Dr Matthew L McDowell

Lecturer in Sport Policy, Management, and International Development

Background

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. I have also previously taken part in an Erasmus + teaching mobility at the University of Iceland, School of Education.

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

Qualifications

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

Responsibilities & affiliations

I am a Past Chair of the British Society of Sports History; previously, I had also been the Society's Secretary and Scottish network organiser. I have experience in organising conferences and symposia, and I currently serve as an external examiner for other sport bachelors programmes. 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.

Additionally, I have appeared in a variety of media regarding my expertise, including the BBC, the Associated Press, Scotland on Sunday, and the Washington Post.

Undergraduate teaching

Organiser

  • SPRT08017 – Sport and Society 1
  • SPRT10019 – Social History of Sport in Scotland

Supervision

  • 4th-year dissertations

(on sabbatical second semester, 2019-20)

Postgraduate teaching

Supervision

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

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?

Yes

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.

 

Current research interests

‘Second-order’ sporting events; Lifestyle sports in Scotland; 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

Research activities

View activity on Research Explorer

Project activity

I am currently writing my second book on surfing, community, and modernity in the north of Scotland. Other projects I am currently working on include:

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

Past project grants

Wellcome Trust, £129,962: "Body Language: dance, movement, and physical education in Scotland and beyond (collaborator) (2017-2019)
Shackleton Scholarship Fund, £2,500: "The Falkland Islands and the Island Games, 1993-present" (principal investigator) (2017-2018)

