The Making of Modern English Sport
This essay examines the politics of representation in the processes whereby English sport became increasingly separated from older social logics to emerge as a distinctive cultural object and field of social practice. This involved the uses of new modes of representation in the promotion of emergent philosophical / political / moral discourses about the legitimate uses of time, space, money, competition and the body, many of which contributed after the 17th century to the imagination of England as a national and modern community. By the late nineteenth century, English middle class moral entrepreneurs were promoting a complex modernist vision of sport as an autonomous, universal and potentially civilizing form of cultural expression.
The visual culture of early twentieth-century physical education drew upon art historical sources and conditioned the reception of modernism’s formalist aesthetics in the United States. Focusing on the 1913 Armory Show and the American Posture League, this essay explores the convergence of formalist and physiological modes of viewing in abstract structural imagery and theories of kinesthetic empathy.
Incorporating the "Other" within Canadian Hockey Films
While cultural critics have debated the ways in which narratives of hockey have been mobilized to stand in for Canadian-ness, filmmakers have been slower to take up this critique. This paper considers two recent feature films: Breakaway tells the story of a Sikh-Canadian determined to achieve hockey stardom in the face of ridicule within his own culture and racism from the hockey community, while Score: A Hockey Musical profiles a hockey prodigy forced to confront the game’s hyper-masculine expectations, using the camp tropes of musical cinema. While these films confront the hyper-masculinity and whiteness of hockey, the expansion of the boundaries of Canadian national identity their characters suggest is illusory.
Ways of Knowing Mixed Martial Arts and Visual Culture
This paper examines the intersection of ways of knowing Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) skill and visual culture with a specific focus on the ways in which MMA coaches and practitioners engage with the visual as a part of learning and coaching MMA: illustrated with examples from an ethnographic study of two MMA gyms. Existing research has only relatively recently begun to systematically explore the significance and connections between sport, education, new media technologies and visual culture. In this paper I argue that the practitioners and coaches engage with different aspects of visual culture through diverse channels as part of the process of developing practical understanding and skills required for MMA.
A Photographic Dialogue
This photo-essay was produced as part of an autoethnographic research project humorously entitled Feminist Figure Girl: Look Hot While You Fight the Patriarchy. From 2010 to 2011, Lianne McTavish studied what it felt like to train for and participate in a figure/bodybuilding competition, working with designer and photographer Patrick J. Reed to represent the process. The resulting photographs highlight scenes of tedious labour, vulnerability, and imperfection, intervening in the standard portrayals of competitive bodybuilding as the masterful domination of flesh. The pictures furthermore reveal the collaborative nature of bodybuilding practices, a point reinforced by the dual voices in the accompanying captions.