Michele K. Donnelly

Email: donnelmk@gmail.com

PhD, McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)

Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellowship (two year: 2012, 2013), Sport Participation Research Initiative (a joint initiative of SSHRC and Sport Canada)

Project: “Riding, community, segregation: Exploring girls-only skateboarding programs”

Using ethnographic research methods, I am studying girls-only skateboarding programs that offer skateboarding instruction to girls of varying ages and skill levels. Program instructors are all girls and women, and are regularly professional skateboarders. Often, girls-only skateboarding programs organize workshops, camps, and events in gender-segregated settings, i.e., girls-only days and times at the skatepark or street riding location. On their websites and in promotional materials, girls-only skateboarding programs refer consistently to their aims: more opportunities for girls to skateboard, making skateboarding more accessible to girls, developing girls’ skateboarding skills, creating a safe and positive environment for girl skateboarders; and their outcomes: confidence, empowerment, support, community. The consistency of language employed across girls-only skateboarding programs suggests common understandings of the current context of skateboarding in North America (an activity dominated by boys and men), and the perceived necessity of programs for girls only. Through this research, I seek to use girls-only skateboarding programs as an empirical site to understand the contemporary existence of girls-only leisure activities, and the relevant meanings and context of these specific cultural practices.

  • Sociology
  • 851 Downey Way
  • HSH 314
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-2539