Candidates for President-Elect

1) Theresa Walton serves as an Associate Professor in the Sport Administration program in the School of Foundations, Leadership and Administration at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.

Vision for NASSS: The North American Society for the Sociology of Sport has a long and rich tradition in the short, but robust, development of sociological work related to sport and physical culture. Most especially, the organization creates opportunities for scholars to come together at the annual conference each year to share our research, develop connections and foster a community to support the continued academic discovery and exploration of the social aspects and consequences of sport, and more broadly, physical culture. This varied and sophisticated research contributes immeasurably to our field of knowledge. However, I also believe that the knowledge that we construct is important not just for our own members and organization, but also to a broader audience. I would like to see us find ways to make the research that we do more visible and available to a broader audience, including media outlets. The commitment of volunteers from the organization to serve on the board makes NASSS what it is. I would like the opportunity to use the experience I’ve gained in my previous service to the organization to continue the development of NASSS. Most especially in my recent work on the board we began to develop ways to streamline the process to organize the annual conference. I would like to have a hand at continuing that project to help the organization into the future.

Qualifications for Office: NASSS has been my academic home since I first attended in Toronto in 1997. I first served NASSS as the graduate student representative in 2001 – 2002. In 2004 I served as a member of the Elections Committee and the Sociology of Sport Journal Outstanding Article award committee. In 2007 I was the Site Host for the NASSS conference in Pittsburgh, organizing the student volunteers, arranging all of the technology needs, creating welcome packages, etc. This work led me to participate in a special committee to improve the annual conference. We worked to improve communication between everyone involved in organizing the conference. This resulted in a division of labor between the treasurer and conference planner. In 2008 I took on the newly created role of Membership Liaison working with all of the members of NASSS, our Human Kinetics representative, the treasurer and secretary. I remained Membership Liaison until I was elected onto the Executive Board as a member-at-large in 2011 (to 2013). In that role I served as the chair of the Outstanding Book Award Committee one year and the Barbara Brown Student Paper Award Committee the next. My experience with this organization has been extensive. I have a working knowledge of how we do things and therefore how we can improve our organization. I have been committed to NASSS since I was a graduate student and throughout my academic career.

Summary of Publications: My work centers on critical examinations of sport and physical activity, keeping in mind both theoretical and practical concerns. Not only do I want to understand the world, but also why some are privileged, and, whether that privilege always has to come at the expense of others. These questions lead me to focus on relationships of power (along the lines of race, class, gender, sexuality, age, physical ability & any other way that we divide power among ourselves as humans) and the ways those relationships are both resisted and maintained within sporting and physical activity contexts. Beyond understanding inequitable power relations, I’d also like to understand how power could be exercised more equally. So far I have pursued these academic and civic questions primarily by examining sport media. In particular I have examined mediated narratives of whiteness in distance running in the US; national identity and distance running; girls and women’s wrestling; and issues surrounding Title IX. I am continuing my research focus on elite runner Sydney Maree and his experience of transnational identity between the United States and South Africa. Most recently I’ve turned my attention to exploring high school girls’ experiences of embodiment in relation to their media consumption and physical education and physical activity. My work has been published in the Sociology of Sport Journal; the Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal; the Journal of Popular Culture; Sport, Education & Society; and the Journal of Educational Research as well as in various book chapters.
 2) Cheryl Cooky is Associate Professor in the Department of Health & Kinesiology and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at Purdue University, USA.

Vision for NASSS: My vision for NASSS resides in a commitment to social justice and social equality; to “getting sociologists off the bench” through engagement with the media and public; and to further developing the already established ties and partnerships with the global sociology of sport community. My ideas for achieving this vision include: drafting a policy and a committee that would oversee the authorship of white papers and policy positions on critical social issues to help advance social justice and equality in sport and physical culture; expanding the NASSS blog to offer a publically accessible online platform for interested NASSS scholars to disseminate their insights on important contemporary issues in sport and physical cultures; and to continue to develop our relationships with international professional organizations such as the Korean Sociology of Sport Association, the Latin American Association for the Sociocultural Study of Sports, among others. Any vision of NASSS can only be achieved through the good stewardship of the organization’s future and through the volunteer work of its members. As such, I recognize that while this is my vision of NASSS, we must work together towards any vision we collectively wish to achieve. In this spirit, as President, I will also solicit input and insight from the membership for our collective vision.

Qualifications for Office: NASSS is an invaluable organization for me, both professionally and personally. So many of us learn, teach, and work in departments or on campuses where we are the only sociologist of sport (as broadly defined), often encountering ambivalence or outright resistance from our students, colleagues, or administrators. In this regard, the NASSS conference is truly, “the most wonderful time of the year.” My experience of NASSS has been one of academic engagement, intellectual challenge, inspired activism, professional development, and most importantly one of community. As such, I am committed to this organization that I consider a family from which I have benefitted tremendously and for which I owe more than I could possibly repay. My service to NASSS as President is one way to give back to this amazing intellectual organization. As President I will work to ensure its continued vibrancy, dynamism, and relevancy. At the same time, I recognize that the organization has not been experienced similarly by all of our membership. I am committed to continue to build upon the efforts of former NASSS leadership to ensure that NASSS is a welcoming space for all members, regardless of disciplinary training, theoretical/ methodological orientation, professional status, or social location. I have regularly attended NASSS conferences since 1996, when I first joined the organization as a second year masters student. In addition to presenting papers, organizing and moderating panel sessions, I served on the NASSS Book Award Committee, the LCD/ Projector Committee, the Conference Program Committee, the Distinguished Service Award committee, member-at-large (2011-2013) where I chaired the 2012 SSJ Award and the 2013 Outstanding Book Award Committees, and am on the Diversity and Conference Climate Committee. In addition, I am currently serving a second term as editorial board member of our journal, Sociology of Sport Journal.  I believe my participation in the myriad facets of NASSS has provided invaluable experience and insight that will serve well in my leadership of the organization.

Summary of Publications: My scholarship is interdisciplinary, situated at the intersections of sociology, kinesiology, and women’s/gender studies. Specifically, my research centers on the ways gender shapes experiences, cultural meanings and societal structures in sports contexts. It has been published in a number of academic journals including: Sociology of Sport Journal; Cultural Studies <-> Critical Methodologies; Journal of Sport and Social Issues; American Journal of Bioethics, Journal of Sex Research; Feminist Studies; Sociological Perspectives; Critical Studies in Media Communication; and Contexts: Understanding People in their Social Worlds. I have also published in various edited collections including Fallen Heroes: Sport, Media and Celebrity Culture (Larry Wenner, Ed. Peter Lang Publisher); Sociology of Sport and Social Theory (Earl Smith, Ed. Human Kinetics); Sports in Contemporary Society, 10th edition (Stan Eitzen, Ed. Oxford University Press); Sexual Sports Rhetoric (Linda Fuller, Ed. Haworth Press); and Learning Culture Through Sports: Perspectives on Society and Organized Sports (S. Spickard Prettyman & B. Lampman, Ed. Rowman & Littlefield). In addition to publishing in academic books/ journals, I also engage with the media, translating research for a public audience (New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, The Feminist Wire, Indianapolis Star, National Public Radio, ESPN Sirius Radio, Chicago Tribune, Fortune Magazine, The Globe & Mail; Pobeja [Montenegro], and several documentary films).


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