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.

 

Women

  • Misconceptions: Unmarried Motherhood and the Ontario Children of Unmarried Parents Act, 1921-1969

    by Lori Chambers, Professor, Department of History and Women’s Studies, Lakehead University. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2007. This book is a study of the operation of the Children of Unmarried Parents Act, in the courts and, principally, through the agency responsible for administering the Act, the Childrens’ Aid Society. It explores the experiences… Read more »

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  • The Persons Case: The Origins and Legacy of the Fight for Legal Personhood

    by Mr. Justice Robert Sharpe of the Court of Appeal for Ontario and Patricia McMahon, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2007. The Persons’ Case is one of the best known Canadian constitutional cases, both for the fact that it declared women to be ‘persons’ for the purposes of eligibility… Read more »

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  • Courted And Abandoned: Seduction In Canadian Law

    by Patrick Brode, Legal Counsel, City of Windsor. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2002. A pregnancy outside of marriage was a traumatic event in frontier Canada, one that had profound legal implications, not only for the mother, but also for the woman’s family, the alleged father, and for the entire community. Patrick Brode examines… Read more »

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  • Uncertain Justice: Canadian Women and Capital Punishment 1754-1953

    by F. Murray Greenwood, Emeritus Professor of History, University of British Columbia and Beverley Boissery, Independant Scholar. Published with Dundurn Press, 2000. In recent years, scholars in all disciplines, feminists and traditionalists, have increasingly recognized how significant issues of gender are in understanding most aspects of the human condition. Indeed gender as a category of analysis… Read more »

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  • Married Women and Property Law in Victorian Ontario

    by Lori Chambers, Professor, Department of History and Women’s Studies, Lakehead University. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1997. Married Women and Property Law in Victorian Ontario, by Professor Lori Chambers, Lakehead University, is a fascinating account of gender relationships in nineteenth-century Ontario as revealed through a series of laws which reflected Victorian attitudes to… Read more »

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  • The Politics of Codification: The Lower Canadian Civil Code of 1866

    by Brian Young, Professor Emeritus, Department of History and Classical Studies, McGill University. Published with McGill Queen’s University Press, 1994. Brian Young interprets codification as part of a larger process that included the collapse of the Lower Canadian rebellions, the decline of seigneurialism, the expansion of bourgeois democracy in central Canada, professionalization of the bar, and… Read more »

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  • Petticoats and Prejudice: Women and Law in Nineteenth-Century Canada

    by Constance Backhouse, Professor of Law, University of Ottawa. Published with Womens Press, 1991. This is the first comprehensive work in the field of Canadian women’s legal history. Author Constance Backhouse, an internationally-recognized authority on Canadian women’s legal history, has compiled here the most important of her decade’s worth of research. This highly-readable book highlights the… Read more »

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  • Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Volume III: Nova Scotia

    edited by Jim Phillips, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, and Philip Girard, Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1990. An introduction by the editors is followed by ten essays grouped into four main areas of study. The first is the legal system as a whole: essays in this section discuss… Read more »

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