Dr. Fabiana Turelli is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management at the University of Manitoba. She has worked professionally as a physical educator, a pedagogical coordinator, and a lecturer in Brazil. During her doctoral work in Spain, she spent eight months at the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, working with Professor David Kirk, and eight months in Italy, with the Associazione Leib and Università di Bologna. Her PhD was mainly a study of the women’s Spanish Olympic karate squad exploring how they were building their embodied subjectivity for the unique, to date, participation of karate in the Olympic Games (Tokyo 2020). Her postdoctoral study carried out in Australia searched for ways to bring theory into practice in a struggle against intersectional social issues.

Dr. Turelli’s research line is first and foremost critical, combining concepts of critical theory produced by the Frankfurt School, and its expansion, particularly as it is elaborated in the North American context, supported by critical feminism. She also dialogues with the sociology of sport and Anglophone proposals for critical pedagogies, completing the circle in which her research is informed by studies of intersectionality theory, applied as intersectional thinking, practice, methodologies, and positionalities.

Dr. Turelli looks for connections between theory and practice, especially in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) matters, focuses on qualitative research, mainly ethnographic, seeking to adapt and conciliate this method with collaborative-work, in the manner of participatory action research. The lived experiences are highly relevant in her perspective, as much as the positions adopted by those who research, supported by deep reflexivity.

By being herself a martial arts and combat sports (MACS) practitioner for several years, she advocates for the potential of MACS to holistically empower people, mainly girls and women and so-called minority groups, at the same time that she advocates for the transformation of often hostile combative environments in order to avoid disempowering embodied experiences. Her approach seeks to challenge and disrupt traditional established structures, in sport and in society, proposing not the replacement of an old normative order by a new dominant order just changing the hands that hold power and domination. Instead, she proposes a permanent and fluid reconstruction, where no post is unquestionable and perpetual, change means opportunity, and reflexivity and criticality are fundamental.

Research areas

  • EDI 
  • Intersectionality 
  • Critical theory 
  • Sociology of sport 
  • Martial arts and combat sports 
  • Gender and feminism 
  • Cultural studies, ethnicity, and decolonialism 
  • Ethnography and auto ethnography 
  • Critical pedagogies 
  • Reflexivity 
  • Subjectivity 
  • Embodiment 
  • Social Justice 


  • Postdoctoral study, College of Sport and Exercise Science, Victoria University Melbourne, Australia
  • PhD, Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, Autonomous University of Madrid and Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain
  • M.Ed., Education Centre, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil
  • B.Ed. and B.Sc. (Hons), Physical Education and Sport, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil


  • PHED 2442 Health Education 
  • PHED 3362 Culturally Relevant Pedagogies


Recent Papers in Refereed Journals

De Britto-Pereira, R. V., Engel, S. F. R., & Turelli, F. C. (2020). Olympic Philosophy: An experience report of the approach to the transteoric model to measure motivation in the practice of physical activity. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 15(1proc), S71-S83. doi:

Turelli, F. C., Kirk, D., & Bortolotti, A. (2021). Developing pedagogies of affect in physical education: A response to the coronavirus pandemic. Giornale Italiano di Educazione alla Salute, Sport e Didattica Inclusiva / Italian Journal of Health Education, Sports and Inclusive Didactics.

Turelli, F. C., Kirk, D., Tejero-González, C. M., & Vaz, A. F. (2022). Performar como mujer en el kárate Olímpico: un análisis cualitativo del Mundial 2018. Educación Física y Ciencia, 24:2, e213.

Turelli, F. C., Tejero-González, C. M., Vaz, A. F., & Kirk, D. (2020). Sport Karate and the Pursuit of Wellness: A Participant Observation Study of a dojo in Scotland. Frontiers in Sociology. 5:587024. doi: 10.3389/fsoc.2020.587024 [Turelli, F. C., Tejero-González, C. M., Vaz, A. F., & Kirk, D. (2021). Corrigendum: Sport Karate and the Pursuit of Wellness: A Participant Observation Study of a Dojo in Scotland. Frontiers in Sociology. 6:748612. doi: 10.3389/fsoc.2021.748612]

Turelli, F. C., Vaz, A. F., & Kirk, D. (2023). “We are not products”: Stereotyping women athletes in karate through demands on femininity and sensual bodies. Revista Mujer y Políticas Públicas2(1), 207–227. 

