This article considers the nature of the paradigmatic, theoretical and methodological divergences characterizing the field of international sports studies. While historical contextualization is germane to many approaches, distinctive sub-disciplinary boundaries prevail. Specifically, we assess the significance of disciplinary barriers between historical and sociological approaches to the sporting past. While we detail evidence of extensive cross-pollination between the two sub-disciplines, the traditional disciplinary foci of empirical evidence (history) and theory (sociology) and associated differences in methodological traditions continue to constrain closer sub-disciplinary connections. Moreover, we suggest that the recent intellectual turn toward postmodernism and scepticism of realist epistemologies, while on one hand promising to challenge sub-disciplinary boundaries, has also compounded divides between many practitioners within the sociology of sport and sports history.