Dr. Shannon Jette


Shannon Jette (Ph.D. University of British Columbia, 2009) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Physical Cultural Studies, and her work focuses on social and cultural aspects of health, physical activity, gender and the body.

Research Summary:

Dr. Jette is interested in socio-cultural aspects of health, physical activity and the (female) body, with a focus on: the production of biomedical knowledge about health and physical activity (i.e., how is it that certain ideas come to be accepted as ‘truth’); how this knowledge has been (and is) put to use in the operation of power in differing socio-historical contexts; representations of health and (un)healthy bodies in various cultural contexts; and the subject positions individuals take up in relation to various health-related messages. Her current research focuses upon how various groups of women that are considered ‘at risk’ in the context of the obesity epidemic understand dominant messages about health, as well as how they experience health, physical activity and weight gain in their everyday lives. The goal is to provide insight into the complex intersection of race, gender, sexuality and social class in shaping women’s health in order to better inform social policy and programming that may otherwise be insensitive to social location and cultural nuance.

Overall, Dr. Jette’s research agenda is linked by a consistent focus on the multiple ways that active bodies are articulated into the operation of social power, with the aim of illuminating power inequalities and giving voice to subjugated knowledge(s). She uses a range of qualitative research methodologies (including media and discourse analysis, in-depth interviews, ethnographic techniques) and social theory to critically examine the power relations at play in the production, dissemination and interpretation of knowledge in the disciplines of kinesiology and public health.

Dr. Jette has been successful at obtaining national competitive funding at the Masters’, doctoral and postdoctoral level, and is currently a co-investigator on a federally-funded operating grant. She has published in such journals as the Sociology of Sport Journal, Qualitative Health Research, Health, Journal of Aging Studies and the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History.

Dr. Jette teaches the following courses:

KNES 289: Qualitative Health Research Internship

KNES 400: KNES 400: Foundations of Public Health in Kinesiology

KNES 600: Kinesiology in Public Health

Recent Publications:

Rail, G., & Jette, S. (Invited Guest Eds.) (underway). Special issue: “Body culture, biopedagogies and public health.” Cultural Studies/Critical Methodologies.

Dumas, A., Robitaille, J., & Jette, S. (accepted). Young women, health and poverty: Lifestyle as a choice of necessity. Social Theory and Health.

Norman, M.E., Rail, G., & Jette, S. (in press). Moving subjects, feeling bodies: Emotion and the materialization of fat feminine subjectivities in Village on a Diet. Fat Studies.

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.