Gertrud Pfister, ed., Gymnastics, a Transatlantic Movement: From Europe to America

Gertrud Pfister, ed. Gymnastics, a Transatlantic Movement: From Europe to America. London: Routledge, 2010.

This book explores, analyses, and explains divergent ideologies and practices of gymnastics in selected European nations. It reconstructs the ex- and import processes from Europe to America and determines the processes, interrelationships and transformations of these “transatlantic movements” in their new home country. The book offers a more complete understanding of the role of gymnastics and expressive movements in cultural and ideological transmission over time and identifies the impact of these concepts on American physical education, sports systems and sports cultures.

The main focus of the book lies in the two decades before and after World War I. This concentration on a specific historical epoch allows us to identify parallel, but also different developments of the various forms of gymnastics and of the transfer and implementation processes.

The volume covers the transfer and impact of German Turnen, Czech Sokol and the Delsarte system in North America. In addition, it traces the influences of French gymnastics in South America and describes the tours of the world-renowned Danish gymnastic reformer Nils Bukh in both Americas. A focus will be the “import” of gymnastics, but also on the adaption processes of these different concepts and their integration into the American culture.

This book was previously published as a special issue of the International Journal of the History of Sport.

Table of Contents
1. Prologue: Gymnastics – Divergent European Principles and Practices and American Transformative Reactions and Responses Gertrud Pfister

2. The Role of German Turners in American Physical Education Gertrud Pfister

3. The German Turners and the Taming of Radicalism in Chicago Gerald Gems

4. From Jahn to Lincoln: Transformation of Turner Symbols in a New Cultural Setting Annette Hofmann

5. Our Brothers Across the Ocean: The Czech Sokol in America to 1914 Claire E. Nolte

6. French Gymnastics in Brazil: Dissemination, Diffusion and Relocalization Thierry Terret and Leomar Tesche

7. Globalization Before Globalization: Niels Bukh and the American Connection Hans Bonde

8. American Delsartism: Precursor of an American Dance Art Nancy Lee Chalfa Ruyter

9. Transatlantic Traffic in Expressive Movement: From Delsarte and Dalcroze to Margaret H’Doubler and Rudolf Laban Patricia Vertinsky

10. Body Regimes: Swedish Gymnastics in the United States Jan Lindroth

11. Epilogue: Gymnastics from Europe to America Gertrud Pfister

Author Biography
Gertrud Pfister is professor at the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, University of Copenhagen. She serves as a member of the scientific boards in the European College of Sport Sciences (ECSS), WSI (Women’s Sport International) and International Association of Physical Education and Sport of Girls and Women (IAPESGW). She is also a member of the editorial boards of fifteen scientific journals and she served in several committees which evaluated sport faculties. She has won four awards for her scholarly work, among others, the Award of the International Society for Sport History and the Howell and Howell Distinguished Lecturer Award of NASSH. She has published more than 20 books and more than 200 scholarly articles. She is co-author of Understanding American Sport (2009). She is active in various sports and has served in sport clubs and federations.