bloggy bits


Cathedral berg, side view. Cape Spear, Newfoundland and Labrador. Photo: Sonja Boon

We’re full on into iceberg season, with the first newsletter dropping into my inbox earlier this week and some sightings near to St. John’s. Further into Central Newfoundland, however – Twillingate, Bonavista, Greenspond – they’ve been seeing bergs for a while already….

But what do bergs have to do with blogs, and more specifically, saltwater story blogs?


Dry dock berg, side view. Torbay, Newfoundland and Labrador. Photo: Sonja Boon

Icebergs come in different shapes and sizes, each of them with their own specific name. A few years ago, a spectacular cathedral berg lodged itself just by Cape Spear. We often have dome and blocky bergs relatively near shore, and as they melt, we see dry dock bergs.

Bergy bits are those bits and pieces of bergs; they have the same histories, but they’ve broken off, split apart. They’re made of the same stuff, only smaller.

Bloggy bits might be seen the same way: like longer posts, they’re made of the same stuff, only smaller…

Now that the whole ‘blogging team’ is fully on board and raring to go, we’re ready to shake things up a bit in terms of structure, and we want to introduce some ‘bloggy bits.’ In addition to ‘regular posts’ – posts between 500 and 1000 words (or more, if it’s me) that explore a certain idea, or review a book, or comment on some articles or offer some kind of historical contextualization or autoethnographic exploration, we’re introducing two new thematic bloggy bits: Unintended Readers and Theory Thursdays.

More on both of these below….


Canada Day, early morning, from Signal Hill, St. John’s. Photo: Sonja Boon

Unintended Readers

“…a historian reading original source material is an unintended reader, reads something that was never meant for his or her eyes; a reader unimagined and unimaginable by the justices’ clerk, the census enumerator, the guardian of the poor, making their more or less legible transcriptions, registers, lists and observations” (Steedman 17-18)

Taking our cue from Carolyn Steedman’s observation, in a 2008 article, that historians are often “unintended readers,” we’re developing a series of bi-weekly series of posts that offer a way into the sometimes serendipitous, sometimes surprising, always intriguing world of archival research.

These posts offer tiny windows – little snippets into archival worlds. In these posts, which will appear every other Monday, we share some of the things we come across in our archival journeying – text or images or ideas that stick with us, even if we haven’t quite yet figured out how they fit into a larger picture.

You may just get a morsel of text, with nothing more than a question after it. Or perhaps, an image from an archival source, with the hint of barely formed ideas. Perhaps it will be a paragraph from a diary. Or maybe, a historical postcard, or a stamp, or a sound clip. All of this material will be primary source material.



spooky berg, no more than about 100 m from shore. Bauline, Newfoundland and Labrador. Photo: Sonja Boon

Theory Thursday

Ok. So it’s not the most exciting title for a series of blog posts. But drawing on the idea that we’re all reading all the time, and that sometimes the ideas we encounter flit and float through our consciousnesses, with not quite enough on which to rest but with enough spark to be worthy of remembering, we’re introducing Theory Thursday, an opportunity for us to share some of the conceptual work that’s informing our thinking and writing. As with Unintended Readers, Theory Thursday posts (which will also appear ever other week) are bonbons – tiny, rich, cream-filled morsels of goodness that make you want more but also give you enough flavour to savour, enjoy, and remember.

Thanks for being part of this journey so far; we hope you enjoy these new additions.


St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Photo: Sonja Boon


Steedman, Carolyn, “Intimacy in research: accounting for it.” History of the Human Sciences 21.4 (2008): 17-33.


(c) Sonja Boon, 2016. sboon @


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