Shannon Jette
Associate Professor, Kinesiology
Campus: UMD | Building: School of Public Health | Room: 2363 SPH Bldg.
Phone: (301) 405-2497 |
Laboratory Website: 
The THINC Lab - Technologies of Health IN Context

Research Summary:
Dr. Jette's research focuses on social, cultural, and historical aspects of knowledge production in the disciplines of kinesiology, medicine, and public health. She is particularly interested in studying exercise and fitness practices as technologies of health that have the potential to shape how we understand and experience our bodies. She uses a range of qualitative research methodologies (including media and discourse analysis, in-depth interviews, focus groups, ethnographic techniques) to examine: the production of knowledge about health and physical activity; how this knowledge has been (and is) put to use in the operation of power in differing socio-historical contexts; and how individuals negotiate various health-related messages. Her projects include: 

  • Women from diverse social and ethnic backgrounds’ differential perception of dominant policy and popular media messages pertaining to the relationship between motherhood, obesity, and femininity
  • A focus on contrasting (Western and traditional Chinese) approaches to prenatal exercise and gestational weight gain
  • The value of alternative forms of physical activity for pregnant women as a means of learning how to experience and understand their bodies in different ways than traditional methods
  • Issues related to the stigmatization of obese women undergoing fertility treatment

Overall, Dr. Jette's research agenda is linked by a desire to better understand the complex intersection of race, gender, sexuality and social class in shaping women’s health, with the goal of informing social policy and programming that may otherwise be insensitive to social location and cultural nuance. For more information see the Physical Cultural Studies website.   

Education and Training
PhD (2009), University of British Columbia (Kinesiology)
MA (2004), University of British Columbia (Kinesiology)
BSc (1998), Simon Fraser University (Kinesiology) 

Kinesiology 400: Foundations of Public Health in Kinesiology

This course provides students with a broad introduction to the core principles and goals of public health from a kinesiological perspective. Topics to be addressed include: history of public health and physical activity; basic principles of the epidemiology of physical activity; correlates and determinants of physical activity and health across the socioecological model; public health policy development aimed at encouraging regular physical activity; social justice and physical activity; physical activity interventions for diverse populations; the impact of social, political and economic contexts on health, as well as the creation of health disparities. 

Kinesiology 600: Kinesiology in Public Health

This course provides students with a broad introduction to the core principles and goals of public health from a kinesiological perspective. In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of both kinesiology and public health as fields of inquiry (with a particular focus on the competing ontological, epistemological, methodological, and axiological dimensions within and between each), students will explore the integrative relationships and possibilities within kinesiology as well as to domains of inquiry within public health. Central to the course will be an exploration of the challenges faced and opportunities presented as each attempts to forge an interdisciplinary approach to societal health issues. 

Kinesiology 615: The Body, Culture and Physical Activity

The goal of the course is to critically examine the notion of the ‘natural’ body, along with the various assumptions that this view of the body brings with it. More specifically, we will explore some of the questions that are at the forefront of the field of Body Studies: What can (active) bodies do? What might (active) bodies become? What practices enable and coordinate the doing of particular kinds of (active) bodies? And what does this make possible in terms of our approach to questions about life, humanness, culture, power, technology and subjectivity? (see Blackman, 2008, p. 1). Thus, while we maintain an interest in the various ways through which the active body is located within, and thereby experiences, the operations of social power, we will also focus on new ways of thinking through various dualisms such as structure and agency, mind and body, inside and outside. In particular, we will explore how the concept of ‘embodiment’ might be applied to further our understanding of the various dimensions of physical culture; a diverse cultural sphere including, but not restricted to: sport, health, movement, exercise, dance, and daily living related activities.

Kinesiology 789N: Physical Cultural Studies of Technoscience

Technology and science have an ever-intensifying role in our daily lives, including as they relate to our physical activity, leisure and exercise practices (think heart rate monitors and Fitbits, as well as scientifically defined norms around healthy body weight, to name but a few examples). With this centrality of techoscience come questions about the political, social, cultural, and economic implications. The field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) provides the tools for critically examining science and technology, from the role of expertise and ‘science’ as a social institution to emergent questions about technological agency. This course is an exploratory mapping of the terrain of the growing (and complex) field of STS from the origins of the field (e.g., Kuhn’s ‘Structure of Scientific Revolutions’ and the ‘strong programme’) to its more contemporary ‘ontological’ turn, with an additional focus on digital technologies, surveillance assemblages, and posthumanism. 


Honors and Awards

2010-2011: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Postdoctoral Fellowship Award

2005-2008: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Canada Graduate Fellowship (Doctoral) Award


I am a co-investigator on a grant funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2014-2017). The research team includes Deborah McPhail (PI, University of Manitoba), Genevieve Rail (Co-I, Concordia University) and Carla Rice (Co-I, Guelph University). The three year project will entail a qualitative examination of obesity stigma in reproductive care (with a specific focus on fertility care) from the perspectives of patients, health practitioners, and policy makers. It will also include a discourse analysis of clinical and government policy concerning the provision of infertility treatment to women classified as obese.


