Dr Matthew L McDowell

Lecturer in Sport Policy, Management, and International Development


I am trained as an historian. I have previously been employed by Glasgow and Kingston Universities as a tutor and sessional lecturer, and I have taught on a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in sports studies, Scottish studies and history.

Additionally, I have a practical background in recreation via the Scouting movement, both in the UK and the US.


  • 2000-2004: The College of New Jersey: BA (with departmental honours), History 
  • 2005-2010: University of Glasgow: PhD, Scottish History

Responsibilities & affiliations

I am the Chair of the British Society of Sports History; previously, I was the Society's Secretary and Scottish network organiser. I have experience in organising conferences and symposia. Additionally, I have peer-reviewed manuscripts for a variety of scholarly journals, including Scottish Affairs, Sport in History, International Journal of the History of Sport, Women’s History Review, and the Journal of Scottish Historical Studies. I actively review books for a variety of international publications.

Undergraduate teaching


  • SPRT08018 – Sport Management 1
  • SPRT08001 – Social Research Methods
  • SPRT10005 – Advanced Research Methods
  • SPRT10019 – Social History of Sport in Scotland


  • 2nd-year professional placements
  • 4th-year dissertations

Personal tutor

  • 1st- and 2nd-year students: BSc, Sport and Recreation Management

Postgraduate teaching


  • Dissertations: MSc Sport Policy, Management, and International Development

Personal tutor

  • 1st-year students: MSc Sport Policy, Management, and International Development

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I am able to supervise PhD the topics listed in the research tab. Additionally, I have the knowledge base to supervise other projects, including in the following areas:

  • The history of education (including physical education)
  • Sport/event management
  • North American sport
  • The Scottish diaspora and sport
  • The history and politics of baseball
  • Hill walking, land politics, and environmentalism

Research summary

My research interests are primarily in the history of Scottish, British, and ‘North Atlantic’ sport. My work is based on archival research, document analysis, and other qualitative methods. Themes of my work include:

  • ‘Second-order’ sporting events
  • The history of football
  • Sport on the Atlantic Rim
  • The patronage of sport by industrialists, politicians, and landowners
  • Sport, material culture, and the politics of representation
  • Scottish/British sport, Empire, and decolonisation
  • Lifestyle sports in Scotland

Research activities

View activity on Research Explorer

Project activity

  • The politics and ‘legacy’ of the 1970 and 1986 Commonwealth Games, Edinburgh
  • The history of Scottish surfing
  • Scottish football and Scandinavia
  • Sport on the Atlantic Rim
  • Scottish sport, South Africa, and Zimbabwe
  • Historical research methods in sport/recreation management and event studies
  • Sporting celebrity and party politics

Current project grants

Wellcome Trust, £129,962: "Body Language: dance, movement, and physical education in Scotland and beyond (collaborator) (2017-2018)
Shackleton Scholarship Fund, £2,500: "The Falkland Islands and the Island Games, 1993-present" (principal investigator) (2017-2018)

View all 17 publications on Research Explorer