Dr Stephen Townsend

Research Fellow

School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences


Stephen Townsend is a lecturer in sport sociocultural studies with the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences. Stephen joined HMNS in 2019 after completing his PhD in Sport History. His current research examines social, cultural, and historical aspects of sports concussion.

His previous research has interrogated the ways that racial, religious, gendered, and political ideologies are transmitted through sports media, in addition to digital history epistemologies. He has published widely in academic journals and books, with his most recent publications analysing historical representations on sports concussion in the Australian newspaper press. His teaching and research interests span multiple spheres of sport and culture, as he seeks to critically understand the ways that people have historically constructed and transmitted meaning through sport and physical activity.

Research Interests

  • History of Sports Concussion
    Stephen's research examines the social, cultural, and medical history of brain injuries in sport.

Research Impacts

Stephen's research engages with multiple critical issues in sport, physical activity, and leisure cultures, including health discourses, gender, race, religion, politics, protest, and press discourses. His current research aims better understand the often-invisible cultural forces that shape how sportspeople make decisions regarding their brain health. Most recently, Stephen's research has been cited in the Australian Senate Inquiry into Repeated Head Trauma in Sport and through various media appearances.

His previous research has critically press attitudes toward black athletes, especially outspoken black athletes like Muhammad Ali. Stephen's research helps us to better understand not only how sociocultural factors shape athlete experiences of sport, but also how public attitudes toward sport and athletes are shaped. His research also incorporates digital tools and methodologies. His use of digital tools, methodologies, and visualistions not only has significant implications for practitioners of history but also for members of public searching for new and more engaging ways to consume historical narratives.


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Featured Publications


Book Chapter

Journal Article

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)