I grew up on the Alaskan coast, which gave me an appreciation for the sea and for maritime history. Throughout my life, I have never lived far from the sea. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Greenwich’s Greenwich Maritime Institute, where I investigated the actual practices of Cornish wrecking, as opposed to the folkoric narratives. My research was published as Cornish Wrecking, 1700-1860: Reality and Popular Myth (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2011). I’m pleased to say that it has received rave reviews from both popular and academic reviewers.

My previous history qualifications include a BA in History from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, with a minor in Anthropology, and an MA in British and Maritime History from the University of Victoria in Canada. At Victoria I researched the marine department of the Hudson’s Bay Company on the Pacific Northwest Coast, an area close to my heart. When I finished my MA, I returned to Alaska and taught at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s main campus, and their branch campuses at Eagle River, Matanuska-Susitna, and Kenai Peninsula. The Kenai contract meant flying to class from Anchorage once a week!  I taught mainly Alaska history, which I loved, as well as Western Civ and European history. Eventually I landed a full-time permanent position at Kenai Peninsula College, where I stayed for fifteen years before relocating to England. I am now teaching part-time at the University of Greenwich, where I teach a course in Global Exploration. I have previously taught on their MA in Maritime History and hope to again once the programme has been reassessed and offered again. I am also teaching on the MA Royal Navy course at the University of Portsmouth, so it all keeps me busy! I love connecting with my students.

If that isn’t enough, I am secretary for the publications committee for the Society for Nautical Research and serve on Council AND on the Editorial Board of their INT-1 peer reviewed journal, The Mariner’s Mirror. I am also editor of Troze, the online journal of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall as well as a Trustee of the British Commission for Maritime History.

My research on wrecking is continuing apace, with a book about wrecking around the English and Welsh coasts in the offing for the popular market. I am also currently involved in a research project on lifesaving and coastal communities. The Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society has kindly given me access to their records, so I have been quite busy researching their history, writing chapters for edited books, and giving conference presentations. Can I say that I never get bored?

All the best,

Dr Cathryn Pearce



  1. interesting !!!

  2. Thanks for your interest in ‘Tides of Change’, Cathryn. I could arrange to email you a PDF if needed, but a paper copy is nicer to own.
    Tim HW

  3. Hi. Is the Merchant Navy MA module now online?

    • Dear Jackie, I’m so sorry I missed your message! No, unfortunately the module isn’t online yet. The university had to do some reshuffling and absorbed Greenwich Maritime Institute into the university proper. We have been reformed as the Greenwich Maritime Centre. The Merchant Navy module was taught face-to-face last year, but all the History MA modules have been parked to reassess the degree. I have fingers and toes crossed that we will be able to get it out in the future!

  4. Hi Dr Pearce. I am a former history student of yours at UAA/KPC. I’m trying to contact you with a request. What is the best email to reach you? I already tried as it was the only one I could find in a quick web search. Please let me know. Thanks. Joseph Robertia

    • Hi Joseph, it’s great to hear from you! You can contact me at For some reason, the Troze emails aren’t coming through to me and I have to check it out. Sorry! My university email is the best one to try. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

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