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Browse Exhibits (50 total)

The State in the Bedroom - The Evolution of Reproductive Rights in Canada



This exhibit traces the legislative history of reproductive rights in Canada from 1892 to the end of the 20th century. The story of changing laws and mores relating to contraception, abortion, sexual and reproductive health education, and involuntary sterilization is told from a uniquely Canadian perspective using government reports, transcripts of parliamentary debates, hearings, bills and statutes, zines, posters and pamphlets, and documentary film, all from the University of Toronto Libraries’ collections. Although intended to showcase government information from the Government Publications collection in Robarts Library, other libraries generously loaned materials also featured in the exhibition, including:

  • Robarts Library stacks
  • Women’s Education Resource Collection (WERC), OISE Library
  • Media Commons, Robarts Library, 3rd floor
  • Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
  • Bora Laskin Law Library
  • University of Toronto at Scarborough Library
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The University of Toronto: Snapshots of its History



This exhibition, “The University of Toronto: Snapshots of its history”, was mounted in the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in 2002 as a part of the University’s 175th anniversary celebrations. It complemented the launch in March, 2002, of Martin Friedland’s The University of Toronto: a history, the first such history to appear in seventy-five years. The exhibition provided a look at certain broad themes at the University over the course of its history, especially some involving students that were not discussed by Professor Friedland. These themes were represented in the eight display cases on the 2nd floor of Fisher, with overflow material displayed in the Maclean Hunter Room. The material used was drawn largely from the holdings of the University Archives, along with some items from the Fisher Library and Trinity College Archives.


This exhibition and its accompanying catalogue are part of the year-long celebrations of the one hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary of the University of Toronto. Professor Martin L. Friedland's acclaimed The University of Toronto: A History was launched in March and it seems most appropriate, as 2002 draws to a close, that an exhibition curated by Harold Averill, who was intimately involved in the history project, should round out the year. Harold has provided evocative "snapshots" of the whole history of the University of Toronto: its buildings, its faculty, staff and students, and the vital role it has played in the evolution of society in Toronto and the rest of the country. We catch glimpses of the political conflict, scientific progress, sports, and the arts and all the other aspects of varsity life that have contributed to our vibrant culture. We wish to acknowledge another instance of generosity of our old friend, Wentworth Walker, and the continued support of the Friends of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. Velut Arbor Aevo.

Richard Landon, Director


It is a great pleasure to write a preface to this volume by Harold Averill. Harold's store of knowledge about the history of the University of Toronto is unique, as the display and this text amply demonstrate. He knows the sources and, moreover, can find them. In writing the history of the University over a five year period, my research assistants and I learned first hand about Harold's expertise. In the prologue to The University of Toronto: A History I state: "I am particularly indebted to archivist Harold Averill, the great font of historical knowledge about the University, who helped me and my research assistants find material and photographs." Anyone who has worked in the U of T Archives would say the same. Now other persons who view the exhibit or read this volume can see for themselves why I called him the 'great font of historical knowledge about the University.' He has captured succinctly in his text 175 years of history and has found pictures, documents and artefacts - most of which have not been shown before - to illuminate that history.

Martin Friedland

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Tipping Point for Advanced Capitalism


Tipping Point for Advanced Capitalism: Class, Class Consciousness and Activism in the "Knowledge Economy", is being published by Fernwood Publishing. TPAC is a pathbreaking study of the changing class makeup of the Canadian, other G7 and Nordic labour forces since the 1980s, documenting especially the rise of non-managerial professional employees. The book provides unprecedented tracking of the links between employment classes and higher levels of class consciousness, including the often hidden political consciousness of corporate capitalists as well as the extent of oppositional and revolutionary consciousness among non-managerial workers. The large differences exposed between class conscious capitalists and these non-managerial workers on issues of poverty reduction and global warming reveal the strategic roles these key class agents play in actions to defend or transform advanced capitalism. The most concerted evidence-based study to bring class back into grasping the intimately linked ecological, economic and political crises we now face. The TPAC book is now available for pre-order ( The cost is $34, with discount of 15% using code TPAC15 until the book is published on Sept 9/23.

The data used in Tipping Point for Advanced Capitalism is available for download at the University of Toronto Dataverse:

Visit D.W. Livingstone's Research Profile for more information. 

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US Investigation of Canadians During the Second Red Scare, 1953-1957


The early days of the Cold War were characterized by heightened paranoia regarding espionage and subversion. In the United States, this took the form of “McCarthyism”—named after Senator Joe McCarthy—which was an interminable frenzy of investigations into the lives of American citizens and government officials, the purpose of which was to expose and eliminate Communist influence in US politics. Although the USSR certainly did conduct espionage in the United States (and vice versa), McCarthyism has largely been condemned as a series of baseless witch hunts. Lester B. Pearson shared this view,  describing the Second Red Scare as “the black madness of the witch hunt.”

