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Training the people. A transnational history of sport in interwar Europe.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Training People (Training the people. A transnational history of sport in interwar Europe.)

Período documentado: 2020-09-01 hasta 2022-08-31

In the European interwar period, sport was impacted by considerable changes. In fact, this period is particularly important for the history of sports. For instance, amateurism gave way to national and social ideals. The world of sport also became highly politicised. To date, this change process has been studied on a national historical basis. As such, it remains unexplored in its transnational dimension. The EU-funded Training People project will investigate the changing nature of European sport from a transnational perspective, revealing similarities and national differences. The project will focus on three main aspects of European sport related to the perception of hygiene and health campaigns, the politicisation of sports events and the growing replacement of amateurism by professionalism.
The researcher dedicated all her time to the EU project and worked in the various directions indicated in the application. This occurred as a complete immersion as staff member of the host university in Germany. Skills were developed in the area of scientific knowledge, languages, project management, communication, career development and team management.

In academic terms, the researcher studied international literature on physical training in interwar Europe and developed some cross analysis that she presented on the occasion of conferences and seminars. For example, she was invited to give a lecture entitled ‘Physical education and sport in the first half of the 20th century – on the genesis of a cultural heritage in Europe’, to open the history section of the 1st Romanian International Conference in Sports History, “Sport and its transformations – from marginal to global practice”, National University of Physical Education and Sport, Bucharest (Romania), 10/06/2021. She also gave a paper entitled ‘Reconstruction of the body: sport and hygiene in interwar Europe’, at the prestigious Webinar Series organised by the International Centre for Sports History and Culture (ICSHC), De Montfort University Leicester (UK), 09/03/2022.
Beyond these invited lectures, the researcher presented her findings and methodology at various conferences, for example:
• 24th Congress of the European Committee for Sports History (CESH) / International Society for the History of Physical Education and Sport (ISHPES), New University Lisbon (Portugal), 14-16/09/2021
• 15e Carrefours d’histoire du sport « Vingt ans après… écrire l’histoire du sport », University of Artois, Arras, 19-21/10/2021
• British Society for Sport History (BSSH) 40th Anniversary Conference, De Montfort University, Leicester (UK), 25-26/08/2022 (paper entitled ‘From drill to fun? Differences and variations in interwar British physical education’).
• “ ‘Propagandare il nuoto’ e costruire piscine: un progetto educativo e politico incompiuto del fascismo in Italia continentale e in Sardegna”, Keynote paper, 9e congrès de la Société italienne d’histoire du sport (SISS), Université de Cagliari, Sardaigne (Italie), 8-9/10/2021.

In terms of dissemination and mentoring, the researcher participated in the supervision of master and PhD students in France and Germany and on the occasion of a Summer School in Switzerland, where she also gave a paper entitled ‘The Stadium: social, political and arts history of sport’ (Invited Paper, Summer School, University of Lausanne (CH), 30/08/2021).
During the time of the project, she supervised one doctoral student working on the history of physical education in France and enrolled a new doctoral student working on cycling in fascist Italy. Both of them have been active in the field, giving papers and publishing scientific articles.
What is more, the researcher continued to act as an editor in chief of the academic journal ‘European Studies in Sports History’ and managed to bring three volumes to a nearly completion. To achieve this, she was in permanent contact with the authors, editors, reviewers and the publisher. Fortunately, she was able to gain some help from the host institution to prepare the manuscripts.
In editorial terms, the researcher also edited a couple of special issues of ranked academic journals.
Regarding work on the cohesion of the research field, the researcher became in September 2021 the President of the European Committee for Sports History (CESH) for the next four years and she has worked to structure the field, organise the society’s annual international congress, reinforce communication, etc.

As part of her expertise work, the researcher has participated to the assessment of 6 PhD dissertations and a couple of French “habilitations” degrees.

Finally, as part of her career development plan, the researcher applied to a professorship position and succeeded, becoming Professor at the University of Rouen Normandy (France) on the first day after the end of the EU project (01/09/2022).
The research developed by the researcher has been able to cross new boundaries. In terms of research knowledge and methods this led to new findings and to the possibility to highlight overlooked links in the historical development of cultural practices of several European countries.
One noticeable output of the conducted work is the forthcoming publication of an edited collection of chapters dealing with 100 objects linked to the history of sport in Europe. 110 authors from 39 countries participated in this project headed by the researcher and her supervisor at the host institution. The publication is expected to be out by the end of 2022 with Arete Verlag in Germany.
The researcher has also been active in public engagement and wide societal projects. In fact, she has integrated the History Commission of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games Committee. There she participated in several meetings to discuss and influence the cultural dimension of the Paris 2024 Olympics. What is more, she has integrated a team of sports historians specialised in the history of the Olympics, which is very much involved in the dissemination of knowledge to the wider public. An exhibition for which she has been on the scientific board is currently touring in France and she has coedited a book on the general history of the Olympic movement, aimed at a large audience. The upcoming Olympic celebration in Paris in 2024 gives the researched a valuable platform to be able to disseminate knowledge on sports history to the public.
As she has be promoted to Professor the researcher has developed plans to increase collaboration and dissemination in sports history in Europe, helping to build the international sports history agenda and make sport a visible and recognised research field in society.

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