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South Asian Oral Histories in Peel Project
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The South Asian Oral Histories in Peel Project (saohpeel.ca) investigates the histories of South Asian residents of the Region of Peel in Ontario, Canada to tell the stories of people and migration, food and businesses, arts and entertainment that make Mississauga and Brampton vibrant and multicultural spaces. It began with a series of conversations at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) on how to foster ties between the university, its students, and the South Asian community that thrives in the Peel Region. These conversations became even more pressing as the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-2021 made many think about community with a new urgency as social distancing reminded people of the importance of social ties. With the support of the Department of Historical Studies, Centre for South Asian Civilizations, and the University of Toronto Mississauga Priorities Fund, the project was created in 2020 as a way to collect, document, study, and preserve oral histories of South Asians in Peel.
The South Asian Oral Histories in Peel project is designed as a student-researched project wherein undergraduate and graduate students are linked to the wider Peel Region community through directly participating in and learning about the methods and importance of oral history. In addition to the undergraduate student oral history interviewers, participants in the initial phase of the project in 2020-2021 were work study students Sameer Devalla and Sana Rizvi; teaching assistant Aaisha Salman; digital humanities research coordinator Kanishka Sikri; and professor Luther Obrock.