Selected peer reviewed journal articles (* denotes graduate student; ** denotes undergraduate student)

*Esmonde, K., & Jette, S. (in press). Fatness, fitness, and feminism in the built environment: Bringing together Physical Cultural Studies and Sociomaterialisms, to study the ‘obesogenic environment. Sociology of Sport Journal.

Jette, S., *Maier, J., *Esmonde, K., & **Davis, C. (2017). Promoting prenatal exercise from a sociocultural and life-course perspective: An “embodied” conceptual framework, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 88(3), 269-281. 

*Clevenger, S., & Jette, S. (2017). From ‘cultivators of the soil’ to ‘citizen-soldiers’: Physical activity and the nation at Maryland Agricultural College. Sport, Education and Society, 22(8), 958-970.

Jette, S., *Bhagat, K., & Andrews, D.L. (2016). Governing the child-citizen: ‘Let's Move!’ as national biopedagogy. Sport, Education and Society, 21(8), 1109-1126.

*Maier, J., & Jette, S. (2016). Promoting nature-based activity for people with mental illness through the US, "Exercise is Medicine" initiative. American Journal of Public Health, 106(5), 796-9. 

Jette, S., & *Roberts, E. (2016). "We usually just start dancing our Indian dances”: Urban American Indian (AI) female youths’ negotiation of identity, health and the body. Sociology of Health and Illness, 38(3), 396-410. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9566.12349

*Roberts, E., & Jette, S. (2016). Implementing participatory research with an urban American Indian community: Lessons learned. Health Education Journal, 75(2), 158-69. DOI: 10.1177/0017896915570395

*Cork, S., Jaeger, P., Jette, S., & **Ebrahimoff, S. (2016). The politics of (dis)information: Crippled America, the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign. International Journal on Information, Diversity and Inclusion, 1, 1-15. 

Rail, G., & Jette, S. (Invited Guest Eds.) (2015). Introduction to Special Issue: “Body culture, biopedagogies and public health.” Cultural Studies/Critical Methodologies, 15(5), 327-36.

Jette, S., Vertinsky, P., & *Ng, C. (2014). Biomedicine and balance: Chinese-Canadian women’s negotiate pregnancy-related lifestyle directives and risk. Health, Risk & Society, 16(6), 494-511. 

Jette, S., & Rail, G. (2014). Resisting, reproducing, resigned? Low income pregnant women’s constructions and experiences of a healthy pregnancy and proper weight gain. Nursing Inquiry, 21(3), 202-11. DOI: 10.1111/nin.12052

Dumas, A., Robitaille, J., & Jette, S. (2014). Young women, health and poverty: Lifestyle as a choice of necessity. Social Theory and Health, 12, 138-58. DOI:10.1057/sth.2013.25

Norman, M.E., Rail, G., & Jette, S. (2014). Moving subjects, feeling bodies: Emotion and the materialization of fat feminine subjectivities in Village on a Diet. Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society, 3(1), 17-31.

Jette, S., & Rail, G. (2013). Ills from the womb? A critical examination of Evidence-Based Medicine and pregnancy weight gain advice. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, 17(4), 407-21.

Jette, S. (2011). Exercising caution: The production of medical knowledge about physical exertion during pregnancy. Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/ Bulletin canadien d'histoire de la medicine, 28(2), 383-401.

Jette, S., & Vertinsky, P. (2011). ‘Exercise is medicine’: Understanding the exercise beliefs and practices of older Chinese women immigrants in British Columbia, Canada. Journal of Aging Studies, 25(3), 272-84. 

Selected book chapters (* denotes graduate student)

Jette, S. (2017). Pregnant bodies. In D. Andrews, M. Silk, & H. Thorpe (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Physical Cultural Studies (pp. 313-320). New York: Routledge. 

Jette, S. (in press). Sport for all, or fit for two? Governing the (in)active pregnancy”. In R. Dionigi and M. Gard (Eds.), Critical perspectives on sport and physical activity across the lifespan. Palgrave Macmillan, UK.

*Bhagat, K., & Jette, S. (2016). An intervention on public health interventions – Questioning the dominant obesity discourse. In E. Cameron (Ed.), The fat pedagogy reader: Challenging weight-based oppression in education. New York: Peter Lang Publishing

Jette, S., & Vertinsky, P. (2015). The contingencies of exercise science in a globalizing world: Ageing Chinese Canadian and their play and pleasure in exercise. In E. Tulle & C. Phoenix (Eds.). Physical activity in sport and later life. London: Palgrave Macmillan

Norman, M. E., Rail, G. & Jette, S. (accepted in 2012 & in press). Screening the un-scene: De-constructing the (bio)politics of story telling in a Reality Makeover weight loss series. In D. McPhail, J. Ellison & W. Mitchinson (Eds.) Obesity in Canada: Historical and critical perspectives. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.