Cécile Ottogalli-Mazzacavallo and Jean Saint-Martin, Women and Men in Mountain Sports: Beyond the Differences

Cécile Ottogalli-Mazzacavallo and Jean Saint-Martin. Women and Men in Mountain Sports: Beyond the Differences. Grenoble: MSH des Alpes, 2009.

Following the works on Sport and Gender introduced in France by the Centre for Research and Innovation in Sport (CRIS-University Lyon1-France), this book will focus on the role of mountain sports in the construction of sexual identities. Mountain sports are analyzed by different scientific fields (History, Sociology, Anthropology, Management, Economy, Psychology and Educational Sciences) and at various levels going from the processes involved in sport until the practices themselves.

This book is the proceedings of the International Congress which was organized in Lyon in May 2008. Here, 30 articles highlight the gendered conditions of the birth and development of the mountain sports. It would like to complete the current knowledge on the construction of masculinities and femininities and on the hierarchical relationships between them.

What was and what is the specificity of mountain sports according to gender? How can gender influenced spaces, times, practices and mountain sport institutions?

This book analyzes nine thematic topics:
–Sexual Imagination and mountain
–Sports Organizations, Gender and mountain
–“New practices”, Gender and mountain
–Sports Event, Gender and mountain
–Professionalization, Gender and mountain
–Actors, actresses and mountain
–Sexuality and mountain
–Techniques, technology, Gender and mountain

Gigliola Gori, Sport and Gender Matters in Western Countries: Old Borders and New Challenges

Gigliola Gori, ed. Sport and Gender Matters in Western Countries: Old Borders and New Challenges. Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag, 2008.

Sport historians present their evidence of, and arguments about the past in different ways, but this collection of diverse and interesting approaches to the role of gender in sport history is proof of the discipline’s richness and creativity. These welcome shifts in approaches to gender provide a compelling reason to bring together this interesting collection of studies around the history and sociology of women in sport, physical education, dance, games. Together they convey the complexity of gender as a topic of study both thematically and geographically while each chapter introduces a perspective which asks different questions, challenges traditional thinking and throws new light upon women’s abilities to play, lead, jump, manage and boldly go where men have told them not to tread. We can see how important it is to continue to focus upon the complexities and contradictions that still face women and girls as a result of their gender and culture. More subtly, the studies in this transnational and diverse collection provide cogent examples of ‘doing gender’ in sport and physical education that offer the potential to decode gender arrangements, debate them, and provide inspiration for critical and tactical engagement with the lived messiness of contemporary life.


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.