Mary Louise Adams

Mary Louise Adams


PhD (University of Toronto), MA (University of Kent), BA (Trent University)

Kinesiology and Health Studies

Queen's University

613-533-6000 ext. 74723


Office Hours By Appointment

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My research investigates everyday movement and recreation cultures as sites where relations of domination are both produced and resisted. Drawing on literatures and theories from feminist studies, cultural studies, and sport studies, and using a range of qualitative, interpretive, and historical methods, I explore embodiment, the meanings of movement, and the relationship between active bodies and their historical and cultural contexts.  My current projects are concerned with: the political, environmental and cultural history of a municipal park; expressions of feminist and utopian ideals in recreational sports; and sexual harassment in sport coaching.


Artistic Impressions: Figure Skating, Masculinity and the Limits of Sport. University of Toronto Press, 2011.

  • Women’s and Gender Studies Association Outstanding Scholarship Prize, 2013
  • North American Society for Sport History Book Award, 2012
  • North American Society for the Sociology of Sport Book Award, 2012, Honourable Mention 

The Trouble with Normal: Postwar Youth and the Making of Heterosexuality. University of Toronto Press, 1997.

Articles and book chapters

“Revolution, utopia, and feminist softball: sport as a site of political transformation” for Reading the Past Critically, a special issue of Journal of Sport History (forthcoming 2021).

Barnes, S. & Adams, M.L. “Methods and Theory in Historical Research” in Sport and  Recreation in Canadian History, edited by Carly Adams. Human Kinetics (forthcoming 2021).

“Objectified bodies and instrumental movement: What might Merleau-Ponty say about fitness tracking?” Sport, Physical Culture and the Moving Body: Materialism, Technologies and Ecologies edited by Joshua L. Newman, Holly Thorpe and David L Andrews. Rutgers University Press, 2020.

Adams, M.L. & Barnes, S., “Sex, gender and sexuality,” in Social Dimensions of Canadian Sport and Physical Activity, Second edition, edited by Jay Scherer and Brian Wilson. Toronto: Pearson, 2020.

“Step-counting in the ‘health society’: Phenomenological reflections on walking in the era of the Fitbit.”Social Theory and Health 17, no. 1 (2018), 109-124.

Adams M.L., Davidson, J., Jamieson, K., Helstein, M., Kyoung-Yim, K., King, S., McDonald, M.G., Rail, G. “Feminist cultural studies: Uncertainties and possibilities,” Sociology of  Sport Journal 33, no. 1 (2016), 75-91.

“Feminism and sport,” Routledge Handbook of Sport and Politics, edited by Alan Bairner, John Kelly and Jung Woo Lee. London: Routledge, 2016, 115-125.

“Astounding exploits and laborious undertakings: Nineteenth-century pedestrianism and the cultural meanings of endurance,” in Endurance Sports edited by William Bridel, Jim Denison and Pirkko Markula. Routledge: 2016. pp. 19-34.

“No taste for rough and tumble play: Sport discourses and the regulation of effeminacy,” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 19, no. 4 (2013), 515-543.

“From mixed-sex sport to sport for girls: The feminization of figure skating.” Sport in History 30, no. 2 (June 2010), pp. 218-241.

  • Taylor & Francis Sport in History Prize for best article published in 2010

“The Manly History of a Girls’ Sport: Gender, Class and the development of nineteenth-century figure skating.” International Journal for the History of Sport 24, no. 7 (July 2007), pp. 872-893.

“The game of whose lives? Notes on gender and identity in a hockey mad culture.” In Artificial Ice: Hockey, Commerce and Cultural Identity, edited by David Whitson and Richard Gruneau. Toronto: Broadview Press, 2006. pp. 71-84.

“‘Death to the prancing prince’: Effeminacy, sport discourses and the salvation of men’s dancing.” Body and Society 11, no. 4 (December 2005), pp. 63-86.

I am interested in supervising graduate students with an orientation towards cultural studies of the body, sport, and exercise, especially those with an interest in some combination of feminism, embodiment, gender and sexuality, everyday movement cultures, walking, parks, public space, and utopian futures.

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to apply for scholarships and awards offered through the Ontario Graduate Scholarship program, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and other agencies that provide funding to graduate students. Deadlines for SSHRC generally fall in October – several months before the deadlines for our graduate programs. Only students who have already applied for funding from these external agencies will be eligible for the various fellowships and awards offered by Queen’s University to incoming students.