Physical Cultures of the Body, A Virtual and In-Person Conference

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As home to one of the world’s leading research groups dedicated to the study of physical culture, the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports is proud to announce that the 2024 Physical Cultures of the Body Conference was a two-day hybrid event. In this, our fourth annual conference, we welcomed papers on historical and other humanities-based approaches to the study of exercise, strength, sport training, strength athletes, competitive lifting, the healthful benefits of exercise, and all other aspects of what we call “physical culture” across the millennia. We had many present in person this year and took the time to use the Stark’s resources during their time in Austin. By meeting together we can, hopefully, learn more about each other, discuss our work, create new collaborations, and help the field of Physical Culture Studies continue to grow.

Conference Schedule:

Thursday, January 11: Virtual Conference using Zoom:  For those who participated in previous years, the format will be the same on Thursday. The virtual conference will consist of 75-minute sessions, thematically arranged, containing three papers of 20 minutes each and a 15-minute discussion period. The organizers will attempt to create sessions from individual papers, or you can submit an entire session of three papers and/or a panel presentation. Scholars already in Austin on Thursday will be able to watch the Zoom sessions at the Stark Center on our big screen.

Friday, January 12: In-Person Sessions at the Stark Center: We hope to use the same 75-minute format for our in-person sessions, which will be held at the Stark Center on Friday. A special feature on Friday’s program is a session dedicated to Dr. John Fair’s new biography, Tommy Kono: The Life of America’s Greatest Weightlifter (McFarland Press, 2023). This excellent book was made possible by the acquisition of the Tommy Kono papers, now housed at the Stark Center. Dr. Jason Shurley and Dr. Fair are both scheduled to speak in that session.

The conference was also sponsored by the Stark Center’s Iron Game History: The Journal of Physical Culture.  The journal has established two awards for the conference: The David P. Webster Award for Best Graduate Essay and The Terry Todd Award for Best Paper by a Working Scholar. Each award winner will receive $300.00.  Iron Game History is peer-reviewed and highly cited as all our back issues are on-line and free to all for download. Submissions from scholars at all stages of their careers, and all academic disciplines, are welcomed. To learn more go to: Iron Game History.

Past Conferences:

2021 2022 2023 2024

For questions, please email conference co-organizers:

Kim Beckwith

Jan Todd