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 a historian and heritage specialist at the University of Alberta. 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 books and articles, and engage in creative research and heritage work.

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.

Academic and Community Roles

  • Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée, Paris, France, Visiting Professor
  • International Graduate Summer School for Young Researchers in Physical Activity and Sport, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée,  Visiting Lecturer
  • North American Society for Sport History (NASSH), executive board member
  • Sport History Review, editorial board member
  • Academic Women's Association (AWA), Membership Co-Chair
  • Canadian Historical Association (CHA), Canadian Studies Network (CSN/REC), Canadian Mountain Network (CMN), NiCHE, member
  • North Saskatchewan River Valley Conservation Society, executive board member
  • Sierra Club Canada Foundation, former national board member

Awards and Recognition

International Awards and Honours

  • 2017 International Journal of the History of Sport, Finalist for Best Article Prize
  • 2015 IndieFAB Book of the Year Awards, Honourable Mention for Environment and Ecology in Adult Non Fiction
  • 2014 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, Mountain and Wilderness Literature Non Fiction Finalist
  • 2004 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, Canadian Rockies Finalist, (co-editor)

National and University Awards and Honours

  • 2015 Canadian Historical Association, Clio Prize - The Prairies, Climber’s Paradise. A national prize awarded annually for scholarly work focused on the Prairie region.
  • 2015-2016 U of A Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, Award of Merit for Outstanding Research. 
  • 2000-2004 University of Alberta Senate, Annual Community Service Recognition


I publish books and articles in leading journals, such as the Canadian Historical Review and the International Journal of the History of Sport, that advance arts and humanities scholarship to understand Canada's past and present. 

My upcoming book Uplift: Visual Culture at the Banff School of Fine Arts (University of British Columbia Press, 2020), co-authored with Dr. Karen Wall, explores art education and tourism in Banff National Park as influences on civil society and democracy connected to the formation of today's Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (see "Activities" for books). 

My book Climber's Paradise: Making Canada's Mountain Parks, 1906-1974 (University of Alberta Press, 2014) investigates the Alpine Club of Canada's role in mountaineering and the politics of parks. It was awarded the prestigious Canadian Historical Association’s Clio Prize. My first book was Mountain Diaries:  The Alpine Adventures of Margaret Fleming, 1929-1980 (Historical Society of Alberta, 2004), co-edited with Karen Fox. Both titles were Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival 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 Banff School of Fine Arts, Alpine Club of Canada, 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.

My recent research also focuses on people and parks in the environmental history and social history of the west. The Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park interests my new work on landscapes and Olympic legacy.The origins of the Canadian Birkebeiner Ski Festival, Olympic ski venues, youth programs, outdoor swimming pools, Edmonton Gyro playgrounds, Mill Creek Park, children's history of play, and nature play are other 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. Currently I am working with two MA students: Linnea Bell is documenting stories of people and places in the Beaver Hills, and Tyree McCrackin is examining aspects of Nordic ski history in Alberta. 

My scholarship 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 UNESCO Beaver Hills Biosphere, 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 2021.

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 in my teaching.

KRLS 504/ KRLS 404/ DS 499
The History of Nature, Parks, and Travel

KRLS 323 Aboriginal Health and Physical Practices

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

Various Directed Studies (400 and 500 Levels) 
Social History of Sport and Recreation; Children in Nature and Outdoor Life; History of Recreation and Leisure