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Maura Hanrahan


Graduate in 1984, B.A., Memorial University

MA in Sociology & Anthropology, Carleton

PhD in Sea-Use Law, Economics and Policy, London School of Economics

Intellectuals are always subversive. I always had an element of this in my personality but the discipline of sociology helped me fine-tune it into a method and a way of approaching the world and acting.

Sociology helped teach me to think critically, to question conventional widsom: why is this strcuture the way it is? why does that phenomenon pass for normal? whose interest does this event serve? if something is not useful or is harmful, how do we change it? The ability to think critically provides a gateway into an active and examined life. It provides meaning. This way of thinking is central to my personal life and to my work in writing, academia, Indigenous land claims research and negotiation, health and education policy development and, most recently, senior administration at Memorial. And sociology has played a central part in it.

My current position was established as a result of Memorial University's 2009 Presidential Task Force on Aboriginal Initiatives (link on

Essentially I work to advance institutional change so that Indigenous people and ultimately Indigenous ways of learning are understood, respected, and reflected in the life of the university. Also so that Memorial acts on our special obligation to the people of the province including the Innu, the Nunatsiavut Inuit, the Southern Inuit, and the Mi'kmaq.

My background in sociology neatly complements further studies in anthropoogy, law, and business administration (organizational development).

Sociology has prepared me well for this challenging work.