Professor Douglas Booth began his academic career in the mid-1980s in the Development Studies Unit at the University of Natal (Durban, South Africa) as a postgraduate student and researcher. During the course of his research into politics of economic underdevelopment under apartheid, Douglas became interested in the sports boycott of South Africa which led him to research the social meaning of sports. In 1993, Professor Booth completed his PhD in the Politics Department at Macquarie University (Sydney) under the supervision of Colin Tatz, which traced the history of the sports boycott in South Africa. Douglas began lecturing the social history of sports at University of Otago’s School of Physical Education in 1994, where he worked with John Loy, before moving to the University of Waikato as a Professor of Sport and Leisure Studies in 2004. In mid-2006 Douglas was appointed Chair of the Sport and Leisure Studies Department at Waikato until November 2007, when he returned to Otago University to take up the position as Dean of the School of Physical Education.
Professor Booth’s research primarily focuses on political and cultural aspects of sport. Within this broad framework he has examined racism in South African sport, the politics of the olympic movement, the cultures of surfing and surf lifesaving, and the nature of extreme sport. In recent years he has turned his attention to the historiography of sport history.
Douglas is an executive member of the Australian Society for Sports History and serves on the editorial boards of Rethinking History, Journal of Sport History, Sport History Review and Sporting Traditions. He is also an Australasian Book Reviews Editor for the International Journal of the History of Sport. Professor Booth has co-edited two special editions of Sporting Traditions, “The End of Sports History?” (vol 16, no 1, 1999, with Annemarie Jutel) and “The Cultural Turn in Sport History” (vol 27, no 2, 2010, with Murray Phillips).
Douglas has contributed to numerous encyclopedias including Encyclopedia Britannica and the Encyclopedia of World Sport. He is co-editor of the Berkshire Encyclopedia of Extreme Sports (Great Barrington, MA: 2007) with Holly Thorpe. Dr Thorpe and Professor Booth also co-edit the Greenwood Press series on Extreme Sports; Douglas’s contribution, Surfing: The Ultimate Guide, launched the series in 2011.
Selected Recent Publications:
Douglas Booth, “Invitation to Historians: The Historiographical Turn of a Practicing (Sport) Historian”, Rethinking History, 18, 4 (2014), pp. 583-598.
Douglas Booth, “Narrative Form: Understanding Representations of Olympic Pasts”, Olympika, 22 (2013), pp. 91-112.
Douglas Booth, “Remembering Smithells: Past, Present, Future”, Quest, 65, 4 (2013), pp. 394-411.
Douglas Booth, “Seven (1 + 6) Surfing Stories: The Practice of Authoring”, Rethinking History, 16, 4 (2012), pp. 565–585.
Douglas Booth, “Bondi Park: Making, Practicing and Performing a Museum”, in Murray Phillips (ed.), Representing the Sporting Past in Museums and Halls of Fame (London: Routledge, 2012), pp. 204-30.
Douglas Booth, “Beyond History: Racial Emancipation and Ethics in Apartheid Sport”, Rethinking History, 14, 4 (2010), pp. 461-81.