Bieke Gils

Associate Professor

Fakultet for humaniora, idretts- og utdanningsvitenskap
Institutt for friluftsliv, idrett og kroppsøving
Campus Bø (1-221)
I am a physical culture scholar with competence in the history and sociology of gender and the moving (fe)male body. My research to date has focused on female leading figures in a variety of contexts, including the North American entertainment industries around 1900, physical education in Canada in the 1960s-70s, as well as elite coaching in Norway. In my writing & daily life I am committed to address social inequities on the intersections of gender, race and class, in order to promote diversity, inclusion and social sustainability more broadly. Words that describe my interests and research: sociology, history, body, gender, race, diversity, social inequities, social sustainability, identities, institutions.


I mentor bachelor, master & PhD students in their research projects and teach in the following courses:

IDR 101: Samfunn, kropp, bevegelse

IDR 1013: Sosiologi 2

IDR 1111: Sosiologi 3

IDR 1071: Instruktørrollen i helserelatert trening

IDR 1307: Master i kroppsøving, idrett og friluftsliv - qualitative research methods

IDR 1317: Bevegelse, politikk, medier

IDR 1313: Verdier, læring, ledelse

I am a member of two USN based research groups: 

Sports and politics:

Body, movement, meaning:


2015-2016: Postdoctoral researcher, School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, Canada with Dr. Patricia Vertinsky.

2009-2014: Ph.D., School of Kinesiology (Faculty of Education), University of British Columbia, Canada. Supervisor: Dr. Patricia Vertinsky

2007-2009: Master in Sport Management/Kinesiology, University of Windsor, Ontario with Dr. Scott Martin and Dr. Kathleen McCrone

2002-2006: Bachelor in Sport Management/Kinesiology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium with Dr. Roland Renson and Dr. Pascal Delheye


Jan Ove Tangen & Bieke Gils (2021). Er olympiske leker virkelig gull verdt?, 13 oktober: Er olympiske leker virkelig gull verdt? (

Bieke Gils (2021). A missed opportunity? The need for critical examinations and constructive dialogues in creating socially sustainable university futures. Khrono, July 6: A missed opportunity? (

Bieke Gils, Liv Hemmestad, Trine Thoresen & Pål Augestad (2021).Til topps på bekostning av kjønnsbalanse? Rekrutteringsmekanismer og underrepresentasjon av kvinnelige veiledere i et toppidrettstreningsprogram, in Idrett, kjønn og ledelse: Festskrift til Jorid Hovden, ed. A.Tjønndal. Fagbokforlaget. 

Pål Augestad, Liv Hemmestad, Bieke Gils & Trine Thoresen (2021). Omsorg som barriere, som kompetanse og som prestasjonsressurs, in Idrett, kjønn og ledelse: Festskrift til Jorid Hovden, ed. A. Tjønndal. Fagbokforlaget. 

Sarah Koch, Liv Yoon & Bieke Gils (2020). From the Exposome to the Socioexposome in COVID-19 Research—A Call for More Multidisciplinary Research. JAMA Netw Open 3(12):e2032287. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.32287

Jan Ove Tangen and Bieke Gils (2019). The Johaug doping case: Public reactions and sociological explanations,  in The Nordic model and physical culture, eds Tin, Tangen, Telseth & Guilianotti, Routledge. 

Gils, Bieke (2017). Bessie Coleman: “The Only Race Aviatrix in the World.” Chapter 5 In Before Jackie Robinson. The transcendent role of Black sporting pioneers, ed. Gerald Gems, University of Nebraska Press.

Vertinsky, Patricia and Bieke Gils (2017).  ‘Watch Britain’: Movement  Education, Transnational Exchanges and the Contested Terrain of Physical Education in Mid- Twentieth Century Canada, Journal of Sport History, 44, No. 3, pp. 456-475.

Gils, Bieke (2017). Playing for Change: The Continuing Struggle for Sport and Recreation ed. by Russell Field. Journal of Sport History44(3), 500-501.

Vertinsky, Patricia and Bieke Gils (2016). ‘Physical Education’s First Lady of the World’: Dorothy Sears Ainsworth and The International Association of Physical Education and Sport for Women and Girls,’ The International Journal of the History of Sport, 33(13) : 1500-1516.

Vertinsky, Patricia and Bieke Gils (2015). Those Good Gertrudes’ ! A lady well qualified to show the way:  Advancing Opportunities for Women and Girls in Physical Education and Sport through IAPESGW, in Global Scholar, Global Spirit, eds. Annette Hofmann, Gerald Gems and Susanna Hedenborg, 133-45. Total Health Publications, Oslo, Norway.

Gils, Bieke (2015). Le Numéro Barbette: Destabilizing Gender on the High Wire and the Flying Trapeze. Sport in History, published online July 28, DOI: 10.1080/17460263.2015.1062411

Gils, Bieke (2014). Flying, Flirting and Flexing: Charmion’s Trapeze Act, Sexuality and Physical Culture at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. Journal of Sport History 41 (2): 251-68.

Gils, Bieke (2013). Women who fly: aerialists in modernity (1880-1930). PhD thesis, University of British Columbia: Women who fly : aerialists in modernity (1880-1930) - UBC Library Open Collections

Gils, Bieke (2012). Didrikson, Mildred Ella, in Sports Around the World: History, Culture, and Practice, ed. John Nauright and Charles Parrish, Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, LLC.

Gils, Bieke (2011). “The Only Race Aviatrix in the World”: A Tribute to Bessie Coleman (1892-1926). Stadion: International Journal of the History of Sport 37 (1): 55-81.

Ameye, Thomas, Bieke Gils and Pascal Delheye (2011). Daredevils and Early Birds: Belgian Pioneers in Automobile Racing and Aerial sports during the Belle Époque. International Journal of the History of Sport 28 (2): 205-39.

Gils, Bieke (2009). Pioneers of Flight: An Analysis of gender issues in United States civilian (sport) and commercial aviation 1920-1940, Master thesis, University of Windsor: "Pioneers of Flight: An Analysis of Gender Issues in United States Civi" by Bieke Gils (

Van Hecke, Etienne, Filip De Maesschalck, Bieke Gils & Vera Verbestel (2008). Needs for sport infrastructure in Flanders: an analysis of the availability of space (Behoeften aan Sportinfrastructuur in Vlaanderen: een Ruimtelijke Analyse), K.U Leuven Report: Instituut voor Sociale en Economische Geografie: Behoefte aan sportinfrastructuur in Vlaanderen (2008) – Kenniscentrum Sport en Bewegen

Gils, Bieke (2006). Breaking new ground, down to earth and in the air: Belgian pioneers in rally racing and aerial sport during the Belle Epoque, Sportimonium 26: 74-81.