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Stephen Townsend

Lecturer, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland

Stephen Townsend is researcher and lecturer of critical sociocultural issues in sport at the University of Queensland School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences. He holds a PhD in sport history from the University of Queensland. His current research examines sociocultural aspects of sports concussion, with a particular focus on understanding how Australians construct and communicate knowledge about sporting brain injuries. He has previously written about racial issues in sport, protest and the civil rights era in the USA, and constructions of athlete identity in the media.


  • 2023–present
    Lecturer, University of Queensland
  • 2022–present
    Senior Research Project Officer, University of Queensland
  • 2019–2021
    Associate Lecturer, University of Queensland


  • 2019 
    University of Queensland, Doctor of Philosophy


  • 2022
    'Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted’: searching for the value of metrics and altmetrics in sociology of sport journals', International Review for the Sociology of Sport
  • 2021
    ‘“Tragedy of the Punch Drunk”: Reading Concussion in Australian Sporting Newspapers, 1803 – 1954’, Frontiers in Sport and Active Living
  • 2021
    The Playmakers: The History of Basketball Queensland, Basketball Queensland
  • 2019
    ‘Clay vs. Ali: Distant Reading, Methodology, and Sport History.’, Journal of Sport History
  • 2018
    ‘“Where Cassius Clay Ends, Muhammad Ali Begins”: Sportspeople, Political Activism, and Methodology.’ , The International Journal of the History of Sport
  • 2018
    ‘Remembering the Rejection of Muhammad Ali: Identity, Civil Rights and Social Memory.’ , Sport in History
  • 2017
    ‘From “Pitifully Ignorant” to the “People’s Champion”: Shifting Perceptions of Muhammad Ali in the Louisville Defender, 1964–1971.’ , Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
  • 2015
    ‘A Bird’s-eye View of the Past: Digital History, Distant Reading and Sport History.’, The International Journal of the History of Sport
  • 2013
    ‘Wicked Wikipedia? Communities of Practice, the Production of Knowledge and Australian Sport History.’ , The International Journal of the History of Sport

Grants and Contracts

  • 2018
    History of Basketball Queensland
    Principal Investigator
    Funding Source:
    Basketball Queensland and The University of Queensland

Professional Memberships

  • North American Society for Sport History
  • Australian Society for Sports History

Research Areas

  • Historical Studies (2103)