In 2008 I enrolled in a PhD in the Department of Anthropology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. After a 30-year career in journalism I was looking for an opportunity to pursue research interests in depth and without the demands of short-term deadlines. An academic environment offered me that opportunity.
Following the completion of the program’s required courses, comprehensive examinations, and the publication of two articles in peer-reviewed journals, I submitted my thesis proposal. Following a year of revision and review approval was granted and I embarked on my field research. In 2014 I submitted a manuscript of my doctoral dissertation.
The question that intrigued me is: what happens to culture when it is turned into a product? The title of my doctoral dissertation is Newfoundland, Tourism, and Selling Culture. When I was asked ‘why focus on tourism?’ I responded with a fact that is noted at the beginning of my introductory chapter: more people go to Las Vegas than Mecca.
The following six chapters are a second draft of my dissertation. Family matters and the need to generate income interrupted my progress and as a result I chose not to submit this second draft and engage in what would have been a further year of revision and review.
Friends and colleagues who read portions of the dissertation manuscript have encouraged me to share it. Some of the research fills in gaps, some reinforces the findings of others, and perhaps some of it offers a new perspective on discussions about Newfoundland culture. So, if others find it useful, then I am pleased to share it.