Fiona is a historian whose research and teaching addresses discrimination, inequality and social change in and through sport.

Fiona completed a PhD at the University of Otago in 2011 which explored historical theory and practice using a case study of swimming.  She joined VU as a lecturer in 2012 and teaches a range of units in the social, historical and cultural aspects of sport and exercise.

Fiona’s historical work is underpinned by poststructuralism and critical theories. She is interested in the intersections of the past and present and how historical realities are used, abused, ignored and erased in sport policy and practice. Fiona has published a number of articles related to the nature and purpose of sport history and is currently working on two 'histories of the present': gender discrimination in professional women's cycling; and public swimming pools and whiteness in New Zealand. She is also part of a team working on an oral history project for Netball Victoria.

Fiona is a registered supervisor and invites students with a background in history or cultural studies who have an interest in sport to contact her regarding postgraduate opportunities.

Recent publications

Refereed journal articles

McLachlan, F. (In Press, 2016). ‘Gender Politics, the Olympic Games, and Road Cycling: A Case for Critical History’, The International Journal of the History of Sport.

McLachlan, F. (2012). ‘Swimming History after Deconstruction: A Queer Engagement’, Journal of Sport History, 39(3), 401-415

McLachlan, F. (2010). 'You can't take a picture of this – it's already gone': Erased evidence, political parody, postmodern histories. Sporting Traditions, 27(2), 91- 100.

McLachlan, F. (2009). Cohesive narratives: Dissolving Aotearoa/New Zealand's heroines of water. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 26(14), 2143-2159. 

Loy, J., McLachlan, F. & Booth, D. (2009). Connotations of female movement and meaning: The development of women's participation in the Olympic Games. Olympika, XVIII, 1-23.

Book chapters

McLachlan, F. & Booth, D. (2015). ‘Who’s afraid of the internet?: Swimming in an infinite archive’, in G. Osmond & M. Phillips, Sport History in the Digital Era. University of Illinois Press: Urbana, 227-250.

Burrows, L., McLachlan, F. & Spowart, L. (2011). The dissertation. In K. Armour & D. Macdonald (Eds). Research methods in physical education and youth sport. Routledge: London.

Teaching responsibilities


Postgraduate research students and fellows

Completions: 2 Honours students

Current supervision: Co-supervision of 1 PhD student, 1 Masters student

Areas of expertise

  • Cultural history
  • Gender and sport
  • Historical theory and practice
  • History of sport

Contact details