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Oral history interview with Amanat Kaur conducted by Khushpreet Virk

Amanat Kaur is an international student that came from India. She is originally from India and was raised in India. Amanat currently resides in and works at an immigration office in Brampton. Amanat immigrated to Canada in 2014 and she is currently in her early 20s. The interview covers several themes such as religion, education, work, mental health, immigration, and general lifestyle in the Peel Region.

In her oral history with interviewer Khushpreet Virk (UTM undergraduate student at the time), narrator Amanat Kaur goes in depth about the immigration experience and her experiences with racism, religion, and community involvement. Furthermore, the interview goes in depth and talks about the mental health of international students and the struggles international students face when they immigrate to Canada.

Oral history interview with Jeejna Mandavia conducted by Mukti Patel

Jeejna Mandavia is a teacher who now lives and works in the Peel Region. In her oral history with interviewer Mukti Patel (UTM undergraduate student at the time), narrator Jeejna Patel speaks about the role of faith in her and her family’s life, her dependence on her guru, her father’s passing, her experiences with racism as a child, and her experiences as a mother.

Oral history interview with Saima Hussain conducted by Rijja Moeen

Saima Hussain is a well-known journalist and award-winning book writer who currently works as a supervisor at the Mississauga Library. As an immigrant to Canada from Pakistan and spending many years of her life in Saudi Arabia, Saima focuses on being involved in the community, such as becoming a member of the Council of Agency Serving South Asians, the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, and running programs for newcomers. Saima completed her MA in South Asian Studies from the University of Toronto and also worked there as an admissions counsellor. She then moved to Pakistan where she became an editor at Dawn newspaper. Upon returning to Canada, she produced a history book for young readers called The Arab World Thought of It: Inventions, Innovations and Amazing Facts, which received an award from the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations. She also wrote another book called The Muslimah Who Fell to Earth: Personal Stories by Canadian Muslim Women to allow representation of Muslim women in the world.

In her oral history with interviewer Rijja Moeen (UTM undergraduate student at the time), narrator Saima Hussain speaks about her experiences of being a journalist and writer, how she has made a difference in the South Asian community through her work, the importance of religion in her life, and her experience of being an immigrant to Canada.

South Asian Oral Histories in Peel collection

  • CA UTM C001
  • Collection
  • 2021

Collection consists of 14 oral history interviews with members of the South Asian diaspora residing within the Peel Region (Mississauga and Brampton) in Ontario, Canada. Interviews were conducted by students enrolled in the senior undergraduate course RLG360 Special Topics in South Asian Religions: South Asian Oral Histories in Peel offered at the University of Toronto Mississauga in the 2021 winter term during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

South Asian Oral Histories in Peel Project

Oral history interview with Ali Kazmi conducted by Zahraa Syeda

Ali Kazmi is a Pakistani-Canadian actor and director, as well as a Toronto Film School alumnus who migrated from Pakistan to Canada in 2007 to pursue his career in film and television. Kazmi’s parents, Rahat Kazmi and Sahira Kazmi, were two of the pioneers of Pakistani television content in the 1980s.

In his oral history with interviewer Zahraa Syeda (UTM undergraduate student at the time), narrator Ali Kazmi speaks about his transition from Pakistan to Canada, his experiences and struggles in pursuing his cinematic career, his Oscar-nominated film, stereotypes regarding gender roles within his culture as well as the taboo attached to mental health and sex education within the South Asian diaspora. Additionally, he sheds light on his ideas and views of religion and spirituality, and where they stem from.

Oral history interview with Sophia Syed conducted by Areeb Daimee

Sophia Syed is a teacher who works in the Peel Region at Rick Hansen Secondary School. Mainly focusing her teaching on politics, religion, and world issues, Sophia seeks to connect students to understanding the different political structures, cultures, beliefs, and concerns that play a significant role in peoples’ everyday lives.

