Signing on: literacy, knowledge and seafaring work in Newfoundland, 1860-1930

Power, Cynthia (2019) Signing on: literacy, knowledge and seafaring work in Newfoundland, 1860-1930. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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With one notable exception, the Newfoundland population’s low literacy rates have been discussed historically from landward perspectives and with orthodox sources. Following the lead of Memorial University scholar David Alexander (1939–1980), this thesis analyzes literacy data from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century work contracts of merchant seafarers. Mine is the first in-depth study of Newfoundland seafarers recorded in the Crew Agreements. I complement this analysis with the oral testimony of four master mariners. Their accounts facilitate an understanding of seafarers’ literacy and knowledge acquisition in their social and working lives. My study is shaped by changes in how we perceive knowledge, understanding, literacy and orality, and the relationship of work and home. By expanding my research to reintegrate household and community relations into the lives of "working men who got wet,” I offer an improved understanding of the role of social capital in the transformation of Newfoundland.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 13893
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 97-104).
Keywords: Literacy, Functional Knowledge, Crew Agreements, Oral History, Seafaring, Social Capital
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: May 2019
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Literacy--Newfoundland and Labrador--History--19th century; Literacy--Newfoundland and Labrador--History--20th century; Merchant mariners--Newfoundland and Labrador--Education

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