Fonds 2011 - Kathryn Pauly Morgan fonds

Identity area

Reference code

UTA 2011


Kathryn Pauly Morgan fonds


  • 1948-2020 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

7.96 m of textual records (61 boxes)
3 oversized folders
4 photographs

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Kathryn Pauly Morgan (1943-2022) was a white feminist philosopher and Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies at the University of Toronto, where she taught from 1974-2013. She played a prominent role in the development of Women’s Studies as an academic discipline at the University of Toronto, from its early days as an undergraduate program (one of the first in Canada) through to the launch of the Graduate Collaborative Program in Women’s Studies in 1994-95, the creation of the Institute for Women’s Studies and Gender Studies in 1999 (now Women & Gender Studies Institute) and the admission of graduate students in Women & Gender Studies. She researched, published, and taught in the areas of philosophy of education, feminist ethics and bioethics, women and health, feminist philosophy of the body, and gender and techno-science.

Morgan was born on August 20th, 1943 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. She earned a B.A. from Alverno College (Milwaukee, WI) in 1965 and subsequently pursued graduate studies in philosophy at Johns Hopkins University. She obtained her PhD in 1973, writing her dissertation on Descartes, Merleau-Ponty, and the knowledge of the self. She also earned an M.Ed. in Educational Foundations from the University of Alberta in 1972.

In 1974, Morgan began working at the University of Toronto on sessional contracts, first in the Department of Philosophy, and later also in Women’s Studies. In 1980 she was the recipient of the Ontario Council of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) Award for Excellence in Teaching. She was appointed Associate Professor (with tenure) in 1983 and Full Professor in 1989. In addition, she became a member of the Joint Centre for Bioethics in 1990 and was cross-appointed to the Institute of Medical Science from 1992-1998.

Alongside Kay Armatage and Sylvia Van Kirk, in the early 1980s, she helped develop and co-taught Introduction to Women’s Studies (NEW 260). She also taught courses on the topics of Scientific Perspectives on Sex and Gender, Women in Western Political Thought, Women and Health, Philosophy of Feminism, Philosophy of Human Sexuality, Gender and Disability.

From 1989-1993, she chaired the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) Gender Issues Committee which was tasked to advance gender equity at SGS and raise retention rates for women. The committee undertook a large empirical research project, surveying all female graduate students at the U of T (approximately 4000) and 1000 male graduate students.

Morgan was active in numerous professional organizations including the Society for Women in Philosophy (SWIP), the Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy (CSWIP), the Philosophy of Education Society (PES), the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA), the Canadian Women’s Studies Association (CWSA), and the International Network on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics (FAB). She was also involved in the establishment of the journal Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy in 1984.

She published numerous papers on her diverse research interests, which included sexuality, gender, cosmetic surgery, reproductive technologies, and romantic love. Some of her most highly regarded and creatively titled papers are: “The Paradox of the Bearded Mother: The Role of Authority in Feminist Pedagogy”, “Women and the Knife: Cosmetic Surgery and the Colonization of Women’s Bodies”, “Of Woman Born? How Old Fashioned! Reproductive Technology and Women's Oppression”, “From Ugly Duckling to TechnoSwan: a Foucauldian Analysis of Biomedicalized Aesthetics”, and “Gender Police”. Published books include The Gender Question in Education: Theory, Pedagogy and Politics (1996), co-authored with Ann Diller, Barbara Houston, and Maryann Ayim (Westview Press/Harper Collins) and The Politics of Women's Health: Exploring Agency and Autonomy (1998), a co-authored, collaborative book with the SSHRC-funded Feminist Health Care Ethics Research Network (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1998).

Morgan retired from University of Toronto in 2013, the same year the first class of doctoral students were admitted to the Women & Gender Studies Institute. She died on 16 September 2022 in Toronto.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records documenting the professional and personal life of Professor Kathryn Pauly Morgan as a feminist philosopher and Professor in the Departments of Philosophy and Women & Gender Studies. Series 1 documents her personal life and graduate education. Series 2, 3, and 4 document her research and writing activities and involvement with professional associations. Series 5, 6, 7, and 8 document her administrative role within the University: her role within the various departments she served, service on university committees including as Chair of the School of Graduate Studies Gender Issues Committee, and her role in the development of Women’s Studies as an academic discipline at the University of Toronto. Finally, Series 9 and 10 document her teaching activities, supervision of graduate students, and her formal assessment of colleagues.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

The majority of the records arrived in boxes categorized into broad themes developed by Morgan and which formed the basis of the record series. However, within each series, records follow an imposed order created by the archivist as no consistent original order could be discerned.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

All files are open, with the exception of the following:

  • Series 5, sub-series 5.1: B2021-0004/021(11), (15)
  • Series 5, sub-series 5.2: B2021-0004/023(05), /024(11)-(12); /025(10), (14), (27)
  • Series 6: B2021-0004/027(03)
  • Series 8: B2021-0004/032(31)
  • Series 9: B2021-0004/042(07), (17); /053(14); /058
  • Series 10: B2021-0004/059 - /061

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

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Finding aids

For additional information on how to use UTARMS’ finding aids, please see our guide.

Uploaded finding aid

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Notes area


A number of files and documents include hand-written commentary and annotations from Morgan, written as she was preparing the material for transfer to the Archives.

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Dates of creation revision deletion

  • Finding aid by E. Sommers, Nov. 2022
  • Added to AtoM by E. Sommers, Feb. 2023




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