In her oral history with interviewer Areeb Daimee (UTM undergraduate student at the time), narrator Sophia Syed spoke about the significance of South Asian teachers for South Asian students in Peel, the ways in which such representation can help combat discrimination for both students and teachers, and her experiences supporting South Asian cultural and religious celebration in the school.

Oral history interview with Shirley Wu conducted by Mehreen Butt

Shirley Wu is a Pakistani-Canadian beauty salon owner and a staple in the beauty community not only in Peel, but all over the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and parts of North America. She was born and brought up in Lahore, Pakistan and immigrated to Ontario in 1991.

In her oral history with interviewer Mehreen Butt (UTM undergraduate student at the time), narrator Shirley Wu speaks about her experience growing up in Pakistan, her family’s influence on her career and life experiences, her Hakka ancestry, her influence on the beauty community and South Asian community in the GTA, as well as how important it is to maintain South Asian traditions while growing up within the Peel and GTA South Asian diaspora.

Oral history interview with Andy Ramgobin conducted by Prashil Gandhi

Andy Ramgobin is a member of the Shiv Ganesh Mandir in Brampton where he plays the harmonium during various prayers and live events. In his oral history with interviewer Prashil Gandhi (UTM undergraduate student at the time), narrator Andy Ramgobin speaks about what role religion plays in his life and how music was what brought him closer to religion. Andy also draws upon the differences around the aspect of what religion means to him, his parents, and family back home in Guyana.

Oral history interview with Sandhya Srivatsan conducted by Sarada Sai Susmitha Turaga

Sandhya Srivatsan is the founder of the music academy Gaanavarshini located in Brampton, Ontario. She is a trained Karnatic singer coming from India, who has learnt under the discipline of wonderful gurus. As a trained musician, Sandhya speaks about her early connections and relationship with music. Sandhya comes from a musical family, where each member of her family shared a collective passion for this art form.

In her oral history with interviewer Sarada Sai Susmitha Taraga (UTM undergraduate student at the time), narrator Sandhya Srivatsan talks about the importance of Karnatic Sangeetham and what the art form has to offer the youth of today. Sandhya talks about the importance of family, religion, occupation, and education, and how Karnatic music allowed her to develop a balance when approaching life. Using her passion for music and teaching, Sandhya has developed her own music academy, hoping to teach the tradition of Karnatic Sangeetham and have it rooted in the hearts of the South Asian community in Peel.

Oral history interview with Sharmin Kassam conducted by Aleah Ameer

Sharmin Kassam is a henna artist from Mississauga. She got her degree in civil engineering technology, and right after she got her degree, she decided to take a course with Ash Kumar’s company to refine her henna art. After that, she applied to become a product stockist with the company, which is how to she started her own henna business. She now works in construction and also works as a henna artist for various events such as religious functions, weddings and parties.

In her oral history with interviewer Aleah Ameer (UTM undergraduate student at the time), narrator Sharmin Kassam speaks about her connection to the South Asian community through her work as a henna artist. She explains where her passion for pursuing this art comes from and why she continues to work in both construction and henna. Sharmin Kassam also shares her thoughts on the westernization of South Asian culture, specifically henna. She speaks about the importance of education regarding things with cultural and religious ties and how westernization is not the issue. Rather, it is the disrespect and the erasure of the history and origins that follows it.

Oral history interview with Harleen Sawhney conducted by Chashanjot Sidhu

Harleen Sawhney is a Punjabi Sikh social media professional. Born in India, she migrated to the Middle East, England, and at last, Canada. She currently resides in Mississauga.

In her oral history with interviewer Chashanjot Sidhu (UTM undergraduate student at the time), narrator Harleen Sawhney speaks about her immigration process, as well as some of the challenges she faced as a newcomer to Canada. She touches upon her childhood experiences, specifically growing up in a different environment compared to someone that would have been born and brought up in Punjab. As well as talking about her immigration challenges, she talks about certain things that were expected from her in terms of her future career. Although she did pursue an education in a career she was interested in, she could not use her qualifications to build her career in Canada due to certain hardships, which she talks about in her oral history interview.

