Dr. Rob Kossuth was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and grew up in Mississauga, Ontario. He received a BA in Physical Education from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Masters in Human Kinetics from the University of Windsor, and a PhD at the University of Western Ontario (now Western University). In 2002 he joined the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Lethbridge, first as a term appointment and then (in 2004) as tenure track faculty.
Dr. Kossuth’s primary research area is the history of sport, recreation and leisure practices in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Canada, with a focus on local and regional histories and how physical culture provides an avenue to explore questions related to masculinity (gender), social class and race in nascent prairie communities. His most current (ongoing) research project, “Physical Culture on Canada’s Prairie Frontier”, is a historical investigation of sport and recreation practices in southern Alberta communities, which examines the communitybuilding role of sport and physical culture. Specifically, in the case of frontier prairie communities, he is concerned with the intersection of physical recreation with gender and ethnicity. As an example of the historical impact sport has had in this region, Dr. Kossuth explores the middle-class European men that settled in the early twentieth century who demonstrated their leadership skills within sports clubs prior to assuming positions of political influence in their communities.
Kossuth is also engaged in research that examines how sport history is displayed to public audiences including in sports halls of fame and museums, and how academic historians can effectively translate their research from the academy into the public domain. To this end, he writes for both academic (journals, books) and public audiences (public histories, museum displays, encyclopedia entries). He also serves as the chair of the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame where he works to bring greater visibility to both the prominent athletes who have left their mark, as well as preserve and promote the rich sporting heritage of the city and surrounding communities. When asked to identify his favorite publication, Dr. Kossuth chose his article “Men on the Closing Range: Early Rodeo Competition in the Southern Northwest Territories/Alberta” (published in Sporting Traditions, 2007) because the article represented the start of a new research focus based in southern Alberta. For Dr. Kossuth exploring the historical roots of early rodeo competitions as it emerged from the cattle ranching culture of the late nineteenth century provided him both academic and practical insight into the community where he lives.
Dr. Kossuth’s research since arriving at the University of Lethbridge has been funded by the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation, the University of Lethbridge Internal SSHRC Award, and University of Lethbridge Research Fund. For a sampling of the kind of research in which Dr. Kossuth engages, see the following list of selected publications.
Selected Publications (not a complete listing):
Robert Kossuth and Carly Adams. Reflections on Critical Sport History in the Museum: opportunities and challenges from a local/regional project. Journal of Sport History, 40 (2), 285-295.
Robert S. Kossuth (2009). Chinook Country Hockey: The emergence of hockey in Pre-World War Two Southern Alberta. In Coast To Coast: Hockey in Canada to the Second World War, edited by John Chi-Kit Wong (203-222). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Robert S. Kossuth (2008). Hockey on the Margins: Women’s Hockey in Rural Southern Alberta before World War Two. Journal of the West, 47(4), 70-77.
Robert S. Kossuth (2005). Spaces and Places to Play: The Formation of a Municipal Parks System in London, Ontario, 1867-1914. Ontario History, XCVII (2), 160-190.