Steven Riess, Gerald Gems, Chicago Sports Reader

Steven A. Riess and Gerald R. Gems, ed. The Chicago Sports Reader: 100 Years of Sports in the Windy City. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2009.

A celebration of the fast, the strong, the agile, and the tricky throughout Chicago’s storied sports history

The Chicago Sports Reader examines Chicago’s long and glorious history of recreational and competitive sport, and as the home of the finest sporting events and most loyal fans in the United States. Contributors explore why sports have been especially important in Chicago, how these sports were organized, and how sports promote not only a sense of community and hometown pride but also the agony of defeat and betrayal. This indispensable collection surveys the essential events and main teams in the city’s sports history–the Bears, the Cubs, the White Sox, the Black Hawks, and the Bulls–as well as great Chicago sports legends Red Grange, Michael Jordan, and others. The authors also examine more specialized sports such as racing, cycling, and women’s baseball. In addition to examining the highlights of Chicago sport, The Chicago Sports Reader also acknowledges a few lowlights, such as the role of organized crime, the Cubs’ demise in 1969, and the infamous Black Sox scandal of 1919.

Contributors are George D. Bushnell, Susan K. Cahn, John M. Carroll, David Claerbaut, Bruce J. Evensen, Gerald R. Gems, Walter LeFeber, Robin Dale Lester, Michael E. Lomax, Daniel A. Nathan, Steven A. Riess, Cord Scott, and John Chi-Kit Wong.

Gerald Gems, Gertrud Pfister, Understanding American Sports

Gerald R Gems and Gertrud Pfister. Understanding American Sports. London: Routledge, 2009.


Since the nineteenth century the USA has served as an international model for business, lifestyle and sporting success. Yet whilst the language of sport seems to be universal, American sports culture remains highly distinctive. Why is this so? How should we understand American sport? What can we learn about America by analyzing its sports culture?

Understanding American Sports offers discussion and critical analysis of the everyday sporting and leisure activities of ‘ordinary’ Americans as well as the ‘big three’ (football, baseball, basketball), and elite sports heroes. Throughout the book, the development of American sport is linked to political, social, gender and economic issues, as well as the orientations and cultures of the multilayered American society with its manifold regional, ethnic, social, and gendered diversities.

Topics covered include:
* American college sports
* the influence of immigrant populations
* the unique status of American football
* the emergence of women’s sport in the USA

With co-authors from either side of the Atlantic, Understanding American Sports uses both the outsider’s perspective and that of the insider to explain American sports culture. With its extensive use of examples and illustrations, this is an engrossing and informative resource for all students of sports studies and American culture.


Gerald Gems, Linda Borish, Gertrud Pfister, Sports in American History

Gerald Gems, Linda Borish, Gertrud Pfister. Sports in American History: From Colonization to Globalization. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2008.


Sports in American History: From Colonization to Globalization journeys from the early American past to the present to give students a compelling grasp of the historical evolution of American sporting practices. This text provides students with insights that will allow them to develop new and alternative perspectives, examine sport as a social and cultural phenomenon, generate a better understanding of current sport practices, and consider future developments in sport in American life.

This expansive text is the most comprehensive resource on sport history, providing coverage of sport by historical periods—from the indigenous tribes of premodern America, through colonial societies, to the era of sport in the United States today. Unlike previous sport history texts, Sports in American History examines how women, minorities, and ethnic and religious groups have influenced U.S. sporting culture. This gives students a broader knowledge of the complexities of sport, health, and play in the American experience and how historical factors, such as gender, ethnicity, race, and religion, provide a more complete understanding of sports in American history.

Evelyn Mertin, Sowjetisch-deutsche Sportbeziehungen im “Kalten Krieg”

Evelyn Mertin. Sowjetisch-deutsche Sportbeziehungen im “Kalten Krieg”. St. Augustin: Academia Verlag, 2009.

(The Soviet-German sport relations in the “Cold War”)

The bipolar power structures of the ‘Cold War’ suggest that there were clear concepts of friends and enemies both in East and West. These political patterns were transferred to sporting comparisons of the states involved. The analysis of the Soviet sport contacts to the German Democratic Republic (GDR), on the one hand, and to the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), on the other hand, examins how the politically determined block constellations of the East-West conflict were mirrored in these relations. Furthermore, the study gives information about economic, cultural and political aspects and development in the framework of the bilateral relations. The ‘sport political playing field’ provided all parties the opportunity to communicate and negotiate at a non-public level. This almost secluded area of bilateral contacts allowed the perusal of own interests even if they sometimes diverged from traditional political patterns.

