2017 ASSH Fellows

8 July 2017
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The ASSH Executive created three ASSH Fellows in 2017 for outstanding contributions to the scholarship of sports history in Australia:

A/Prof Rob Hess (BA(Hons), Monash; MA, Alberta; PhD, VicUni)

Rob’s scholarship has focused on the history of Australian Rules football. His books on the subject include:

A National Game: The History of Australian Rules Football (2008)
More Than a Game: An Unauthorised History of Australian Rules Football (1998)
Play On! The Hidden History of Women’s Australian Rules Football (2016)

A National Game won the ASSH Book Award in 2009 and Play On! won the ASSH Book Award in 2017.

The inconspicuous past is a common theme in Rob’s research. This theme is most apparent in the titles of his works that include words such as “hidden”, “secret” and “marginalised”. Rob’s theme of the inconspicuous past draws particular attention to the longstanding interest, and involvement, in Australian Rules football from women and the Chinese community. This theme also extends to Rob’s work on the history of disability sport in Victoria.

Rob holds a senior position in professional sport history as the Academic Editor of the discipline’s largest journal, The International Journal of the History of Sport.

In addition to his academic scholarship, Rob is deeply involved in community sport history: he is a member of the Western Bulldogs Football Club Heritage Committee, a member of Cycling Victoria’s History and Heritage Committee, and the honorary historian of the St Bede’s / Mentone Tigers Amateur Football Club.

Rob served as President of the Australian Society for Sports History between 2011 and 2013.

A/Prof Tara Magdalinski (BHMS (Hons), UQ; PhD, UQ)

Tara’s scholarship conjoins sociology and history and she has published across the spectrum of sports studies. Her more recent research explores the interface between performance technologies, nature and the athletic body. Tara’s goal has been to understand concerns about “unnatural” enhancement and expectations of “authenticity” in sport. Her major texts include:

With God on their Side: Sport in the Service of Religion (2003)
Sport, Technology and the Body: The Nature of Performance (2008)
Study Skills for Sports Studies (2013)

Tara is committed to teaching and learning in the tertiary sector, and to equipping students with the academic skills necessary to succeed at University. She is currently the Associate Dean for Learning Innovation in the Faculty of Health, Arts and Design at Swinburne. Tara has used her knowledge of sports studies to advance teaching and learning programmes by producing a series of student-friendly teaching documents. These include:
• Research Methods for Sports Studies,
• Communication and Media in Sport,
• Core Academic Skills for Sports Studies,
• Sociology of Sport, and
• Player Development and Welfare.

Tara has served three terms as President of the Australian Society for Sports History, from 2005–2011.

A/Prof Murray Phillips (BA(Hons), UQ; PhD, UQ)

Murray’s initial research was in the social history of sport where he built a reputation for his scholarship on sport and war, sport and gender, and the social histories of golf, rugby league and rugby union. In mid-career, Murray turned his attention to historiography as a specific genre within sport history. Working in this genre, Murray has produced several award winning books. These include:

Deconstructing Sport History: A Postmodern Analysis (2006)
Representing the Sporting Past in Museums and Halls of Fame (2011)
Examining Sport Histories: Power, Paradigms, and Reflexivity (2013)
Sports History in the Digital Age (2015)

Murray has received an Australian Research Council grant to investigate the history of the Paralympic movement in Australia. As well as evidence of peer esteem, the ARC grant articulates Murray’s historiographical acumen. His research project for the grant explores communications technologies and the ways these technologies link scholars, sport practitioners, and professional online editors to document the evolving past.

Murray is the Editor of the Journal of Sport History, the official organ of the North American Society for Sport History. He served as President of the Australian Society for Sports History between 2013 and 2015.


Follow the link to a full list of ASSH Fellows and Service Awards.