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


My academic work at University of Alberta began in 1997. I am an associate professor of history in a multidisciplinary Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation. My research, teaching, and service contribute to the Canadian Mountain Network and campus sustainability.

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 am a member of the Canadian Historical Association and serve on the editorial board for Sport History Review. I am also a member of North American Society for Sport History (NASSH), Canadian Studies Network (CSN/REC), Edmonton Heritage Council, and other professional groups. As avid researcher and writer, I volunteer with Sierra Club Canada Foundation in Edmonton and serve the board of North Saskatchewan River Valley Conservation Society to promote conservation and enjoyment of integrated natural and cultural resources.


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 second 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, and was awarded the prestigious Canadian Historical Association’s Clio Prize. My first book was Mountain Diaries:  The Alpine Adventures of Margaret Fleming, 1929-1980, co-edited with Karen Fox. Both titles were Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival non-fiction finalists.

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. Diverse topics of investigation have ranged from adult education and tourism to mapping and toponymy. The Olympic Winter Games and ski site selection in Alberta are also a focus of study.

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 are a focus of my Edmonton recreation work. Leisure studies of 'slow' movements also figure in my Edmonton 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 2018 and 2019.

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 PERLS 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.

PERLS 504/ PERLS 404/ DS 499
The History of Nature, Parks, and Travel (Winter Term 2019): U of A students from all faculties are welcome to join this interdisciplinary seminar.

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