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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bradbury book on wives, widows and the law wins Clio-Quebec prize

Another legal history was a prize winner at the CHA annual meeting. Bettina Bradbury's Wife to Widow:  Lives, Laws, and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Montreal, published by UBC press, won the Clio prize for best Quebec history. Wife to Widow was also short-listed for the John A. Macdonald prize for best book on Canadian history.

Girard book on Beamish Murdoch wins Clio-Atlantic prize

Lawyers and Legal Culture in British North America: Beamish Murdoch of HalifaxThe announcement was made at the CHA annual meeting in Waterloo that Lawyers and Legal Culture in British North America: Beamish Murdoch of Halifax by Philip Girard,  one of the Osgoode Society's 2011 publications has won the Clio prize for Atlantic Canada from the Canadian Historical Association. Details will be available soon on the CHA website. Congratulations to Philip, whose winning streak continues, and to the Osgoode Society, for adding another to an impressive list of award winners.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Philip Girard to move to Osgoode

From the Dean's announcement:

The Faculty Appointments Committee has approved that an offer of appointment to the Osgoode full-time faculty be made to Professor Philip Girard. Professor Girard first taught at the University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law before moving to Dalhousie in 1984 (now the Schulich School of Law). He has served as Acting Dean of the Faculty (1991-1993), as Associate Dean Graduate Studies & Research (Law) (2002-2006), and as President of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers (2003-04). Prior to teaching law, Professor Girard served as a law clerk to Mr. Justice W.Z. Estey of the Supreme Court of Canada. He has also been twice appointed the James Lewtas Visiting Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School (1993-1994; 2011-2012). His teaching and research subjects include: Property in its Historical Context; Equity and Trusts; Canadian Legal History; and Pension Law. He is the recipient of many teaching and research awards and distinctions.
Speaking for myself, and I'm sure for all of us in the Toronto area legal history community, this is very welcome news (although many of us have known about it for quite a while.) Philip is returning to Halifax for the 2012-3 year to sell his house (and fulfil teaching commitments et al.) but will be here permanently in September 2013.

Brown on gun law history in CHR

Blake Brown, whose forthcoming book on gun control (and lack thereof) will be the Osgoode Society's members' book this year, has an article on the subject in the Canadian Historical Review.

'Every boy ought to learn to shoot and to obey orders': Guns, Boys, and the Law in English Canada from the late Nineteenth Century to the Great War' appears in the June 2012 issue.

Here's the abstract:
Firearms became a key part of boy and male youth culture in English Canada before the Great War. By the 1890s, imperialist sentiments had infused the growing interest in hunting, advocates of which celebrated the value of rifle shooting by suggesting that it made boys into ideal British men. As well, emerging worries about the feminization of urban youth led to calls for military drill and rifle training. At the same time, businesses heavily marketed cheap, mass-produced arms to young people by asserting that firearms could inculcate manly virtues. Businesses also attempted to redefine some weapons as acceptable consumer items. The use of weapons by young people led to a number of apprehended social ills, including accidental shootings, environmental destruction, and militarizing a generation of young people. However, legislative efforts to limit access to firearms were modest. In 1892 and 1913, the Canadian government placed limitations on to whom certain weapons could be sold, but the widespread assumption that certain kinds of arms were acceptable for most boys and youth meant that these measures frequently went unenforced.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Free UTP article on Louis Riel's legal status available online

The U of T Press journals division has the happy practice of providing pdfs of older articles from one of the UTPs many journals that can be accessed online without a subscription. Free samples, I guess. Those of us with university library privileges don't need the extra free access, but it's great to get notice of articles that may have escaped attention the first time around.

This week one of the highlighted items is of interest to Canadian legal historians, an article from the Canadian Historical Review volume 88 #2 (June 2007) by Jeremy Ravi Mumford, entitled "Why Was Louis Riel, a United States Citizen, Hanged as a Canadian Traitor in 1885?" This question is one that has intrigued students at all levels of study of one of the great set pieces of the national narrative, and it's great to get some answers, or at least guesses as to the legal and political reasons behind the conundrum.

