Adam North

Adam North


Thesis Title

The Body as Object and Performance: Gestures as a Form of Socio-Political Critique


The University of Manchester


Dr Michael Hoelzl
Professor Alexander Samely

Research Summary

My research explores how and why athletes utilise gestures to bring attention to socio-political issues. Specifically, I focus on the case of taking the knee which started in the United States in 2016 with the NFL player Colin Kaepernick. I analyse why Kaepernick chose the gesture of kneeling and explore the ways in which it was framed in the legacy media and among high-profile athletes, politicians, and institutions who commented on the gesture. The importance of this research is that taking the knee has become a global anti-racism gesture, particularly to communicate solidarity within the BLM movement. I analyse the historical context of kneeling and the message Kaepernick intended to convey, and contrast this to what the gesture has become and whether it has been successful in transferring the meaning Kaepernick hoped it would.

Research Interests

Political theology,
athlete activism,
frame analysis
and critical discourse analysis.


October 2022. 11th Czech Philosophy of Sport Conference – I presented a 45 paper titled “”Performed Critiques of Structural Racism in the Sporting Arena””

North, A. (2022). FOUCAULT AND ANTIQUITY – (P.A.) Miller Foucault’s Seminars on Antiquity. Learning to Speak the Truth. Pp. xiv 218. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2022. Cased, £70, US$95. ISBN: 978-1-4742-7866-9. The Classical Review, 73(1), 325-326. doi:10.1017/S0009840X22001615.

North, A. (2021) The Comic as the Modern Parrhēsíastes. Academia Letters. doi: 10.20935/al3265


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