Canada was drawn into the Second Red Scare during the 1940s and 1950s due to close diplomatic ties with the United States and a special relationship between the RCMP and the FBI. There are a few well-known examples of subversion in Canada, including the Gouzenko Affair which involved Igor Gouzenko, a Soviet cipher clerk stationed in Ottawa who defected in 1945. Gouzenko’s testimony revealed that a spy ring had been operating in Canada and implicated numerous Canadian Government officials who were then investigated by the RCMP and the newly-established Security Panel. The Gouzenko Affair showed that Canada was committed to helping identify and remove Soviet agents in North America. What Canada was not interested in, however, was being left out of the loop by the Americans.

On multiple occasions during the 1950s the Canadian government concluded that they were being shortchanged by the United States when it came to American investigations of Canadian citizens. The Prime Minister would often find out from the morning newspaper, for example, that a US congressional committee had implicated a Canadian citizen in subversive activities. Canadian government efforts to internally investigate subversive activities were likewise often hamstrung by vague and noncommittal American responses to requests for information regarding Canadian citizens.

Herbert Norman was a Canadian diplomat accused of being a communist, and although the RCMP investigation concluded that Norman did not have ties to the Soviet Union and did not engage in espionage activities, the US Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security would not let the matter go and continuously made allegations against Norman. Norman died by suicide on 4 April 1957 and many Canadians blamed the allegations for his death. The perceived mishandling of the Norman case prompted the Canadian government to send a letter to the US State Department stating that the procedure for investigations needed to change. The Canadian government requested that the United States provide any information gathered regarding Canadian citizens. For the next four months, the Americans stalled and the Canadians made requests for assurances. When the Americans finally offered an official response, they included very few of the assurances that the Canadians sought. The Canadians accepted the response.

The collected documents provide an overview of Canada’s displeasure with the US treatment of information regarding Canadians during their investigations into subversive activities. What steps did Canada take to address what they saw to be an unequal relationship? How did US investigations into alleged subervsion impact Canada-US relations as a whole?


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War and Revolution in Ukraine, 1914-1923


War and Revolution in Ukraine includes approximately three-hundred titles published between 1914 and 1922-1923, roughly from the start of the First World War to the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the incorporation of eastern Galicia into Poland.

This collection of digitized books, journals, and pamphlets includes material issued by the Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires, the Soiuz Vyzvolenia Ukrainy (Union for the Liberation of Ukraine), the Ukrainian cooperative movement, and Ukrainian communities abroad in Austria and Czechoslovakia.

The material draws largely from the Andry Zhuk collection of Ukrainian socialist and revolutionary pamphlets held in the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, with additional publications selected from the John Luczkiw Ukrainian Canadian Collecction and the gneral holdings of John P. Robarts Research Library.

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Women Writers of Decolonial & De-imperial Worldmaking

Why we provide this syllabus and how it can be used

This syllabus-making project came to exist by seeking to reconstruct a pedagogic list of tangential literature by women writers who contributed to decolonial worldmaking yet whose works in the collective memory of decolonial history have been submerged. In order to contextualize the chosen women writers’ lived history and their work, we provide secondary texts as well.

The syllabus was created by collaborative investigations of the contribution of women writers to developing anti-imperial internationalisms and decolonial nationalisms approximately in the turn of the century to mid-twentieth century (although each regional temporality in relation to colonialism and imperialism varies). It identifies twelve weeks of literature created by women writers, including novels, short stories, poetry, or speeches, as part and parcel of their participation in shaping of worldmaking against poverty, hunger, and uprootedness, caused by various combinations of feudalism, imperialism, colonialism, patriarchy, comprador class, global capital, racism, militarism/wars, dogmatic religion, and bourgeoise ethics. 

We would like to also remind that this syllabus cannot be comprehensive in terms of all regions and nations not only because of limited weeks but also because of challenge in finding submerged writers and texts. We tentatively have chosen regions/nations that collaboration team members are relatively familiar with. In that vein, we did not include decolonial indigenous women writers’ works because the collaboration team is not comfortable to claim our familiarity with the domain without a member of indigenous studies scholar. Also, itself deserves a full syllabus because of vast regional coverage. Challenge of identifying relevant writer and text was the case even in the regions and local languages that we are relatively familiar with. We have had significant limitations of discovering texts as many of them are not readily available in the local languages for multiple reasons including suppression of communist/socialist writers and their works to the current moments. When literary texts are revitalized in local languages, they are hardly translated into English. Translation of world literature in the decolonial/deimperial worldmaking rubric for accessibility to different lingua has been challenging from Baku conference, AAWC conferences, and Lotus magazines where Russian, Spanish, and Arab have been tried out in addition to English. Although we selected decolonial women writers’ texts that are available in English temporarily, the choice of texts for dealt regions/nations can be changeable when more texts are available in English. Or, alternatively, this kind of syllabus can be made with literature available in local languages.

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