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Dr. Peter Whitridge

{Dr. Peter Whitridge}
Dr. Peter Whitridge

Assistant professor
Department of Anthropology

Research interests
Dr. Whitridge is currently interested in researching pre-contact Inuit whaling economies in northern Labrador. This region was colonized relatively late by the Thule ancestors of modern Inuit, around the time that large whaling communities in the Central Canadian Arctic were abandoned. He plans to initially focus on sites around Nachvak Fjord and in future years work his way north. This northern part of the Labrador coast was surveyed in the late 1970s but is still relatively unstudied archaeologically. Written sources, such as the Moravian diaries, indicate there were several important whaling locales in the region in the eighteenth century, so the potential for locating pre-contact whaling communities is good. Dr. Whitridge is especially interested in the social correlates of whaling, as these varied over time and region across the North American Arctic.

Experience
Dr. Whitridge became interested in Thule society and economy as an undergraduate, and pursued these topics from various perspectives in his later academic research. His doctoral research involved excavation at the largest prehistoric village in Nunavut, located along a stretch of the Somerset Island coast. Analyses of bone distributions, community layout, architecture, and household refuse were used to explore the social relations in which whaling organization was embedded, during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Excellent preservation in the frozen archaeological deposits allowed the investigation of aspects of Thule sociality, such as gender relations, that have rarely been attempted. Prior to his appointment at Memorial, Dr. Whitridge taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Toronto, and University of North British Columbia.

Background
Originally from Ottawa, Dr. Whitridge earned his BA from University of Toronto, and his MA from McGill University, both in anthropology. He was awarded his PhD in anthropology from Arizona State University in 1999. Dr. Whitridge began teaching at Memorial in September 2002.