Osgoode Society Books
Our books are listed here chronologically by date of publication. Use the Search function to the right to find a particular book, or author.
MEMBERS’ BOOK 2020
Our members’ book for 2020 is Doodem and Council Fire: Anishinabe Governance through Alliance, by Heidi Bohaker, Associate Professor of History, University of Toronto and published by the University of Toronto Press. While Canada’s constitution protects Indigenous treaty rights, Canadians know much less about the legal traditions of Indigenous nations and the ways in which these different traditions informed treaties made between Indigenous peoples and the Crown. This volume is a ground-breaking exploration of one Indigenous legal tradition. In it, the author explains how a uniquely Anishinaabe category of kinship, the doodem, structured governance and law as practiced in formal councils (referred to metaphorically as fires) through the practice of alliance formation. Such alliances created relationships of interdependence, which were renewed through the exchange of gifts in council. The records of early Canadian treaties, Bohaker argues, are to be found in the records of gifts exchanged to create these alliances between council fires; the Anishinaabe treated the French, and later the British, as if their governments were council fires also. In return, colonial officials adhered to Indigenous law when they entered into treaties. Bohaker weaves together a voluminous amount of research from both Anishinaabe and European sources, including archival documents and material culture from institutions in Canada, Britain and France, to describe the continuities and changes in Anishinaabe governance and law until settler colonial law (the Indian Act) replaced traditional governance with elected band councils.
OPTIONAL EXTRA 2020
In 2020 we are also publishing The Death Penalty and Sex Murder in Canadian History, by Professor Carolyn Strange of the Australian National University in Canberra. This major study of the operation of the death penalty focusses on the disposition by executive review of all cases between Confederation and the abolition of the death penalty in which the offender not only committed murder but did so at the same time as he (or she) also committed a serious sexual offence. Professor Strange is able to show that such offenders fared much less well in the commutation process than other people convicted of murder and sentenced to death. As importantly, she divides the overall narrative into six periods, showing that within each period political, administrative and public consideration of the cases were conducted against a background of other concerns, ranging from the ‘danger’ of immigrants to the rise of psychiatric concern with such offenders to the abolition movement of the 1960s.
Civil Liberties (incl. Sedition and Treason)
Security, Dissent and the Limits of Toleration in War and Peace: Canadian State Trials Volume IV, 1914-1939
Edited by Barry Wright, Department of Law, Carleton University, Eric Tucker, Osgoode Hall Law School, and Susan Binnie, Independent Historian, published by the University of Toronto Press. This latest collection in our State Trials series, the fourth, looks at the legal issues raised by the repression of dissent from the outset of World War One… Read more »
by John Mclaren, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Victoria. Published with University of Toronto Press, 2011. Canada was but one part of a large and complex empire, and this book is a reminder of that fact and a fascinating exploration of one important aspect of the legal history of the empire – the role of… Read more »
by James St. G. Walker, Professor of History and Associate Chair of Graduate Studies at the University of Waterloo. Published with Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1997. Professor James Walker is a distinguished historian who has made a substantial contribution to understanding the role of minority groups, especially aboriginal populations and those of African ancestry, in the… Read more »
Patrick Brode, Legal Counsel, City of Windsor. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1989. Just before the outbreak of the American Civil War, a sensational case was heard in Toronto which captured headlines throughout North America and Europe. John Anderson, a fugitive slave who had been living quietly near Brantford, Ontario, was accused of having… Read more »