Rayside, David

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Rayside, David

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David Rayside (1947 - ) is a Political Science professor and former Vice-Principal of University College, University of Toronto. Professor Rayside is best known for his contributions to scholarship on race, ethnicity, gender, class and sexuality.

A native of Montreal, Prof. Rayside obtained his B.A. Honours in Political Science from Carleton University in 1969. He pursued graduate studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, receiving his A.M. in 1971 and his Ph.D. in 1976. While completing his doctorate, Prof. Rayside was appointed Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto in 1974. He then became Associate Professor in 1979 and full Professor in 1993. In this capacity, Prof. Rayside has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on Canadian politics, Western European politics, gender politics, as well as politics and religion. He was instrumental in developing a course on sexual diversity . In 1980, he spent a year at Harvard University as a Research Associate at the Centre for European Studies. He held positions on many thesis committees both internal and external to the University of Toronto.

Throughout his career, Prof. Rayside has held numerous administrative positions at the University of Toronto. These include Chair of the European Studies Committee, Centre for International Studies 1976-79 and 1980-81 as well as Coordinator of the Canadian Studies Program 1982-86. Between 1993 and 1997, he was the Vice-Principal of University College. In this position, he was responsible for various University College programmes such as Canadian Studies, Drama and Peace and Conflict Studies. During his tenure, he was instrumental in coordinating the Sexual Studies Caucus set up in 1993 to address curricular focus on gay and lesbian issues. Since 1998 he has been been active in various capacities on the Advisory Committee for the Sexual Diversity Studies Program. More recently he has been Graduate Director and Associate Chair of the Department of Political Science and Director of the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies.

In addition to the above noted academic appointments, Prof. Rayside has served on various committees especially for the Department of Political Science and University College. Many of his roles have been as an advocate for sexual diversity and equity rights. Below is a list of only a few committees in which he took a leadership role: Ad Hoc Committee on the Status of Women (1985-87); Sexual Harassment Hearing Panel (1988-92); Men’s Forum (1989-94); Committee on Homophobia (1989-94); Teach In-Committee (1990), Ad Hoc Committee on Campus Violence (1991); Co-chair of the Positive Space Campaign (1995-2000). In addition, he was a key organizer to both the Bent on Change Conference (2000) and the Sexual Diversities Studies Conference (2003).

Prof. Rayside has also been involved in off-campus social activism at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. He was a collective member and defender of the gay magazine, The Body Politic. He also served on The Right to Privacy Committee, the Citizens Independent Review of Police Activities, and the Bill 7 Coalition. Further, 1991-1994, Prof. Rayside was party to Rayside v. Disero, a legal challenge to the election of Toronto City Councillor, Betty Disero, on the grounds that she violated election spending limits.

Prof. Rayside has published countless papers, articles and reports on topics ranging from federalism and party politics early in his career to race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality in the latter part of his career. Most notably, he is the author of four books:

  • Alexandria,: A Small Town in Modern Times (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1991)
  • On the Fringe: Gays and Lesbians in Politics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998)
  • Queer Inclusions, Continental Divisions: Public Recognition of Sexual Diversity in Canada and the United States (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, March 2008)
  • Equity, Diversity and Canadian Labour, edited by Gerald Hunt and David Rayside (University of Toronto Press, 2007).

Rayside is unique among academics in the use of oral history to support and research his topics. A great extent of his research are interviews, many of which are preserved in this fonds.

Prof. Rayside has won many awards throughout his career. His most recent award in 2009, the Terry Buckland Award for Diversity and Equity in Education from the University of Toronto, recognized his contribution to the study of diversity and equity issues. His research has been supported by substantive grants from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, the Wellesley Health Foundation and the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Prof. Rayside continues to teach in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto.


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