Here's the abstract:

In what sense was Louis Riel, a foreign citizen who had formally renounced his allegiance to Britain, a traitor to the Queen? And why did his adopted country, the United States, do nothing to protect him? Since the Canadian Naturalization Act of 1881 for the first time permitted emigrants to renounce their British allegiance, Riel's legal status was no different from that of any foreigner, and to charge a foreigner with treason was unusual and controversial. The United States, furthermore, had a history of advocating aggressively for citizens charges with crimes abroad, even when they were clearly guilty, and especially for political militants in Britain and Canada. Yet for a number of independent reasons, including decisions of courtroom strategy and the internal politics of the United States in 1885, Riel's lawyers and his adopted government chose not to raise his citizenship as an issue. The surprising silence about his US citizenship at the end of his life has distorted our historical understanding of Riel as a figure of the nineteenth-century Canadian-American borderland.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

UBC Press is publishing Michael Boudreau's study of crime and society in inter war Halifax:

City of Order:
Crime and Society in Halifax, 1918-35

Here is the description from their website:

Interwar Halifax was a city in flux, a place where citizens struggled to adopt new ideas and technologies as they dealt with rising levels of poverty, unemployment, and outmigration. Although many Haligonians debated the pros and cons of the modern world, most agreed on one thing -- modernity was corrupting public morality and unleashing an imposing array of social problems, including crime, on their fair city.

Michael Boudreau pieces together from case files and archival records a riveting portrait of citizens, policy makers, and officials turning to the criminal justice system to create a bulwark against further social dislocation. Officials modernized the city’s machinery of order -- courts, prisons, and the police force -- and placed greater emphasis on crime control, while residents supported tough-on-crime measures and attached little importance to rehabilitation. These initiatives, in this particular cultural context, gave birth to a constructed vision of a criminal class that provided the police with convenient targets in their effort to build a city of order -- ethnic minorities, working-class men, and female and juvenile offenders.

This absorbing study of crime and culture in interwar Halifax shows how tough-on-crime measures can compound, rather than resolve, social inequalities and dislocations.
Readers of this blog might be interested in knowing that the plenary address at the Canadian Law and Society Association's conference this year (with the Congress at Waterloo) will be delivered by Philip Girard. It is on Sunday May 27 at 5 pm in room 2065 of the Math and Computing building at the University of Waterloo. Philip's title is "The Many Legalities of Northern North America 1500-1749: A Reconnaissance." It promises, as always with Philip, to be a very stimulating talk.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Adams on Private Bills for Professional Accreditation in Ontario

"Sneaking in the Back Door? Social Closure and Private Bills for Entry into Ontario Professions, 1868–1914" by sociologist Tracey L. Adams has been around for a while--it appears in Social History/Histoire Sociale in 2006 (no.78). Many Ontario legal historians know the story of Delos Rogest Davis, once believed to be the first man of colour to be admitted to the practice of law in Ontario (we now know that honour belongs to Robert Sutherland.)

But what is not as well-known is that the practice of using private bills for the purpose of circumventing the (racist, sexist) accreditation process was fairly routine across all the professions. Adams argues that the path to the legislative back door was well-worn, but that this door also opened most easily for white, middle-class males. 

The abstract:

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Ontario legislature received many petitions from individuals who could not meet the requirements for entry to practice established by professional bodies. Petitioners sought legislation that would waive certain requirements and grant them the right to practise regardless. These private bills for entry into Ontario professions might have provided a recourse for members of groups excluded by professional leaders — especially women, men and women of racial and ethnic minorities, the working class, and the lesser educated. An examination of the experiences and backgrounds of petitioners indicates, however, that, while the Ontario legislature eased the ability of the disadvantaged to enter profession in some particular cases, it generally facilitated the entrance of men similar in background to those whom professional bodies sought to recruit.
Thanks to Sonia Lawrence of the Institute of Feminist Legal Studies at Osgoode Hall Law School for the tip (check out her blog and or Twitter feed!)