In 2011, the Australian Society for Sports History (ASSH) held its biennial conference, “Sporting Traditions XVIII,” with an overarching theme of “The Past in the Present: Sport History and Popular Culture.” As the organizers explained in the conference brochure:
The sporting past is everywhere. From the scoreboard at the Adelaide Oval, to the statue of Michael Jordan outside the United Centre in Chicago, to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, to the catalogue of historical sporting films like Chariots of Fire, to sporting enactments like the Medieval Tournament held annually north of Brisbane [Australia], to commemorative events like the annual Swim in the Dardanelles, to new media like the internet, to books written by historians, journalist and sportspeople, the sporting past is found in the present in a multitude of other forms.
Three keynote speakers—Douglas Booth, Barbara Keys and Kevin Moore—and keynote respondent Martin Crotty were invited to discuss the relationship between sport history and popular culture. The Executive Committee of ASSH subsequently agreed to the publication of these keynote addresses as a forum for a larger audience, hence their appearance in this issue of the Journal of Sport History.
Each of these keynote speakers approached the relationship between sport history and popular culture from their areas of expertise. Douglas Booth evaluates social history, affect, and ethics through a case study of surfing. Barbara Keys addresses the neglect of historians to investigate the sensorial and emotional dimensions of the sporting past. Kevin Moore as director of the National Football Museum (Manchester, England) uses his experience in museums to explore the relationship between academic and public sport history. [End Page 1] Finally, Martin Crotty with the advantage of reading the written papers in advance of the conference, and the reworked papers for this forum, contextualizes the keynote speakers’ positions and adds another layer of analysis to understanding the sporting past as an incredibly important part of the present. [End Page 2]
The University of Queensland