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UAB Professor Discusses the worlds "Most Dangerous Profession" at The Edge of Chaos


BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- A UAB history professor with a long-standing interest in labor will deliver a lecture on campus today regarding the dangerous occupation of deep-sea fishing.


Colin Davis will present his talk, entitled "Trans-Atlantic Danger: Work and Death among U.S. and British Deep-Sea Fishermen," at noon at The Edge of Chaos events venue, according to UAB spokesman Bob Shepard.

The event -- part of the Reynolds Historical Lecture Series -- is free and open to the public.

A native of England who serves as the chairman of the Department of History, Davis has published a few articles on the travails of deep-sea fishing.

He became interested in the topic because of his family's connection to the industry. "I had three grandfathers who were fishermen (and) two died while fishing," he said in an email on Wednesday.

There are statistics that indicate that deep-sea fishing is "very dangerous," according to Davis. It is "by far the most dangerous of all occupations, including coal mining," he said.

In his lecture today, Davis will discuss how and where the fishermen are injured.

"The lecture will culminate examining a series of disasters that befell three fishing boats in 1968 with the loss of 66 men (22 in each fishing boat)," he said.

One of the most striking aspects of the work experience of deep-sea fisherman is "heart-rending loss," according to Davis. "British wives would never say goodbye to their husbands when they left to fish, considered bad luck," he said. "Deep-seated fear fueled superstitious response."

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