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Friday, April 1, 2011

Brad Miller recieves SSHRC post-doc for study of international law in 19th century Canada

Congratulations to Bradley J. Miller, a current PHD student at U of T, who has just been given a SSHRC post doctoral fellowship to study the history of international law in Canada! Brad, a previous McMurtry Scholar and Oliver Prize winner, who is completing his doctoral research on the history of extradition under the supervision of Jim Phillips, will take up his post-doc in the history department at Queen's University with Jeff McNairn as supervisor.


Here's Brad's description of the project, which  is titled "Lapped in Universal Law?": British North America and International Law, 1815-1896:


[F]rom legislative debates, court decisions, and government records it is apparent that international law was a key force in nineteenth century British North America. Everyone from colonial officials writing legislation to religious minorities claiming rights invoked its protections and relied on its ideas. International law took a central role in debates over the colonization of aboriginal lands, in boundary disputes with the United States, and in controversies over national security and the use of military force. Ideas about global legal order were similarly important both to the ideology of free trade and to the lingering power of the British Empire over Canada, as imperial authorities ushered the colonies into systems of law which were enveloping much of the world. In short, British North Americans worked within a legal regime which stretched beyond their colonies and even beyond British sovereignty. They understood law to be a key part not simply of British justice, but of world order.

Using targeted case studies, I want to examine how ideas of international legal order shaped statecraft and legal thought from the end of the War of 1812 until Wilfrid Laurier's retreat from free trade ideology in the 1896 election campaign. Specifically, I will look at the influence of international law on relations with the United States, the ways in which it guided legal and political attitudes towards aboriginal people and religious minorities inside colonial and later Canadian borders, and how it shaped imperialism and international political economy.

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