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.
Corporate and Commercial Law
By James Muir, Professor of Law and History, University of Alberta, published by the University of Toronto Press. This is a path-breaking study of the every day work of civil law and civil courts. It examines the type of litigation pursued (mostly debt), how the courts worked, and how the economy operated in a society… Read more »
edited by Carol Wilton. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1996. This seventh volume in our Essays series, is a pioneering study of an important but neglected Canadian institution. It offers numerous cases studies of Canadian law firms as well as more general analyses. These essays highlight significant periods in the history of a variety… Read more »
Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Volume IV: Beyond the Law: Lawyers and Business in Canada, 1830-1930
edited by Carol Wilton. Published with Butterworths Canada, 1990. Beyond the Law has been called “the first full-length collection offering a serious scholarly treatment of the role of the legal profession in any aspect of Canadian history”. These essays explore new ground in tracing the increasingly complex involvement of lawyers in Canadian business during a… Read more »