The Maritime Studies Research Unit

St John’s Harbour c. 1905 Job Photograph Collection Reproduced by courtesy of the Maritime History Archive.

The Maritime Studies Research Unit [MSRU] is a research unit within the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of Memorial University. It fosters research on maritime topics across the University. Members are involved in the interpretation of human behaviour in marine and coastal environments, both in the past and the present. The Unit emphasizes interdisciplinary work and provides opportunities for Memorial faculty and students and visiting scholars to present their research in workshops and colloquia and as individual paper presentations. The Unit’s occasional activities have recently involved schools, family history societies and environmental organizations.

Membership in the MSRU is open to faculty and staff of Memorial University with research interests in maritime studies.

Graduate students attached to any unit at Memorial are eligible for membership as associates of the MSRU.

Scholars sharing these interests at other institutions are also eligible for associate membership.

The Chair of the MSRU, Valerie Burton, welcomes enquiries from individuals interested in the Unit’s activities and in joining it or in contacting any of its researchers. Please email her at

The Unit’s forthcoming events are advertised on the notice-board below. Profiles of the members, including more detailed accounts of their specializations, follow.

Forthcoming Events

COASTS Symposium

Thursday, 7th April
Junior Common Room. Gushue Hall

11:00 Lynne Phillips Welcome
11:15 Joonas Plaan & Emma Lang Faculty for Humanities and Social Sciences on COASTS survey results and overview
11:45 Caitlin Charman, Department of English Literature around oceans
12:15 Paul De Decker & Sara Mackenzie, Department of Linguistics The articulation and perception of 'L' in the Newfoundland dialects
12:45 Break Coffee and refreshments
13:45 Michelle Mahoney, Faculty of Philosophy Future of Nature
14:15 John Sandlos & Arn Keeling, Department of History & Department of Geography Mining and Communities in Northern Canada
14:45 Valerie Burton, Department of History Unboxing the Crew Agreements: Democratizing Memorial's Largest Maritime Resource
15:15 Reade Davis, Department of Anthropology Multidisciplinary research and COASTS
16:15 Joonas Plaan & Emma Lang Closing words

*COASTS is an emergent strategic initiative of the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty of Memorial University that highlights our substantial expertise in research, teaching, and, public engagement in Cold Oceans and Arctic Science, Technology and Society.