Following a description of the development of Soviet sport with particular consideration of the international sporting contacts as well as the history of the Soviet Union in the Olympic Movement, the bilateral relations to both the GDR and the FRG are analysed in detail. Furthermore, four selected topics of the Soviet-German sport relations (the status of West Berlin, the denomination of the NOC for Germany, the Olympic Games 1972 in Munich and the Olympic Games 1980 in Moscow) are examined in order to exemplify the transfer of foreign policy objectives on to sport politics. The analysis primarily covers the period from the late 1960s to the early 1980s and considers sources from Russian and German archives.

Early Career Scholars

Encouraging students around the world working on the history of sport and physical education

Dario Nardini (Italy) and Taro Obayashi (Japan) are the Early Career Scholar Representatives for the 2017-2021 Council and are responsible for questions concerning Early Career Scholars. If you have any suggestions or questions do not hesitate to contact them at

During the ISHPES congresses and seminars a social event is organized for early career scholars. This provides early career scholars with an opportunity to meet each other and begin academic networking with international scholars.

ISHPES council members are also invited to join this event and to actively exchange with the early career scholars.

The GIGLIOLA GORI AWARD is awarded for an unpublished essay of outstanding quality in the field of sport history. Eligible scholars must be a registered student (undergraduate or graduate) at the time of the Congress or Seminar or within one year of receiving a having graduated from a program of higher education. The essay must be submitted in ENGLISH and the text itself (including notes and bibliography) must not exceed 6,000 words. The main criteria for selection will be based on originality, the scientific quality of the research and the value of the study from the perspective of international sport history.
NOTE: As of the 2020 competition, applicants no longer are required to be registered members of ISHPES.

The award winner will receive the 1000 € prize, free registration at the Congress or Seminar and a year‘s membership to ISHPES. The winner’s paper will be published in The International Journal of the History of Sport and the winner, together with any other entrant whose work is recognized by the committee for its quality, will receive a diploma that will be presented during the Congress.

Information on the current competition can be found here.

Past Gigliola Gori Award Winners

Graduate students presenting papers at ISHPES Congresses or Seminars are eligible to apply for a travel grant from GERD VON DER LIPPE EARLY CAREER SCHOLAR FUND. The money will be divided among the applicants to help defray the costs of travel and accommodation at the conference. Exact amounts of the financial support will vary.

A graduate student requesting travel funds must make a request for a Gerd von der Lippe Early Career Scholar Fund grant at the same time as the abstract submission. Applications should consist of a concise letter from the prospective participant requesting a grant from the Gerd von der Lippe Early Career Scholar Fund, sent to the ISHPES General Secretary at

–Be a current ISHPES member (Join here)
–Include applicant’s academic affiliation
–Include the name and email address of applicant’s graduate program advisor

Funding requests will have no bearing on the scientific committee’s decisions on panels, but funds will not be awarded unless the applicant’s paper is accepted by the scientific committee in a separate decision.

All recipients must register for the ISHPES conference in advance.  This financial support will be disbursed to recipients by the ISHPES General Secretary at the conference. The winner of the Gigliola Gori Award is not eligible for financial support from the Gerd von der Lippe Early Career Scholar Fund.

This financial support will be disbursed to recipients by the ISHPES General Secretary at the conference.

Early Career students who present papers at ISHPES Congresses or Seminars are eligible for the ROUTLEDGE EARLY CAREER SCHOLAR PRESENTATION AWARD.  The Early Career Scholar(s) who deliver the best paper presentations will be recognized at the end of the ISHPES Congress or Seminar and will receive £75 worth of books (of their choice) from Routledge.

Routledge Early Career Scholar Presentation Award winners will be selected based on the following criteria:

1. Paper topic contributes to the field
2. Presenter develops the topic well (organized, clear and concise)
3. Presenter’s vocal presentation is audible and engaging
4. Presenter’s PowerPoint slides are well designed (readable fonts, good balance of graphics and text)
5. Presenter handles audience questions/comments well (demonstrated greater depth of topic, discussion enhanced conference participants understanding of the topic)

Past Routledge Early Career Scholar Presentation Award winners