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Scott Eaton


Under the supervision of Dr. Jeffrey McNairn, my doctoral research explores the development of infrastructure in nineteenth-century Newfoundland. My project focuses on two types of colonial improvements in Newfoundland from 1855 to approximately 1900. First, it explores the administration of road boards and road building, particularly in rural communities. Secondly, it assesses the public and private business of railway construction on the island. It attempts to historicize these processes as defining moments in Newfoundland’s colonial development, with regards to the negotiation of state power, the role of private investment in the economy, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. It asks: how, in the decades after achieving responsible government in 1855, did colonial improvements shape the socioeconomics, fiscal capacity, and political culture of Newfoundland’s settler colony?

Selected Publications


  • “‘A Sharp Offensive in All Directions:’ The Canadian Labour Defense League and the Fight against Section 98, 1931-1936.” Labour/Le Travail 82 (Fall, 2018): 41-80.
  • “Review of: Canadian State Trials, Vol. IV: Security, Dissent, and the Limits of Toleration in War and Peace, edited by Barry Wright, Eric Tucker, and Susan Binnie (Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 2015).” BC Studies, no. 191 (Fall 2016): 148-49.
  • “‘To the disgust of the whole of the northern districts’: The Placentia Railway Question and Regionalism in Newfoundland, 1884-1889.” Newfoundland & Labrador Studies 28, no. 1 (Spring, 2013): 28-62.

Conference Presentations

  • “‘Through the Wastes of Labrador in Search of Gold:’ Imagining a Land-Based Resource Economy in Nineteenth-Century Labrador.” Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting (Vancouver, BC), 2019.
  • “‘A rugged and for the most part a barren country: Nineteenth-Century Surveyors and the Characterization of Newfoundland’s Interior.” Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting (Regina, SK), 2018.
  • “In the Capitalist Courts: Legal Strategies of the State and the Communist Party of Canada in the Trial of the Communist Eight, 1931.” North American Labor History Conference (Detroit, Michigan), 2015.
Awards and recognition
  • Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS – Doctoral (SSHRC), 2019-21
  • Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS – Master’s (SSHRC), 2013

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.