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Rainer Baehre

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Memorial University of NewfoundlandHistory Location Corner Brook Canada Discipline(s): History Research Interests: Canadian History, Social History, Cultural History, Environmental History, First Nations, Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, Sociology, Anthropology Languages: English

My recent primary research interest in environmental history – the interaction of the human and natural environment – has focused on Newfoundland and Labrador, and lately on the region of the Humber Arm/Bay of Islands sub-region in western Newfoundland to the south of the UNESCO world site, Gros Morne National Park.  This work consists of an edited collection, several published chapters and articles, and a range of conference papers including the following examples:

Outrageous Seas: Shipwreck and Survival in the Waters off Newfoundland, 1583-1893. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1999
A study of how the sea and shipwreck narratives have contributed to defining social and cultural identity

Nineteenth Century Medical and Anthropological Views of the Labrador Inuit.  In “Very Rough Country”: Proceedings of the Labrador Explorations Symposium, ed. Martha MacDonald.  St. John’s: The Labrador Institute, 2010, pp. 228-250
A study of how late-eighteenth and nineteenth-century medical practitioners and anthropologists applied their respective “knowledge” and applied it to geography and climate in an effort to construct racial stereotypes of the Inuit.

Ship Owners, Captains, and Fishers: Narrative Accounts of Disputed American Fishing Practices in Newfoundland Waters, 1890-1925.  Paper presented at a session on “Crossing the Land-Sea Border: Fishermen and Environmental Identity in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Its Islands,” American Society for Environmental History Association, Toronto, ON, 6 April 2013

The Folk Art of Bond Penney: Outwoodsmen and Logging Culture in Western Newfoundland, 1939-46.  Paper presented at a session on Nature, Culture, and Power,  Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting, Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Vancouver, B.C., 3 June 2008
Blogged after July 1 together with other presentations in environmental history on the Network in Canadian History and Environment (NiCHE) website at

Indigenizing the Academy: the case of Grenfell Campus, Memorial University, and the Newfoundland Mi’kmaq Resurgence Morning Watch: Education and Social Analysis, 41 (Spring 2013) – in press
A review of the literature on the Newfoundland Mi’kmaq and history of the Qalipu First Nations band and how scholarship, politics, and post-secondary education related to Aboriginal issues has been influenced by history, place, identity and the environment.


Humber River Basin/Bay of Islands interactive website
A long-term project documenting and interpreting the environmental history of communities in the region which encompasses studies of Woods Island – a resettled outport; Crow Gulch – an abandoned “jackytar” (or metis) community; the American fishing presence at the turn of the twentieth century; the impact of the Corner Brook pulp and paper mill and the industrialization of the region; a literary and visual history of the region’s environment, and other themes.

A collaborative effort with Glenn Payne, Geospatial Research Facility, College of the North Atlantic (Corner Brook), and the Town of Humber Arm South Resettlement House and Museum (Benoit’s Cove) in the digital reconstruction of the harbour of Woods Island, as it existed in the 1950s prior to resettlement. This included a virtual fly-over of the harbour and the digital reconstruction of its vernacular architecture, then linked to historical photos of the properties and the families which owned them together with oral history describing the resettlement process and how it impacted traditional outport life.

A collaborative effort with Darin Brooks, GIS Co-ordinator, College of the North Atlantic (Corner Brook), in a “soft” GIS project – a “story map” which situates, links, and compares old and new photographs using applied GIS mapping.