Social Science blog

07 December 2010

What is Sport History?

There’s no getting away from history, or at least that’s what I’ve deduced from creating the Olympics website. It’s supposed to be a take on the Olympics ‘through the lens of social science’ but most of the sports researchers I know are taking a quick squint at it through a pair of binoculars as well: historical ones.

 When I was at University studying for my history degree there was much discussion about what ‘history’ actually was, and later when I was doing postgraduate research this question evolved into whether history was a social science or not. I always maintained it was, particularly as LSE - where I was studying - had a history course; the BL though, has always tended to treat it as an arts and humanities subject. 

 Which brings me to a plea to break down the barriers where subject disciplines are concerned. It’s happening already in any case, with academics adopting different methodologies in their disciplines and borrowing from others. In sport they seem to happily bounce from one to another, as the past says a lot about the present – simply by the way in which it says it.

 Which all adds up to this announcement: that I’m working on adding some historical content to the Olympics website. It finds its way in anyhow, and there seems no sense in not acknowledging this, particularly as the BL has some wonderful archive resources on sport. We also have several fascinating historical contributions to add to the website soon, including some information about the predecessors of the modern Olympic Games.

 Not apropos of which, I’m totally ecstatic that England have won the 2nd Ashes Test match in Australia. Well done, Boys!

Carr, Edward Hallett, What is History? The George Macaulay Trevelyan Lectures delivered in the University of Cambridge, January-March, 1961. Macmillan & Co: London; St. Martin's Press: New York, 1961.

London reference collections:

Lending collections shelfmark: T18840

Bullock, Alan, Is history becoming a social science?: the case of contemporary history Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1977.

London reference collections: X.709/31728

Lending collections shelfmark: 1976 5183.800000



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