View all 18 publications on Research Explorer

Conference details

  • ‘Teaching (the) history of/in sport in Scottish/UK undergraduate and postgraduate sport management degree programmes: problems and possibilities’, presented at the annual meeting of the North American Society of Sports History, Boise, Idaho, May 2019
  • ‘Sport, identity, and recognition in the Falkland Islands’, presented at Island Dynamics: Special Territorial Status and Extraterritoriality, Longyearbyen, Svalbard, January 2019
  • ‘The Falkland Islands and international sporting competition’, presented at the Political Studies Association’s Sport and Politics Study Group, University of Stirling, March 2018
  • ‘The surf scene in the north of Scotland: an environment of change’, presented at The Scottish Winter, British Society of Sports History (Scottish Network), Perth, December 2017
  • ‘The surf scene in the north of Scotland: an environment of change’, presented at the annual meeting of the British Society of Sports History, University of Worcester, September 2017
  • ‘Kilmarnock Football Club in Zimbabwe, 1970: sport, the Scottish diaspora, and decolonisation’, presented at Modern British Studies 2017, University of Birmingham, July 2017
  • ‘Thurso, surfing, and the Pentland Firth: pushing the envelope of a “Scottish” sporting geography?’, presented at Firths and Fjords: A Coastal History Conference, University of the Highlands and Islands Centre for History, March-April 2016
  • ‘Local government, sporting governance, and the “legacy” of non-mega events: the case of the Meadowbank Velodrome, Edinburgh’ (co-written with Fiona Skillen), presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for the History of Physical Education and Sport, Split University, August 2015
  • ‘Local government, sporting governance, and the “legacy” of non-mega events: the case of the Meadowbank Velodrome, Edinburgh’ (co-written with Fiona Skillen), presented at the annual meeting of the Leisure Studies Association, Bournemouth University, July 2015
  • ‘The 1970 British Commonwealth Games, Scotland, and South Africa’ (co-written with Fiona Skillen), presented at Sport and Diplomacy Colloquium, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, July 2015
  • ‘The 1986 Commonwealth Games, Edinburgh: Scotland, sporting boycotts, and the former British Empire’, presented at the annual meeting of the British Society of Sports History, Leeds Metropolitan University, September 2014
  • ‘The 1970 British Commonwealth Games, Edinburgh: presentation and “national” identity’, (co-presented with Fiona Skillen), presented at Sport’s Other Games, Glasgow Caledonian University, July 2014
  • ‘Discourses and images in early “European” football: the UK and Denmark, 1898-1914’, presented at Soccer as the Beautiful Game: Football’s Artistry, Identity and Politics, Hofstra University, April 2014
  • ‘The 1970 British Commonwealth Games, Edinburgh: presentation and “national” identity’, (co-presented with Fiona Skillen), presented at the annual meeting of the British Society of Sports History, Manchester Metropolitan University, Crewe, September 2013
  • ‘The history of Scottish football: a new future’, presented at Football 150, a conference of the International Football Institute, National Football Museum, Manchester, September 2013
  • ‘Landed power, electoral politics, and the rhetoric of “freedom” in Buteshire during the long nineteenth century’, presented at ‘Freedom, Come All Ye…’, an international conference of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies and the Société Française d’Etudes Ecossaises, Universidade da Coruña, October 2012
  • ‘A critical analysis of Sir James Lamont of Knockdow (1828-1913): yachtsman, sportsman, adventurer, author – and MP for Buteshire’, presented at The Scottish Highlands: an historical reassessment?, a conference of the Economic and Social History Society of Scotland, Glasgow, September 2012
  • ‘Scottish football, Europe, and “North Sea” cultural exchange, 1898-1914’, presented at the annual meeting of the British Society of Sports History, University of Glasgow, September 2012
  • ‘A brief introduction to politics in Buteshire in the long nineteenth century’, presented at the annual meeting of the Modern British History Network, University of Stirling, June 2012
  • ‘Ailsa Craig and the leisure industry on the Firth of Clyde, c. 1800-2010’, presented at the Sport and Leisure History Seminar Series at the Institute for Historical Research, London, May 2012, http://historyspot.org.uk/podcasts/sport-and-leisure-history/ailsa-craig-and-leisure-industry-firth-clyde-c-1800-2010
  • ‘Edwardian football and the Scottish seaside town:  Rothesay, 1900-1914’, presented at Recording Leisure Lives: Sports, Spectacles and Spectators in 20th century Britain, at the University of Bolton, April 2012
  • ‘Sport, recreation and education on Bute, Arran and Great Cumbrae, c. 1850-1900’, presented at the annual meeting of the History of Education Society, University of Glasgow, November 2011
  • ‘Sport, recreation and education on Bute, Arran and Great Cumbrae, c. 1850-1900’, presented at Historical Perspectives on Scottish Education, Royal Society of Edinburgh, October 2011
  • ‘Islands unto themselves?  An examination of “football” on Bute, Arran and Great Cumbrae, c. 1840-1900’, presented at the annual meeting of the British Society of Sports History, London Metropolitan Business School, September 2011
  • ‘Team sport and the seaside:  a cultural analysis of Victorian “football” in Largs, Ayrshire, c. 1840-1900’, presented at the annual meeting of the Modern British History Network, University of Dundee, June 2011
  • ‘Drinking and hospitality of ferries and steamers in the Firth of Clyde, c. 1840-1900’, presented at Food and Drink:  Their Social and Cultural Histories, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, June 2011
  • ‘The pit, the pitch and the pub:  Scottish soccer players in the north of England, c. 1870-1900’, presented at the annual meeting of the North American Conference on British Studies, Tremont Plaza Hotel, Baltimore, November 2010
  • ‘A contextual cultural analysis of Scottish footballers in the north of England, c. 1870-1900’, presented at the annual meeting of the British Society of Sports History, Wellcome Collection, London, September 2010
  • ‘Supporting the (global) village club:  an examination of Scottish football literature and historiography, 1865-2009’, presented at Local memories in a nationalising and globalising world, FelixArchief / Universiteit Antwerpen, Antwerp, October 2009
  • ‘Football and workplace paternalism in the Vale of Leven, Dunbartonshire, 1870-1900’, presented at the annual meeting of the British Society of Sports History, University of Stirling, July 2009
  • ‘Newspaper cartoons and the drawing of early Scottish football, 1865-1902’, presented at Visual Empires, University of Sheffield, July 2009
  • ‘Sport, fraternity and empire:  the social gatherings of Scottish footballers, 1870-1902’, presented at Instruction, Amusement and Spectacle:  Popular Shows and Exhibitions, 1800-1914, University of Exeter, April 2009

Invited speaker

  • ‘Sport, politics, and “stateless nationhood” in the former British Empire: a contemporary history’, presented at the Thursday Sociological Seminar series at the Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague, May 2018
  • ‘Scottish records, academic history, and higher education’, presented at Pass It On! Celebrating Scotland’s Sporting Heritage, University of Stirling, February 2017
  • ‘Thurso, surfing, and the Pentland Firth: pushing the envelope of a “Scottish” sporting geography?’, presented at the Moray House School of Education Cross-Institute Seminar Series, University of Edinburgh, March 2016
  • ‘Scottish football and Scandinavia, 1898-1914: the future of “European” popular culture?’, presented at Scotland and Europe: a seminar series at the Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies, University of Glasgow, October 2014
  • ‘Scottish football and popular culture’, presented at The Scotland-England Match: Football and National Identities in the UK, De Montfort University, Leicester, October 2013
  • ‘Early Scottish football and the workplace, 1865-1902’, presented at Research Seminars: the Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies, University of Glasgow, November 2009

Organiser

  • Main organiser, British Society of Sports History annual UK conference, Glasgow, September 2012
  • Main organiser, British Society of Sports History annual UK conference, Edinburgh, September 2016
  • Main organiser, three annual symposia of the British Society of Sports History’s Scottish network (2013-15)
  • Co-organiser, four day-long events for the British Society of Sports History’s Scottish network (2014-17)