PUBlic Professor Series | Dr. Carly Adams

"Hey, why don't we have a bonspiel?" Oral Histories, Sport, and (re)Imagining Community

Dr. Carly Adams, Department of Kinesiology & Physical Education

In this talk, Dr. Adams will highlight the value of conducting oral histories, both as a methodological strategy, and a form of activist research. Drawing on a number of projects, she explores how oral histories allow us to consider, question, and, in some instances, rewrite dominant narratives of community, sport, and social change.

In particular, she will address two projects, separated by time and space, to consider the place of oral history in contemporary scholarship and communities. On one hand, Dr. Adams considers the case of the Preston Rivulettes, arguably the greatest women’s hockey team ever to lace up their skates. On the other, she considers a current project she's working on with Dr. Darren Aoki (Plymouth University, UK), in which they consider community (re)building in the Nikkei community in southern Alberta in the post-WWII period.

Individually and together, these projects highlight the value of oral histories, both in terms of drawing attention to histories too often left in the margins of scholarly work, and in reminding ourselves and each other about critical moments, peoples, and communities in histories of the places and spaces we inhabit.

Carly Adams is a Board of Governors Research Chair (Tier II), Acting Associate Dean in the School of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Lethbridge. She is also a founding and active member of the Centre for Oral History and Tradition. She is in her third year of a five-year appointment on the Canada Sports Hall of Fame Honoured Members Selection Committee.

As a social historian and an advocate for oral history, Carly explores community, resiliency and gender in her research, with a focus on sport, recreation, and leisure experiences.

She is author of Queen's of the Ice, a book about the Preston Rivulettes women's hockey team from the 1930s, the editor of a textbook, Sport and Recreation in Canadian History and co-editor of Routledge Handbook of Sport History both forthcoming in 2020.

In 2017, she teamed up with Dr. Darren Aoki at the University of Plymouth, UK and several community partners (Galt Museum, the Nikka Yuko Japanese Canadian Garden and the Nikkei Cultural Society of Lethbridge and Area) to launch the Nikkei Memory Capture Project, a long-term community-based oral history project to spur the narration of the history of Japanese Canadians in the second half of the twentieth century. In the Spring of 2019, Carly and Darren were the recipients of a five-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grant to continue this research. They are also working on a book project with UBC Press titled NiseiMemories of Striving and Legacies of Resilience.

ICYMI: Watch the video