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.

 

All Books

  • Viscount Haldane: "The Wicked Stepfather of the Canadian Constitution"

    by Frederick Vaughan, Professor Emeritus, University of Guelph. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2010. Lord Haldane is well-known to historians of Canadian constitutional law as one of the Privy Council judges most responsible for re-shaping the division of powers in the direction of greater provincial power after World War One. This deeply-researched biography Fred… Read more »

    Continue reading
  • Work on Trial: Canadian Labour Law Struggles

    edited by Judy Fudge, Lansdowne Professor of Law, University of Victoria, and Eric Tucker, Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School. Published with Irwin Law, 2010. The world of work, so important to individuals’ economic well-being and to their sense of self, has been fundamentally shaped by law, both collective bargaining law and individual employment law…. Read more »

    Continue reading
  • The Death Penalty and Sex Murder in Canadian History

    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… Read more »

    Continue reading
  • The British Columbia Court of Appeal: The first hundred years

    by Christopher Moore, Independent Historian. Published with the University of British Columbia Press, 2010. The Court of Appeal of British Columbia began sitting in 1910, and this volume thus coincides with the court’s centenary. Renowned historian Christopher Moore has produced a masterful account of the court, one that combines narrative, biographical and analytical histories of a… Read more »

    Continue reading
  • Race on Trial: Black Defendants in Ontario’s Criminal Courts, 1858-1961

    by Barrington Walker, Professor of History, Queen’s University. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2010. In recent years legal historians have been increasingly interested in the social history of the law and in the law’s impact on, among many other social phenomena, race relations. This ground-breaking study investigates the relationship between Ontario’s black community and… Read more »

    Continue reading
  • A Trying Question: The Jury in Nineteenth Century Canada

    by R. Blake Brown, Professor of History, St Mary’s University. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2009. The jury has long been a central institution of both the trial process in particular and of the ideology of the common law in general, a body exemplifying the distinctiveness of our legal tradition. In this first book-length… Read more »

    Continue reading
  • Canadian Maverick: The Life of Ivan C. Rand

    by William Kaplan. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2009. Ivan Rand had a long, varied and remarkable career. He is best known for his Supreme Court of Canada judgments in a series of cases emanating from Quebec in the 1950s and dealing with civil rights, cases which established limits on the government’s ability to… Read more »

    Continue reading
  • 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 »

    Continue reading
  • The Last Day, the Last Hour: The Currie Libel Trial

    by Robert J. Sharpe, Justice of the Ontario Court of Appeal. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2009 (first edition published by Carswells, 1988). The Osgoode Society first published Robert Sharpe’s study of the libel action launched by Sir Arthur Currie in 1988, sixty years after the case itself had captured the attention of the… Read more »

    Continue reading
  • 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 »

    Continue reading