Faculty & Staff


PearlAnn Reichwein, PhD

Associate Professor

Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation

About Me

PhD History, Carleton University
MA History, Carleton University
BA Études canadiennes / Canadian Studies, University of Alberta


I am currently an associate professor of history in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation.  My expertise is sport and environmental history of the Rockies and Canadian West, focused on mountain parks, recreation, and tourism. I also focus on mountain studies and sustainability. As a historian, I engage archival research and oral history often combined with field research methods. 

In 2019 I will again be an invited professor at the Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée (UPEM) during the annual Graduate Summer School of Sport Studies as our international students gather once more in Paris.

I serve on the Executive Board for the North American Society for Sport History (NASSH). I am a member of the Canadian Historical Association and serve on the editorial board for Sport History Review. 

Writing the first cultural resource management plan signed for Banff National Park and guiding hikes at the Plain of Six Glaciers are part of my practitioner experience in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. My early work with Parks Canada dealt with public history, cultural resource policy and planning, federal heritage resources, National Historic Sites, heritage communications, and interpretation in Banff and Yoho national parks. Past work with all levels of government and various community groups informs my approach. 

I volunteer with Sierra Club Canada Foundation Wild Child initatives and serve on the board of directors of the North Saskatchewan River Valley Conservation Society.


I am a historian at the University of Alberta and teach in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation. My research program highlights Canada's social and environmental history, particularly in western Canada and mountain regions. Understanding the history of people, parks, and politics is the purpose of this research.

I publish articles in leading journals, such as the Canadian Historical Review, and books that advance humanities scholarship to understand Canada's past and present. My book Climber's Paradise: Making Canada's Mountain Parks, 1906-1974 (University of Alberta Press, 2014) investigates the Alpine Club of Canada's mountain adventures and advocacy. It was awarded the prestigious Canadian Historical Association’s Clio Prize, acclaimed with an IndieFAB Honourable Mention for Environment and Ecology, and bestowed an American Association of University Presses design award in tandem with an exhibition of winning books on tour across North America. Mountain Diaries: The Alpine Adventures of Margaret Fleming, 1929-1980 (Alberta Historical Society, 2004), co-edited with Karen Fox, was my first book. Both books were finalists at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival (2004 and 2014). I also received the Faculty Award of Merit for Outstanding Research (2015).

Mountain parks and the Canadian national park idea are a key focus in my research. Cultural production of parks and landscapes through many means, from mountaineering and hydro dams to artwork and horse travel, is the compass of my exploration.  Major institutions including the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC), Banff School of Fine Arts, and Parks Canada, as well as individuals, such as surveyor Arthur Oliver Wheeler and educator Donald Cameron, are central to my work. Writers Elizabeth Parker, Mary Schäffer, and Margaret Fleming figure in my expertise on women in alpine clubs, mountain travel, and conservation in Canada. The poetry and ethics of Sid Marty also figure in my interdisciplinary mountain studies work. Diverse topics of investigation have ranged from adult education and tourism to mapping and toponymy.

My research also focuses on people and parks in urban environmental history and sport history in the west.  The origins of the Canadian Birkebeiner Ski Festival, outdoor swimming pools, Edmonton Gyro playgrounds, Mill Creek Park, children's history of play, and nature play are recent subjects. Winter cities and mountain towns are a focus of my Edmonton and Canmore recreation work. Leisure studies of 'slow' movements and university extension history also figure in my adult education research. Urban biophilia and sustainability themes run through this work.

My research examines cultural landscapes, governance, and commemoration. It historicizes people and parks as well as sense of place and heritage. Landscapes are temporally and cross-culturally discursive places of social memory.  Reading cultural production through outdoor pursuits in landscapes suggests the complex constructions of identities, place, region, and nation synthesized through the historical movement of people and ideas. Voluntary sector roles among clubs and NGOs also emerge in my studies.

Heritage, museums, and public history intrigue me.  My heritage studies research and advocacy for public history involves many sites and persons.  These encompass the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Elizabeth Parker and A.O. Wheeler as Persons of National Historic Significance (HSMBC), the original Queen Elizabeth Outdoor Swimming Pool in Edmonton, and the historic Rossdale Power Plant in Edmonton's river valley.  Commemoration and education are a special focus. I contributed to the Tipton Playground Exhibition community heritage initiative as a project co-funded by Kule Institute of Advanced Study (KIAS) and other public grants.


I am recruiting new graduate students for Fall-Winter 2020.

Students studying with me come from varied degree backgrounds.  From the arts and humanities to social sciences, education and law, my students bring unique and often interdisciplinary backgrounds to their graduate studies of leisure, environment, and Canada. The main scope of my research work pertains to Canada, the West, and mountain regions in the period from the late 19th century through the 20th century. National parks and heritage in the Canadian Rockies are a key regional focus for research, along with related themes in Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon Territory. I'm also interested in sport and parks in urban history and on the prairies. National sport organizations, winter sports, winter cities, and club life are other areas of research. Feel free to contact me by email to discuss potential research and graduate work.

I teach undergraduate courses in recreation, sport, leisure, and tourism studies. My graduate seminar course KRLS 504 investigates the environmental history of nature, parks, and travel at the crossroads with cultural studies as well as mountain studies; the seminar is open to students from across the University of Alberta. Sustainability is a critical theme throughout my teaching.

KRLS 504 / DS 499
The History of Nature, Parks, and Travel (Winter Term 2019)

KRLS 204
Canadian History of Leisure, Sport, and Health (Fall and Winter Terms, yearly)

Directed Studies 400/500
Children in Nature and Outdoor Life 
History of Recreation and Leisure