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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wentzell session of Legal History Workshop to be held this evening

The session of the Osgoode Society Legal History Workshop, cancelled last week due to ghastly weather, will be held this evening, Wednesday March 19th, at 6:30 pm, Birge-Carnegie Library, Victoria University at the U of T, Room 20. (Paper by Tyler Wentzell on the Foreign Enlistment Act and the Spanish Civil War.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wentzell session tonight postponed

Due to the current blizzardy conditions in Toronto, the session of the Osgoode Society Legal History Workshop at U of T scheduled for this evening (Tyler Wentzell on the Foreign Enlistment Act and the Spanish Civil War) has been postponed. Probably until same time next week--watch this space or your inbox if you are on the list.

Korneski on lobsters, legislation and lobbying in Newfoundland, 1890-1904

In this month's International History Review, Kurt Korneski of the Memorial University of Newfoundland Department of History, "Development and Diplomacy: The Lobster Controversy on Newfoundland's French Shore, 1890–1904."


The matter of French claims in Newfoundland probably caused more acrimony and outcry among the professionals and businessmen who dominated the Newfoundland legislature in the later nineteenth century than any other single issue. Most historians of the ‘French Shore problem’ have followed Fred Thompson's lead in analysing the history of the French shore by focusing on high-ranking diplomats and the colonial elite. They have also tended to view the conflict as involving primarily three groups: the French and British diplomatic corps and the Newfoundland mercantile and political elite. Using a well-known late nineteenth-century dispute over the lobster fishery as a case study, this paper reconsiders the history of the French Shore by drawing on reports about conditions on the Treaty Shore and on methodological and theoretical insights that have emerged since Thompson published his pioneering work in 1961. It argues that a wider array of groups exerted significant influence in how the controversy over lobster on Newfoundland's west coast in the late nineteenth century played out. Viewing the controversy from the perspective of these groups reveals the extent to which those outside of formal policy circles influenced the shape and viability of official agreements

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Morris L. Cohen graduate student essay competition deadline extended

The American Association of Law Libraries, in cooperation with Gale, part of Cengage Learning, announces the sixth annual Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition.

The competition is named in honor of Morris L. Cohen, late Professor Emeritus of Law at Yale Law School. Professor Cohen was a leading scholar in the fields of legal research, rare law books, and historical bibliography.

The purpose of the competition is to encourage scholarship in the areas of legal history, rare law books, and legal archives, and to acquaint students with the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and law librarianship.

Eligibility Requirements : Students currently enrolled in accredited graduate programs in library science, law,
history, or related fields are eligible to enter the competition. Both full- and part-time students are eligible. Membership in AALL is not required.  [note: also not restricted to American students]

Essays may be on any topic related to legal history, rare law books, or legal archives. The entry form & instructions are available at the LH&RB website:

Entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m., March 17, 2014. [extended to April 15, 2014]

Awards: The winner will receive a $500.00 prize from Cengage Learning and up to $1,000 for expenses associated with attendance at the AALL Annual Meeting.

The runner-up will have the opportunity to publish the second place essay in LH&RB’s online scholarly journal Unbound: An Annual Review of Legal History and Rare Books.

Please direct questions to Marguerite Most at

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fernandez, Jotwell review of Braverman's Zooland (with additional Canadian Content!)

Those who subscribe to Jotwell: the Journal of Things We Like (Lots) and /or the Legal History Blog will have seen this review by U of T legal historian Angela Fernandez of  Zooland: The Institution of Captivity by Irus Braverman.

Like everything by Angela, the review, "Forget about Noah's Ark" is well worth the read  Not particularly Canada-focused as it stands (or I would have posted about it earlier), but Angela says the book actually does have significant Canadian content:

The Toronto Zoo receives special treatment in the book. One of a handful of zoos accredited by the AZA outside of the United States, Braverman includes the visitor map and notes that it was the first to introduce large-scale “zoogeography” design, a geographical zone design that is now commonly used to divide the zoo into continents such as Africa and Eurasia rather than using something like a grouping of all bears together (polar bear and grizzly) or all the birds (see pp. 30-32).

New from WLU press: Martel, Canada the Good: A Short History of Vice since 1500

A new release from Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Canada the Good: A Short History of Vice since 1500 by Marcel Martel .

Those interested in the history of norms and moral regulation, both legal and legal-pluralist, will want to take a look at this new work by Marcel Martel, the Avie Bennett Historica Chair in Canadian History at York University.

Here's what the publisher has to say:

Canada the Good considers more than five hundred years of debates and regulation that have conditioned Canadians’ attitudes towards certain vices. Early European settlers implemented a Christian moral order that regulated sexual behaviour, gambling, and drinking. Later, some transgressions were diagnosed as health issues that required treatment. Those who refused the label of illness argued that behaviours formerly deemed as vices were within the range of normal human behaviour.
This historical synthesis demonstrates how moral regulation has changed over time, how it has shaped Canadians’ lives, why some debates have almost disappeared and others persist, and why some individuals and groups have felt empowered to tackle collective social issues. Against the background of the evolution of the state, the enlargement of the body politic, and mounting forays into court activism, the author illustrates the complexity over time of various forms of social regulation and the control of vice.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Girard to give plenary address to ASLH at 2014 annual meeting

Congratulations to Osgoode Society associate editor and Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Philip Girard, who advises that he has accepted the offer of the American Society for Legal History to give the plenary address to the November 6-9, 2014 annual meeting in Denver Colorado.

This is a huge honour, and wonderful recognition of Philip as one of the most distinguished legal historians in North America.

The ASLH has a great track record of including Canadians on panels: the deadline for submitting papers has passed, but let's hope many presenters (as well as non-presenters!) will be on hand to hear Philip's address, and to enjoy the conference, which is always a terrific experience.

Here's the general info on the meeting.. Registration is now open.  Early bird registration for members is US$200.00, US$75.00 for students.

Membership in the association is available online. Note that membership dues are graded according to income, and it's an especially good deal for students, who pay only US$15.00. Membership entitles you to a year's subscription to the leading legal history journal, Law and History Review, access to past issues, and a discount on books in the Studies in Legal History series and annual meeting registration.