Qallunology of an Arctic Whaling Encounter: An Inuk’s Transatlantic Voyage, 1839 to 1840




Pearce, Anne-Marie

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This thesis borrows the analytical framework of Qallunology to examine a nineteenth-century Arctic whaling encounter between Scottish whalers and an Inuk geographer: Inulluapik. This thesis analyzes the narrative, written by Scottish surgeon Alexander M’Donald, of Inulluapik’s transatlantic journey to Aberdeen, Scotland and Tinnujivik (Cumberland Sound) from 1839 to 1840. I show how Inulluapik’s experience in Aberdeen in 1839, as recorded by M’Donald, provides insight into early Victorian worldviews and perceptions, which I call M’Donald’s Qallunaat-dom and Qallunaat-ness. By conducting a Qallunology of M’Donald’s description of the historical episode, I examine his early Victorian Qallunaat-dom, which compared Inuit from the eastern Arctic to Scots in Aberdeen through his binary understanding of whaling, gender, and spirituality. M’Donald’s interpretation of Inulluapik’s experience demonstrated his contrasting views of Inuit and non-Inuit cultures, which intersected with early Victorian ideas of civilization, intelligence, behaviour, appearance, respectability, female domesticity and marital purity, and Indigenous authenticity. In contrast, Inulluapik demonstrated fluid resistance to M’Donald’s early Victorian binaries of subsistence versus commercial whaling, rural versus urban, primitive versus advanced, and uncivilized versus civilized, and Indigenous versus non-Indigenous.



Qallunology, Inuit history, Non-Inuit history, History, Arctic history, Cumberland Sound, Indigenous-Settler, Nineteenth Century, Victorian period, Scotland, Aberdeen, Whaling, Whalers, Canadian Arctic, Gender, Spirituality, Eskimology