Willeen Keough

Office: AQ 6231
Telephone: 778-782-4534
Email: wkeough@sfu.ca



I was born on the eastern edge of the easternmost province, where iron cliff-face meets the roiling waters of the North Atlantic. I am the granddaughter of fishers, and the daughter of a one-room-schoolteacher (later, human rights commissioner) and a cooperative fieldworker/labour newspaper editor (later, cabinet minister), who met when they were working on another west coast, in a resettled community on the Port-au-Port Peninsula. My own working background has been eclectic. I've been a barmaid, a teacher of music and dance, a researcher/writer, copy-editor, legal assistant, and secondary teacher before settling into academia. I came to Simon Fraser University in 2005 and currently live in Kitsilano. I am still amazed to find myself in a place where I must face west to see the ocean and north to see the "Southside Hills."

Research Interests

Negotiations of gender and ethnicity; contested ethnic terrains and communal violence; interaction between formal and informal belief systems; cultural memory.

Books and Edited Collections

Landscapes: places of memory, subversive spaces, and boundary crossings.  Guest Editor with Dara Culhane, with editors’ Introduction.  Special issue of the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies Studies / Revue canadienne d'études irlandaises 39 (2015): 276 pp.

Articles and Chapters

  • “Sea Shepherds, Eco-warriors, and Impresarios: The Performance of Eco-masculinity in the Canadian Seal Hunt of the Late Twentieth Century.”  In Making Men, Making History: Canadian Masculinities Across Time and Place. Edited by Robert Rutherdale and Peter Gossage. Chapter 10. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2018.
  • “‘Long looked for, come at last’: Articulations of Whiteboyism and Ribbonism in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Newfoundland.” Irish Studies Review 26, no. 1 (2018): 5-23.
  •  “The Creation of the ‘Irish Loop’: Ethnicity, Collective Historical Memory, and Place.”  In Heritage, Diaspora, and the Consumption of Culture: Movements in Irish Landscapes, ed. Rebecca Boyd and Diane Sabenacio Nititham-Tunney.  Farnham, Surry: Ashgate, 2014.
  • “‘Two brothers came out from Ireland...’:  Relocating Irish-Newfoundland women from the periphery to the centre of the migration narrative.”  In Changing Places: Relocation and Empathy, ed. Valerie Burton and Jean Guthrie.  Toronto: Inanna Press, 2014.
  • “Unpacking the discursive Irish woman immigrant in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Newfoundland.”  Irish Studies Review 21, no. 1 (2013), Special Issue: New Perspectives on Women and the Irish Diaspora: 55-70.
  • “Good looks don’t boil the pot”: Irish-Newfoundland women as fish(-producing) wives.”  Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 37, no. 3 (2012): 536-44.
  • “(Re-)telling Newfoundland Sealing Masculinity:  Narrative and Counter-narrative,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Society 21, no. 1 (2010): 131-50.
  • "Contested Terrains: Ethnic and Gendered Spaces in the Harbour Grace Affray," Canadian Historical Review 90, no. 1 (2009): 29-70.
  • "Creating the 'Irish Loop': Cultural Renaissance or Commodification of Ethnic Identity in an Imagined Tourist Landscape?" Canadian Journal of Irish Studies / Revue canadienne d'Ètudes irlandaises 34, no. 2 (Fall 2008): 5-24.
  • "The 'Old Hag' Revisits St. Brigid: Irish-Newfoundland Women and the Spiritual Life of Southern Avalon Communities," in Weather's Edge: A Compendium of Women's Lives in Newfoundland and Labrador , ed. Linda Cullum, Carmelita McGrath, and Marilyn Porter (St. John's: Killick Press, 2006): 11-22.
  • "'Now you vagabond [w]hore I have you': Plebeian Women, Assault Cases, and Gender and Class Relations on the Southern Avalon, 1750-1860," in Two Islands: The Legal Histories of Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, ed. Christopher English (Toronto: University of Toronto Press with the Osgoode Society, 2006): 237-71.
  • "Ethnicity as Intercultural Dialogue in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Newfoundland." Canadian Journal of Irish Studies / Revue canadienne d'Ètudes irlandaises 31, no.1 (Spring 2005): 18-28.
  • "The Riddle of Peggy Mountain: The Regulation of Irish Women's Sexuality on the Southern Avalon, 1750-1860." Acadiensis 31, no.2 (spring 2002): 36-70. Reprinted in R. Douglas Francis and Donald B. Smith, eds., Readings in Canadian History: Pre-Confederation, 7th ed. (Toronto: Thomson Nelson, 2007).
  • "The 'Old Hag' Meets St. Brigid: Irish Women and the Intersection of Belief Systems on the Southern Avalon." An Nasc 15 (Spring 2001): 12-25.
  • "Bringing Ordinary Lives out from the Shadows: Court Records, Oral History, and Irish Women on the Southern Avalon." The Newfoundland Ancestor 15, no. 4 (Winter 1999): 181-92.
  • "Essay Evocation," in 3817: gender evocations, ed. Astrid Brunner (Halifax: AB Collector Publishing, 1995), 1-4.

Blog Post

Areas of Graduate Supervision:

Irish and Canadian history, with special interests in gender, ethnicity, immigration, oral history, cultural history, and the politics of memory.

Teaching Interests

Pre-Confederation Canadian History; Ireland from Penal Era to Partition; Religion, Ethnicity, and Politics in Twentieth-Century Northern Ireland; Conceptualizing Atlantic Canada; Gender and History; Oral History-Theories and Practices. Creation and Re-creation of the Downtown Eastside.


  • Dean's Medal for Academic Excellence, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, 2016.
  • Co-investigator, SSHRC Partnership Development Grant - “Reclaiming the New Westminster Waterfront” 2012-15.
  • SSHRC Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences in Canada Grant, 2010.
  • SSHRC Standard Research Grant, 2008-2011. "Seal Wars: Conflicting Masculinities at the Labrador Front."
  • President's Research Grant, 2005-7, Simon Fraser University.
  • SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship and Research Grant, 2004-5.
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship and Research Grant, Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), Memorial University of Newfoundland, 2002-4.
  • Gutenberg-e Prize, American Historical Association, 2003, for doctoral thesis.
  • Certificate of Recognition of Excellence, School of Graduate Studies, Memorial, 2002.
  • Fellow of the School of Graduate Studies, Memorial, 2001.
  • SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, 1998-2001.
  • ISER Doctoral Research Grant, 1998-99.
  • ISER Student Essay Prize, 2000.
  • Albert George Hatcher Memorial Scholarship, Memorial, 1997-98.
  • Graduate Fellowship (Ph.D.), Memorial, 1997-2000 (declined).
  • Graduate Fellowship (M.A.), Memorial, 1996-97.
  • University Medal for Academic Excellence in Secondary Education, Memorial, 1996.

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