Gerald Gems, Ph.D.

Professor of Kinesiology Emeritus



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Jerry Gems is a professor and former chairperson of the Health and Physical Education Department. He is the past president of the North American Society for Sport History, and the current vice-president of the International Society for the History of Physical Education and Sport. In 2011 - 2012 he was honored with a Fulbright Scholar Award, during which time he taught at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and the University of Malmo, Sweden. He has also been an invited visiting professor at the National Sports University in Beijing, China. In 2011 he was inducted as an honorary member of the Bangladesh Institute of Sport Sciences. He continues to serve on the editorial boards of The International Journal of Sport Sciences and Physical Education, East Asian Sport Thoughts: The International Journal for the Sociology of Sport, and is the book reviews editor for the Journal of Sport History. He has authored more than 200 publications, including nineteen books. In 2016 he received the international Routledge Award for scholarship. In addition to teaching classes at North Central, he serves as the Sport Studies coordinator for the graduate program and is the faculty mentor to the softball team.

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Selected Scholarship

Sports in American History: From Colonization to Globalization (Champaign, IL; Human Kinetics, 2017).

Sport and the American Occupation of the Philippines: Bats, Balls, and Bayonets (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2016). 

 Blood and Guts to Glory: A History of Sports (Oslo, Norway: Total Health Publications, 2014), e-book.

  Boxing: A Concise History of the Sweet Science (Lanham, MD; Scarecrow Press. 2014).


 “Historians Take on Ethnicity, Race, and Sport,” in Steven Riess, ed., A    Companion to American  History (DeKalb, IL: John Wiley & Sons, 2014), 405-433.                             

  “Gilded Age and Progressive Era (1865-1920),” in Steven Riess, ed., A  Companion to American Sport History (DeKalb. IL: John Wiley &  Sons), 32-59.

 “Jews, Sport, and the Construction of an American Identity,” in Raanan Rein and David Sheinin, eds., Muscling In on New Worlds: Jews, Sport, and the Making of the Americas (Leiden, Netherlands: Brill).


  Sport and the Shaping of Italian American Identity (Syracuse, NY: University of Syracuse Press, 2013).  

Courses Taught

KIN 150 History of Physical Education and Sport

KIN 262 Sport in Modern Society

KIN/SOA 360 Sport in Society

EDN 333 Methods of Teaching: Middle School and High School Physical Education

MALS 538 Sport in a Multicultural World