouse (University College Dublin)

The Invention of Hurling



Tea and coffee  


Parallel sessions  


Session 1 (EDEN 041)

Public history and heritage

Chair: Heather Dichter

Session 3 (EDEN 105)

Cricket histories

Chair: Raf Nicholson


Gary James (De Montfort University)

Fact v Fiction: The need for historians in a 'Fake News' world

Jeremy Lonsdale (Independent)

Pains, trains and horse-drawn omnibuses’: the gruelling travel demands on early English cricket professionals


Sarah Wickham (University of Huddersfield)

Sporting heritage and public history

Derek Barnard (Independent)

The Perils of being the Editor of Wisden and choosing the five cricketers of the year


Charles Little (St Mary’s University, Twickenham)

Association Football, Place and Community in New Zealand's Coan Mining Towns



BSSH Annual General Meeting (EDEN 043)


Wine reception: EDEN Arbour Room


Conference dinner: EDEN Arbour Room

 Day 2 - Saturday 7th September 2019


Parallel Sessions

Session 1 (EDEN 041)

Events and politics

Chair: Verity Postlethwaite

Session 2 (EDEN 043)

Sporting origins

Chair: Mike McGuinness

Session 3 (EDEN 047)

Historiographical issues

Chair: Liam O’Callaghan

George Kioussis (California State University)

From Statesman to Sportsman: Henry Kissinger and the FIFA World Cup


Declan O’Keefe (Clongowes Wood College)

‘All the other boots and legs ran after’ The long life and slow death of ‘Gravel’ football.

Mike Huggins (University of Cumbria)

Symanski’s associativity theory, gambling and the rise of proto-modern British sport, 1660-1800

Heather Dichter (De Montfort University)

“Losers Wonder: Why Grenoble?”: The Race for the 1968 Winter Olympic Games

Taylor Aucoin (University of Bristol)

‘For the Use and Benefit of the Company’: The Folk Custom of Ball Money and the Social Value of Football in Premodern Britain.

Allister Webb (Manchester Met.)

Why history matters in contemporary sporting events: A case study of the bidding process for international cricket matches in England and Wales

Elizabeth Gennari (Rowan University)

FSG Were Made for Liverpool, and Liverpool Were Made for FSG: How the Boston Red Sox’s Management Foreshowed Liverpool FC’s Renaissance

Helen Cromarty (University of Wolverhampton)

William Penny Brookes and the Wenlock Olympian Games

Mike Cronin (Boston College)

The 1995 Lansdowne Road Riot and the Perpetuation of a Myth


Tea and Coffee



Lord Aberdare Literary Prize Lecture (EDEN 036)

Eric Chaline

Physical Cultures: Exploring the Embodied Past through the History of Sport



Parallel sessions


Session 1 (EDEN 041)

German sport histories

Chair: TBC

Session 2 (EDEN 047)

Wartime sport

Chair: Derek Barnard



Iain Adams (Independent)

The Wasserkuppe and the Sportification of Gliding in the Weimar Republic

Matt Taylor (De Montfort University)

‘A Disgrace to the Nation’? Sport and the Wartime Sunday in Britain, 1939-45


Luise Elsaesser (European University Institute)

Horseracing in the German Empire: History of a British Export

Martin Smith (Sheffield Hallam University)

Conscience of the nation: The changing perceptions of football during the First World War




Parallel Sessions


Session 1 (EDEN 041)

Athletic bodies

Chair: Nick Piercey

Session 2 (EDEN 047)

British sports abroad

Chair: Liam O’Callaghan


Derek Martin (Manchester Met.)

Birkenhead to Brooklyn:  transatlantic pedestrians in the mid-nineteenth century

Wouter De Wet (University of the Free State)

A history of the South African Rugby Football Board (SARFB): Early years, 1889-1914.


Keith Rathbone (Marquerie University)

Corporeal Power: A French View of Athletic American Bodies in the Interwar

Adam Burns (University of Wolverhampton)

The Rise and Fall of Rugby in the Northeastern United States, c.1857-1890


Clare Tebbutt (Trinity College Dublin)

“That Man-Woman Athlete Problem”: Grappling with questions of sex differentiation in 1930s women’s sport, and their resonance today.

Meilyr Emrys (Independent)

John D. Marsh: ‘The sturdy little Welshman from Winnipeg’


Conference close