This project began with a series of conversations 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 COVID-19 made many of us think about community with a new urgency as social distancing reminded us of the importance of social ties. With the support of the Department of Historical Studies, the Centre for South Asian Civilizations, and the UTM Priorities Fund, this project began as a way to collect, document, study, and preserve oral histories of South Asians in Peel. This is a student-researched project that we hope will continue to link the University of Missisauga with its community and teach students the method  and importance of oral history.

We draw inspiration from many oral history projects that go against the grain of traditional storytelling and aim to centre diverse and marginalized stories, often hidden in oral history archives:

PROFESSOR

Luther Obrock is Assistant Professor in South Asian Religions. His research focuses on the religious, political, and intellectual history of Sanskrit literature in second-millennium South Asia. His current research focuses on Indic conceptions of kingship, politics, and religion in the centuries surrounding the stabilization of Islamic rule in the Subcontinent. He is particularly interested in the religious and social history of premodern Kashmir.  Luther Obrock is also interested in manuscript and epigraphical evidence for Sanskrit in India. His research is undergirded with close collaborations with scholars throughout India and the rest of the world.

DIGITAL HUMANITIES RESEARCH COORDINATOR

Kanishka Sikri (kanishkasikri.com) is a feminist writer, consultant, and theorist unravelling the multiple faces and forms of raced-sexed-gendered violence. Committed to crafting new creative lineages from post-de-colonial thought and transnational intersectionality, she yearns to make sense of the messiness of violence as the mother tongue of our dominator culture so as to cultivate worlds without its mutilating bounds. Kanishka is formally trained as an international development specialist from the Centre for Critical Development Studies at the University of Toronto, and is a South Asian immigrant settler from Dubai, in Tkaronto.

Teaching Assistant 

Aaisha Salman is a Masters Student at the Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto.

Work Study Students

Sana Rizvi is an undergraduate student of the University of Toronto who studied International Relations, History and Women and Gender Studies. She is now going on to do a MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies at the University of Oxford and hopes to implement oral storytelling in all her academic work going forward.

Sameer Devalla is student of Political Science and Religion at the University of Toronto. 

This project is made possible with the support of the University of Toronto Mississauga, the Centre for South Asian Civilizations, and the University of Toronto Libraries & Archives. This research was vetted and received approval from the Research Ethics Review Board at the University of Toronto Mississauga. We are grateful for the support of all of the narrators who have graciously provided the time and energy to speak with us and impart their stories and knowledges for generations to come.