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.

 

Saskatchewan

  • Property on Trial: Canadian Cases in Context

    edited by Eric Tucker, Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, Bruze Ziff and James Muir, Professors, University of Alberta Law School. Published with Irwin Law, 2012. Despite the huge strides made by Canadian legal history in recent decades, we do not know as much as we should about the law of property, a crucial aspect of… Read more »

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  • Westward Bound: Sex, Violence, the Law, and the Making of a Settler Society

    by Lesley Erickson, Independent Historian and Researcher, Vancouver. Published with  UBC Press, 2011. The history of crime and punishment is one of the principal lenses through which historians of the law investigate the relationship between the law in the books and the ‘law in action,’ and the uses of law to regulate relations among social… Read more »

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  • Canadian State Trials Volume III: Political Trials and Security Measures, 1840-1914

    edited by Barry Wright, Department of Law, Carleton University, and Dr. Susan Binnie. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2009. This third volume of the Osgoode Society’s Canadian State Trials series covers the period from the 1840s to the First World War. It examines a range of political trials as traditionally defined, including those arising… Read more »

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  • Carnal Crimes: Sexual Assault Law in Canada, 1900-1975

    by Constance Backhouse, Professor of Law, University of Ottawa. Published with Irwin Law, 2008. An engaging and powerful book about sexual assault crimes in Canadian history, by Professor Constance Backhouse, whose previous books for the Osgoode Society have won major awards. Using a case-study approach, Professor Backhouse explores nine sexual assault trials from across the country… Read more »

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  • The Law of the Land: The Advent of the Torrens System in Canada

    by Greg Taylor, Professor, Faculty of Law, Monash University, Australia. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2008. The Torrens system of land titles registration was introduced to what is now British Columbia in the mid-nineteenth century, and later spread to the rest of western Canada and to Ontario. In telling the story of the various… Read more »

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  • Brian Dickson: A Judge’s Journey

    by Robert Sharpe, Justice of the Court of Appeal for Ontario and Professor Kent Roach, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2003. After coming of age during the Depression on the Prairies, being severely wounded in World War II, and after a career as a successful and prosperous… 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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  • Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900-1950

    by Constance Backhouse, Professor of Law, University of Ottawa. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1999. Colour-Coded has been translated into French and published in Quebec as De La Couleur des Lois: White supremacy had a tenacious hold on the historical roots of the Canadian legal system. Backhouse presents convincing case studies to illustrate how… Read more »

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  • White Man’s Law: Native People in Nineteenth-Century Canadian Jurisprudence

    by Sidney Harring.  Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1998. In recent years numerous important books have appeared which deal with the history of aboriginal populations in early Canada. Although these studies add enormously to our understanding of the role played by native peoples in the British North American and Canadian communities, there has… Read more »

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  • "Race", Rights and the Law in the Supreme Court of Canada: Historical Case Studies

    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 »

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