Oral history interview with Harvinderpal Sandhu conducted by Prabhleen Purewal

Harvinderpal Sandhu is currently a resident of Brampton, and he immigrated to Ontario (Brampton), Canada from Punjab, India with his family at the age of 15. Upon arrival, Harvinderpal was living with his family and was enrolled in high school in the Canadian school system. He later went for post-secondary education in Ontario, and later worked a diverse range of jobs which altogether allowed for him to learn valuable lessons.

In his oral history with interviewer Prabhleen Purewal (UTM undergraduate student at the time), narrator Harvinderpal Sandhu talks about his experiences immigrating to Canada, in the school system as an ESL student, being South Asian in adulthood (college and workforce), and his struggles/lessons along the way.

Oral history interview with Sarabjit Singh conducted by Flyura Zakirova

Sarabjit Singh is a well-known chef with extensive culinary expertise who has his own restaurant in Brampton. He was born in India then pursued an education in Australia and settled down in Canada with his family while continuing his cooking journey. Now his work in Canada aims to bring Indian cuisine to Canada in an elevated form which will advance the existing experiences of food for South Asians in Peel.

In his oral history with interviewer Flyura Zakirova (UTM undergraduate student at the time), narrator Sarabjit Singh speaks upon his experience across themes of immigration, community, the importance of Heritage, food and generational changes.

Oral history interview with Tasneem Ahmed conducted by Arsalan Rizvi

Tasneem Ahmed is an educated Muslim woman living in Mississauga Canada. She is a mother, wife, and decorated professional. In her oral history with interviewer Arsalan Rizvi (UTM undergraduate student at the time), narrator Tasneem Ahmed speaks about life in Canada, growing up in Pakistan, her relationship with her parents, and their impacts on her life and perceptions. She speaks about religion, religion in Canada, her professional life in Saudi Arabia. She also speaks about her experiences throughout her life, experiences with racism, classism, and how religion has played a role in her life.

Collection of interviews with BIPOC musicians

  • CA OTUFM 65
  • Collection
  • 2020

Collection consists of 9 recorded interviews, both audio and video. The interviews were held by members of the design team for the exhibit Polyphony: Diversity in Music, and feature students and faculty from the University of Toronto Faculty of Music and musicians based in Ottawa, Ontario; Toronto, Ontario; and Regina, Saskatchewan. Interviewers used questions to help the interviewers share their experiences with diversity in music. Questions included whether they identified with current categories in racial discourse (i.e. BIPOC), whether their culture or identity has impacted their opportunities, and what advice they would offer to emerging BIPOC musicians. Themes within the interviews cover a broad range of topics, including systemic discrimination, imposter syndrome, racism, identity, and music pedagogy.

University of Toronto Music Library

Oral History Interview with Julie Mathien conducted by Ruth Belay

Julie Mathien, a long-time childcare reform advocate and former public servant, was an early member of the Campus Community Cooperative Daycare. Established in 1969, the collective developed the childcare centre at 12 Sussex Ave. at the St. George Campus of the University of Toronto. Mathien recounts her experiences as both a volunteer and staff member providing insight into the underlying philosophy, membership, and organization of the collective. She describes the history of negotiations and tensions with UofT’s administration, including what led to the 1969 occupation of Simcoe Hall, as well as the shifting media coverage on the centre. Mathien explains the evolving discourse on approaches to childcare that have been part of her research and later work with the municipal and provincial governments. The interview also covers Mathien’s work with the Huron-Sussex Residents Organization, where she describes past confrontations with the University and their jointly developed plans for the future of the neighborhood.

