Research: Physical Cultural Studies

Physical Cultural Studies: Program Description

Physical Cultural Studies (PCS) advances the critical and theoretical analysis of physical culture, in all its myriad forms. These include sport, exercise, health, dance, and movement related practices, which PCS research locates and analyzes within the broader social, political, economic, and technological contexts in which they are situated. More specifically, PCS is dedicated to the contextually based understanding of the corporeal practices, discourses, and subjectivities through which active bodies become organized, represented, and experienced in relation to the operations of social power.

PCS identifies the role played by physical culture in reproducing, and sometimes challenging, particular class, ethnic, gender, ability, generational, national, racial, and/or sexual norms and differences. Through the development and strategic dissemination of potentially empowering forms of knowledge and understanding, PCS seeks to illuminate, and intervene into, sites of physical cultural injustice and inequity.

Since physical culture is both manifest and experienced in different forms, PCS adopts a multi-method approach toward engaging the empirical (including ethnography and autoethnography, participant observation, discourse and media analysis, and contextual analysis). PCS advances an equally fluid theoretical vocabulary, utilizing concepts and theories from a variety of disciplines (including cultural studies, economics, history, media studies, philosophy, sociology, and urban studies) in engaging and interpreting the particular aspect of physical culture under scrutiny.

Physical Cultural Studies: Program Purpose

The purpose of this program is to train a new generation of physical cultural studies scholars, who will possess researching and teaching skills appropriate to the demands of faculty positions within major research universities. Moreover, it is expected that, as determined by the focus of their research agendas, students will gain an interdisciplinary experience and understanding that will render them viable candidates for faculty positions in a number of academic domains (i.e. Socio-Cultural Aspects of Physical Activity and Health, the History of Sport, the Sociology of Sport, Cultural Kinesiology, Sport Studies, and Sport Management).

Physical Cultural Studies: Course Offerings

KNES 630

Sociology of Sport in Contemporary Perspective


Physical Cultural Studies Research and Writing Seminar

KNES 684

Sporting Hollywood

KNES 685

Sport and Globalization

KNES 689

Basketball and Black Masculinity

KNES 689

Feminist Physical Cultural Studies


Research Design: Physical Cultural Studies


Physical Cultural Studies: Culture/Theory/Articulation


Sport and the Civil Rights Movement


Sport and Mass Media


Gender and Sport


Cultural Theory, the Body, and Physical Culture

Physical Cultural Sturies: Faculty Profiles

Andrews, David L

Professor, Kinesiology

email website

(301) 405-2474
2359 SPH Bldg.

Research Focus : Social Injustices and Inequalities, Sociology of Sport, Health, and Physical Activity

Research Summary : Sports and late capitalism; Cultural Studies; Contemporary cultural theory; Globalization and sport; For more information please see Physical Cultural Studies Website or Dr Andrews' research webpage.


Beissel, Adam

Instructor, Kinesiology


SPH 2363

Research Focus : Qualitative Research Design and Methods, Social Injustices and Inequalities, Sport and Cultural Studies

Research Summary : Adam is a member of the PCS Research Group in the department of Kinesiology. His research advances the critical and theoretical study of physical culture by interrogating the cultural and political economies of sport and the active body. He is currently working toward completing his Ph.D. thesis at the University of Otago in New Zealand entitled "Sons of Samoa - Football, Postcolonial Subjectivity, and the Cultural Politics of Neoliberal Athletic Labor Markets." His project is an ethnographic exploration of interconnections between football, Samoan identity, and historical and contextual power relations.


Friedman, Michael

Research Assistant Professor, Kinesiology

Research Focus : Sociology of Sport, Health, and Physical Activity

Research Summary : Dr. Friedman's research focuses the relationship between sport and governance in the postindustrial city with a perspective informed by cultural studies and cultural geography. By examining sports facilities such as stadiums and arenas, he is concerned with the ways in which space expresses and (re)produces power relationships, social identities, and societal structures. His research has been recognized by the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport and has been published in the Sociology of Sport Journal, Journal of Urban Affairs, Journal of Sport History, and Economic Development Quarterly. For more information, please visit the Physical Cultural Studies website.


Jette, Shannon

Assistant Professor, Kinesiology


(301) 405-2497
2318 SPH Bldg.

Research Focus : History of Sport and Physical Activity, Qualitative Research Design and Methods, Social Injustices and Inequalities, Sociology of Sport, Health, and Physical Activity

Research Summary : Dr. Jette's research interests include the sociology of health, gender and physical activity; feminist poststructuralist theory; and historical aspects of medicine and the body. She is currently utilizing feminist poststructuralist discourse analysis to explore how pregnant women of differing socio-cultural backgrounds discursively construct and experience health, physical activity and pregnancy weight gain. Overall, Dr. Jettes research agenda is linked by a consistent focus on the multiple ways that active bodies are articulated into the operation of social power, with the aim of illuminating power inequalities and giving voice to subjugated knowledge(s). For more information see the Physical Cultural Studies website (


Thomas, Damion

Assistant Professor, Kinesiology


(301) 405-2450
2136 SPH Bldg.

Research Focus : Sport and Cultural Studies

Research Summary : Dr. Damion is a member of the Physical Cultural Studies Research Group in the Department of Kinesiology. For more information see the Physical Cultural Studies website.