Observing the Outports: Describing Newfoundland Culture, 1950-1980

Observing the Outports: Describing Newfoundland Culture, 1950-1980

Weight 0.00 lbs
By Jeff A. Webb
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2015
World Rights
432 Pages 17 Images
ISBN 9781442628946
Published Dec 2015
Online discount: 25%
 $34.95    $26.21
ISBN 9781442637412
Published Dec 2015
Online discount: 25%
 $80.00    $60.00
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442625327
Published Jan 2016
Online discount: 26%
Full purchase $34.95

The years after Newfoundland’s confederation with Canada were ones of rapid social and economic change, as provincial resettlement and industrialization initiatives attempted to transform the lives of rural Newfoundlanders. At Memorial University in St. John’s, a new generation of faculty saw the province’s transformation as a critical moment. 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.”

In Observing the Outports, Jeff A. Webb illustrates how interdisciplinary collaborations among scholars of lexicography, history, folklore, anthropology, sociology, and geography laid the foundation of our understanding of Newfoundland society in an era of modernization. His extensive archival research and oral history interviews illuminate how scholars at Memorial University created an intellectual movement that paralleled the province’s cultural revival.

Jeff A. Webb is an associate professor in the Department of History at Memorial University.


Chapter One: Viewing the Universe Through Newfoundland Eyes: The Dictionary of Newfoundland English

Chapter Two: Writing History

Chapter Three: Herbert Halpert and Christmas Mumming in Newfoundland: Collecting Folklore

Chapter Four: Cat Harbour: Anthropologists in Outports

Chapter Five: Peopling of Newfoundland: Mapping Cultural Transfer and Settlement

Chapter Six: Communities in Decline: The Study of Resettlement


“Jeff Webb’s book is an innovative study of the scholars – historians, lexicographers, folklorists, geographers, sociologists, anthropologists, and others – who saw Newfoundland as a laboratory in which to study the process of modernization.”

Raymond Blake, Department of History, University of Regina

Observing the Outports is an invaluable overview of the history of research on Newfoundland’s outports at Memorial University of Newfoundland. A well-written comparative history of interdisciplinary research in Newfoundland, the book situates these developments in the context of national and international academic discourse.”

Robert Mellin, School of Architecture, McGill University

Observing the Outports is one of the most fascinating regional histories I have read in a long time… The book will be read by anyone interested in the study of regional culture and those interested in how interdisciplinarity can be developed within insular confines of the academy.’

Richard MacKinnon, Canadian Historical Review vol 98:02:2017

Peter J. Cashin award for the best book in Newfoundland History or Political Science

(Canada) - Winner in 2017