Organizations

  • Campus Community Cooperative Daycare Centre
  • Daycare Reform Action Alliance
  • Office of the President, University of Toronto
  • Canadian National Advocacy for Childcare
  • Toronto Board of Education
  • Province of Ontario
  • City of Toronto
  • University Planning, Design and Construction, University of Toronto
  • Huron-Sussex Residents Organization

Subject Topics

  • Child care
  • Early childhood education
  • Cooperatives and collective models
  • Protests and sit-ins
  • Women’s movement
  • Institutional response
  • Community engagement
  • Neighborhood advocacy
  • Toronto city planning and development

Oral history interview with James Nugent conducted by Ruth Belay

Dr. James Nugent, currently Lecturer at the University of Waterloo, received his undergraduate degree in 2006 from UTSC and continued with his graduate work at UofT’s St. George Campus. Nugent shares his early experiences of student activism and involvement at UTSC, particularly through Resources for Environmental and Social Action (RESA), while also reflecting on the larger societal and political shifts following 9/11. Nugent remarks on the unique student environment at UTSC, noting events, initiatives, as well as the cross-cultural learning he experienced there. In describing his participation in the anti-globalization movement and peace action, through to his later work on climate justice and social policy, Nugent discusses the impact of service learning and community engagement in education. He reflects on the pressures faced by current students and questions how these will shape youth activism, as well as considering the effects of social media and the breadth of issues in which students are engaged both here and abroad.

Organizations

  • Resources for Environmental & Social Action (RESA)
  • International Development Studies Association (IDSA)
  • University of Toronto Scarborough College (UTSC)
  • Grrl Fest, University of Toronto Scarborough College
  • The Meeting Place, University of Toronto Scarborough College

Subject Topics

  • Anti-globalization movement
  • Protests and demonstrations
  • Anti-war movement
  • International development studies
  • Fair trade
  • Climate / environmental justice
  • Community partnerships
  • Social media
  • International students

Oral history interview with Ikem Opara conducted by Ruth Belay

Ikem Opara, currently Director of National Learning Partnerships at the Rideau Hall Foundation, was an international student at UofT’s St. George campus. His active involvement at the University included executive roles with Black Students’ Association (BSA), playing Varsity football, and membership in organizations such as the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the African Students’ Association and the Nigerian Students’ Association. Opara describes the personal impact that these organizations had in forming deep social connections, while emphasizing throughout the interview their commitment to create spaces of belonging on campus that reflected both racial and ethnic identities. He recounts many of the BSA’s and Alpha Phi Alpha’s activities, including mentorship initiatives, talks, social events, and discusses their underlying goals, particularly regarding the strategic use of space to highlight Black presence at the University. He reflects on the BSA’s engagement in issues such as representation within curriculum and broader community activism around police violence in the city, while also reflecting on challenges faced at UofT.

Organizations

  • Black Students’ Association (BSA)
  • High School Conference, Black Students’ Association
  • BLACKLIGHT, Black Students' Association
  • African Students’ Association (ASA)
  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (AΦA)
  • Nigerian Students’ Association (NSA)
  • Tan Furu
  • UofT Korean Students’ Association (UTKSA)
  • Hart House, UofT

Subject Topics

  • Acculturation
  • Varsity sports
  • Mentorship
  • Equity in education
  • Community engagement
  • Solidarity networks
  • Social networks
  • Food
  • Organizational memory
  • Institutional response
  • Institutional racism
  • Funding of student groups

Albert Frank Moritz fonds

  • CA ON00399 49
  • collection
  • 1935-2020

The A.F. Moritz fonds contains records relating to his education, teaching, translation and editing work, journalism and other employment, and, predominantly, his work as a poet.

Fonds is comprised of the following series:
Series 1: Education, [195-?]-2002;
Series 2: Teaching, 1985-2017;
Series 3: Poetry manuscripts, essays and related records 1970-2020;
Series 4: Correspondence, 1973-2020;
Series 5: Poetry Readings, 1975-2019;
Series 6: Periodicals containing material by or about A.F. Moritz, 1969-2020;
Series 7: Editing and Watershed Books, 1979-2017;
Series 8: Anthologies containing A.F. Moritz poems, 1976-2015;
Series 9: Literary related activities, 1973-2020;
Series 10: Translation projects, 1973-2016;
Series 11: Personal material, 1935-2019;
Series 12: Employment, 1969-2001.