Turelli, F. C., Vaz, A. F., & Kirk, D. (in press). A paradox of power: violence, and karateka women conquering space and feeling unsafe. STAPS.

Turelli, F. C., Vaz, A. F., Tejero-González, C. M., & Kirk, D. (2022). ‘Fighting like a girl’: qualitative analysis of the gendered movement learning in the Spanish Olympic karate team. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy.


Recent Book Chapters

Turelli, F. C., & Vaz, A. F. (2018). Nei Kung: “A arte do poder interno”. In: Daoismo, Estéticas Chinesas e outras artes. Editora Appris, Curitiba.

Turelli, F. C., & Vaz, A. F. (in press). Lutadora, pesquisadora: lugares, deslocamentos e desafios em uma prática investigativa. NEPESC-UFSC, Florianópolis.

Turelli, F. C., & Vaz, A. F. (in press). Nei Kung: “a arte do poder interno” e I Ai Do: “a arte de enfrentar o desconhecido”. NEPESC-UFSC, Florianópolis.

Turelli, F. C. (2023). Editorial Revista Mujer. Prólogo a la Tercera Edición. Mujer y Políticas Públicas2(1), 3–5. 


Recent Conferences Papers and Invited Talks

Rodrigues, A. I. C., Turelli, F. C., & Kirk, D. (2021). Hegemonic masculinity in Martial Arts: A critical feminist view of pedagogy. 2021 AIESEP Scientific Conference (online). 7th – 10th June, Alberta, Canada.

Turelli, F. C. (2022). El cuerpo femenino que lucha: algunos dolores y desafíos para performar en el kárate Olímpico. III Coloquio de Estudios sobre Educación del Cuerpo (online). 16th – 18th March, La Plata, Argentina.

Turelli, F. C. (2023). Gendered karate in Western neoliberal society: Critical theory and intersectional issues. The 2nd Wales Martial Arts Practitioner-Researcher Network Event. 20th–21st June, Cardiff, United Kingdom.

Turelli, F. C. (2022). Women and fragility: dealing with defeat, the need for (psychological) support, and a female habitus. 2022 Bourdieu Conference: Theory as practice. 26th October, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Turelli, F. C., Bortolotti, A., & Kirk, D. (2022). Pedagogía crítica en educación física: una alternativa para enfrentar tiempos de cambio. XIX Encuentro Nacional, XIV Internacional de Investigadores en Educación Física – V Encuentro Nacional de Extensión “Educación Física y Tiempos de Cambio: teorías, técnicas y tecnologías” (online). 18th – 21st October, Montevideo, Uruguay.

Turelli, F. C., Kirk, D., Tejero-González, C. M., & Vaz, A. F. (2021). Women fighting for their place in Olympic karate: an analysis of the 2018 World Championships. EASS 2021 International Congress (online). 7th – 10th September, Sevilla, Spain.

Turelli, F. C., Tejero-González, C. M., & Vaz, A. F. (2021). Reinventing tradition: Brazilian interpretation of martial arts with a philosophical background of Asian origin – Nei Kung and I Ai Do. IUAES Yucatán 2021 Congress (online). 9th – 13th November, Yucatán, Mexico.

Turelli, F. C. (2022). Trayectoria de un arte marcial y deporte de combate hasta hacerse Olímpico – y dejar de serlo. Universidad Nacional Abierta y a Distancia UNAD de Colombia (online). 3rd October, Bogotá, Colombia.

Turelli, F. C. (2023). A female martial habitus: women overcoming stereotyped fragility. Sport and Social Change Living Lab. 23rd January, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.

Turelli, F. C. (2023). Gendered movement learning: an analysis of the women’s Spanish Olympic karate team styles of fighting. Qualitative Research Methods and Social Theory Research Group (online). 1st March, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Wales, The United Kingdom.

Turelli, F. C., Vaz, A. F., & Kirk, D. (2023). Karate and Western Society. 2023 World Congress of Sociology of Sport (ISSA 2023). 14th – 17th August, Ottawa, Canada. 

Turelli, F. C., Vaz, A. F., & Kirk, D. (2023). Gendered Movement Learning: an Analysis of the Women’s Spanish Olympic Karate Team Styles of Fighting. The European Conference on Educational Research (ECER 2023). 22nd – 25th August, Glasgow, United Kingdom.