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.

 

Quebec (incl. Quebec Civil Law)

  • Just Lawyers: Seven Portraits

    by David Ricardo Williams. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1995. In 1924 Mackenzie King, on bended knee, pleaded with lawyer, Eugene Lafleur to accept the chief justiceship of Canada, but Lafleur refused. Another lawyer, Gordon Henderson was offered an appointment to the Ontario Court of Appeal but rejected it. Lafleur, Henderson, Frank Covert, Aimé… Read more »

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  • Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Volume V: Crime and Criminal Justice

    Edited by Jim Phillips, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, Tina Loo, Professor, Department of History, University of British Columbia, and Susan Lewthwaite, independent scholar. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1994. This fifth volume in the Osgoode Society’s distinguished essay series on the history of Canadian law turns to the important issues of crime and… Read more »

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  • A Passion for Justice: The Legacy of James Chalmers McRuer

    by Patrick Boyer. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1994. Patrick Boyer’s portrait of James Chalmers McRuer (1890-1985) reveals the complexities of one of Canada’s outstanding jurists, and shows the character and personal dilemmas of the man who was arguably Canada’s greatest law reformer. McRuer’s career of more than fifty years included periods as a… 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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  • Legacies of Fear: Law and Politics in Quebec in the Era of the French Revolution

    by F. Murray Greenwood, Emeritus Professor of History, University of British Columbia. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 1993. Many people assume that a French-English cleavage has always existed and historians have been uncertain as to just how it unfolded. This book provides the answer. Greenwood recreates a Quebec in which trust between the French… Read more »

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