Moritz, Albert Frank

Alan T. Davies fonds

  • CA ON00357 2131
  • collection
  • 1969-2020

Fonds consists of papers of Dr. Alan T. Davies primarily concerning Jewish-Christian issues, racism and anti semitism. The records consist of correspondence (various), correspondence re Jewish-Christian issues, letters to the editor, published articles, book reviews, addresses/lectures, sermons, announcements of addresses/lectures, reviews of books authored by Dr. Davies and related correspondence. Also includes a copy of his curriculum vitae.

Davies, Alan T.

University of Toronto. Department of Molecular Genetics

This accession contains two digital files from the tribute to Dr. Louis "Lou" Siminovitch on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Includes a video of the tribute that took place online as well as a Powerpoint slide presentation about Siminovitch. It was hosted by Dr. John Dirks and includes talks by Siminovitch himself as well as medical colleagues, Robert Phillips, Ken Knox, Ron Worton, James Friesen, Jim Woodget, David Naylor and daughter, Kathy Siminovitch. The event was held on 18 November 2020 and was co-sponsored by the Toronto Medical Historical Club.

UTARMS' Oral History Collection on Student Activism

  • UTA 0302
  • Collection
  • 1972-2020

Collection includes seventeen oral history interviews focused on illuminating the impact of student action and initiatives across UofT’s three campuses. Themes within the interviews cover a broad range of topics including community building and mentorship, institutional response, and the deep personal and educational value drawn from commitments to systemic change.

University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services

Oral history interview with Ceta Ramkhalawansingh conducted by Ruth Belay and Daniela Ansovini

Ceta Ramkhalawansingh is the former Equal Opportunity Director at the old City of Toronto, later becoming the Corporate Manager, Diversity Management and Community Engagement in the new City of Toronto after amalgamation in 1998. She is a prominent community activist and was a founding member of the student-initiated teaching collective at UofT in one of Canada’s first women’s studies course. Her family moved to Canada in 1967 from Trinidad and Tobago. Ceta reflects on her time as an undergraduate student from 1968, recounting her political involvement through the Student Administrative Council (SAC), and her work in establishing, participating in, and advocating for the inclusion of women’s studies and feminist methodologies in curriculum at the University. She discusses some of her positions at the City of Toronto and the Toronto school board, particularly around diversity and equity work, and her continuing connection with UofT through the Women and Gender Studies Institute, New College and Innis College. Ramkhalawansingh, as a dedicated community and housing advocate, also describes the negotiation and resistance to key developments in the neighborhoods surrounding UofT, particularly in the downtown Toronto Grange neighborhood, as well as the University’s position and response. She recalls a number of different groups and initiatives that she has been involved with, including on issues of heritage preservation and range of human rights issues.

Organizations

  • Women and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto (WGSI)
  • Student Administrative Council (SAC)
  • Labour History Collective and The Women’s Press
  • New College, University of Toronto
  • Innis College, University of Toronto
  • City of Toronto
  • Grange Community Association
  • University of Toronto Community Liaison Committee
  • Art Gallery of Ontario, AGO
  • MATCH International Women’s Fund
  • Ontario Advisory Council of Women’s Issues

Subject Topics

  • Student governance
  • Women and gender studies programmes
  • Social responsibility
  • Reproductive rights
  • Toronto city planning
  • Toronto development
  • Neighborhood advocacy
  • Heritage conservation
  • Social housing
  • Financial access to education
  • Institutional response
  • Equity, diversity, and human rights

Additional material

Includes article, "Struggle, sit-ins and serious chutzpah: The early years of campus community co-operative day care centre and child care in Canada," by Julie Mathien, April 2020, in addition to a portrait taken at the interview.

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