LSA 2020: Keynote – Rasul Mowatt

Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing the abstracts for the LSA2020 keynote speakers. First up we are delighted to be welcoming Prof. Rasul Mowatt from Indiana University.


A People’s History of Leisure Studies, Part One”

Globally, there is a shifting in the field of leisure studies away from the term ‘leisure’ and its core philosophies as a guiding focus for research and pedagogy. Many have embraced imaginations of ‘experience’ and ‘design’, while others cling to past shifts to ‘recreation’ to align with calls for professionalisation. These shifts have also corresponded with departmental departures or institutional placements within areas of health and business with varying degrees of impact on the greater field of leisure studies and success at their respective institutions. The aim in this keynote is to not revisit critiques against these shifts, but instead to call for a different shift: a further, deepened entrenchment within the conceptualization of leisure. This furthering and deepening entrenchment comes with a caveat, a countering or critical re-imagining of leisure history and philosophy. Influenced by the work of Howard Zinn’s 1980 A People’s History of the United States, the collaborated 2008 A People’s History of American Empire, and Chris Harman’s 2017 A People’s History of the World, the series of published articles, “A People’s History of Leisure Studies” has spanned across six leisure-based journals with a set of additional articles to come with the purpose to foster a critical re-examination of the foundation of leisure. Thus, this keynote serves efforts in the pedagogy and scholarship of leisure to challenge power and the status quo. Such a critical re-examining of leisure enables the field of leisure studies to both find relevancy within a scholarly landscape but to also situate the conceptualization of leisure as both a tool for dominating and liberating ends of a classed, gendered, and racialised populace.  

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