Historical Social Research

43.2 - Visualities – Sports, Bodies, and Visual Sources

HSR Vol. 43 (2018) No. 2: Special Issue: Visualities – Sports, Bodies, and Visual Sources, Jörn Eiben & Olaf Stieglitz (Eds.)

Body and movement are core elements of sport. This understanding is inextricably tied to and regularly updated through an abundance of sport images that appear in numerous media, from scientific treatises via manuals and handbooks, through to illustrated special interest magazines, from billboard posters to collectors’ cards and fine art, and from newsreels to Hollywood blockbusters.

The essays assembled in this HSR Special Issue take these close relationships between the physical and the visual aspects of sports seriously and propose a combined approach, in which the visuality of sporting bodies forms the centre of attention. They thus underline two important trends within recent historiography and suggest their relevance for sport history: First, the history of the body as an important perspective that particularly underlines the cultural turn within historiography, and, second, the remarkably growing interest in visual culture studies, which emphasize how the plurality of manners of watching and displaying powerfully structure our daily lives.

Reflecting the interdisciplinarity necessary for such an approach, the international group of authors comes from the academic fields of history, sport studies, media studies, literature, and art history. Their contributions cover a wide range of sport historical topics from Olympic Games as media events, to aerobic videos and feminism, from the importance of football paintings for national memory politics to depicting athletes as foreign enemies in the Cold War.