Observing the Outports

Feb 10th, 2016

Janet Harron

Observing the Outports

The first 30 years after Confederation were ones of rapid modernization in Newfoundland and Memorial University was a principal agent of that transformation, even as it documented the changes. It was also a period in which social scientists and humanists at Memorial established a research university by leveraging the oral culture at their doorstep.

Some hoped to solve the challenges of modernization through their rural research. Others hoped to document the island’s “traditional” culture before it disappeared. Between them they created the field of Newfoundland studies.

Observing the Outports by history professor Jeff Webb is the first book to fully engage with the history of research at Memorial University. It looks back at the careers and methods of lexicographers, historians, folklorists, sociologists, anthropologists and geographers of the past and by doing so, can encourage a dialogue about the future of the university.

Observing the Outports (University of Toronto Press) is available for purchase in the Memorial University Bookstore and at Chapters.