The Struggle for Identity:

From Scarborough College to the
University of Toronto Scarborough,
1964 - Present

How do we record and interpret institutional history? Our project aims to answer this question by documenting the social and cultural history of the University of Toronto Scarborough, from the campus’ opening in 1964 to the present day. 

We place particular emphasis on the lived experiences of the members of our campus community, including faculty, students, alumni, and staff at all levels, as these experiences form the life story of our campus and allow us to understand our vibrant community in a new light — 
as it was, as it is, and as it can be.

Our work focuses on three primary themes:

Explore our Collections

On this site, we invite you to engage with a curated selection of the research we have conducted over the years, which takes multiple forms: academic blogs, audiograms and video shorts, oral history interviews, a guided walking tour, and an open-access research catalogue. 

Our blog posts, written and peer-reviewed by different members of our research team, primarily feature stories pulled from and inspired by various materials discovered during our work in the archives. These materials include student and faculty publications, institutional documents, newspapers, personal records, and special collections, among others. 

Such materials can seem inaccessible due to the remote nature of the archive. Thus, through these blog posts, we hope to both offer an easy way to engage with archival materials and illuminate moments in these materials that, while past, remain relevant in the present. 

Audiograms and video shorts are intended to provide listeners with a quick glimpse into our oral history collections. These soundbites feature special snippets from the interviews of various UTSC community members, laid over rich images both pulled from the UTSC archives and generously provided by the interviewees themselves. Many of the stories told in these snippets resonate with the larger themes that guide our project, including, perhaps most prominently, the struggle for identity that seems to permeate the UTSC experience at large. 

Audiograms are approximately 1-2 minutes in length, while video shorts range from 3-4 minutes long. 

Often the story of an institution is told in an ostensibly objective manner, focusing on the achievement of organizational goals. However, we believe that subjective experiences are equally important to institutional history, and so the collection and preservation of individual stories forms the heart of our project. These stories are captured in the form of oral interviews conducted with members of the UTSC community, including students, staff, faculty, alumni, and locals. 

Over the years, we have collected over 100 hours of oral history interviews, which are digitally archived, with transcripts, on the Scarborough Oral History Project (SOHP) website. Here, we invite you to explore a selection of these interviews, many of which are also featured in other site content. 

What makes a place? Inspired by the stories of UTSC community members, the Spaces & Places guided walking tour asks us to reconsider what our favourite spaces on and around the UTSC campus truly represent.  

The tour can be accessed in various ways. Visitors are welcome to find the tour signs located around campus and scan the QR code therein to gain access to a curated selection of stories told by members of the UTSC community that happened in that very spot; alternatively, you can explore the tour from the comfort of your own home on this site.

Alongside the materials on this site, our work has culminated in the development of an open-access exhibit catalogue, titled The Struggle for Identity: An Institutional Memoir, featuring exclusive essays and archival photos on and about the history of UTSC. This memoir examines what we feel are some of the most significant themes in this history and is divided into sections accordingly, all of which can be viewed on and downloaded from this site. 

Interested in adding your story to the collection?