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Friday, February 5, 2016

Addition to Osgoode Society Workshop Schedule, Winter 2016

Please note the following update to the winter schedule for the Osgoode Society Legal History Workshop. 

Professor Blaine Baker will be presenting a paper "MUSINGS AND LULLS OF LATE-EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY CHIEF JUSTICE ‘W.O.’:BARGAINING IN CANADIAN BOOK MARGINALIA ABOUT THE RECEPTION OF IMPERIAL  LAW" to the workshop on Wednesday, February 17th, at 6:30 p.m., room 008 Northrop Frye Hall, Victoria University, U of T. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

New from MQUP: Emery, Principles and Gerrymanders Parliamentary Redistribution of Ridings in Ontario, 1840-1954

New release from McGill-Queen's University Press, Principles and Gerrymanders: Parliamentary Redistribution of Ridings in Ontario, 1840-1954, by George Emery.

The publisher's blurb:

A window on partisan corruption by majority parties in the redistribution of ridings in Ontario.

Principles and GerrymandersRedistributing electoral ridings alters their number, revises their boundaries, or does both at the same time. Ostensibly, the purpose of redistribution is to adjust parliamentary representation for population changes - the growth or decline of population, or shifts in its territorial distribution and social composition. Before an arm's-length commission, headed by a judge, took control of electoral redistribution in the 1960s, parliament - effectively, the majority party - controlled redistribution, raising the possibility that the governing party would adjust the ridings for its own advantage, a practice known as gerrymandering.

Providing detailed analyses of parliamentary redistribution in Ontario that preceded the province’s commissioned ridings of the 1960s, George Emery's Principles and Gerrymanders unravels the mechanisms, operational strategies, and exposure to partisanship of parliamentary redistribution and its influence on general election outcomes. Using quantitative research methods, Emery identifies gerrymanders and demonstrates empirically whether or not these worked. He closes with a discussion of the transition to commissioned ridings, what has changed in redistribution, and what continues from the era when parliament redrew ridings.

Contextualized with detailed maps and political cartoons, Principles and Gerrymanders is a pioneering study and a major contribution to the literature on Canadian and Ontario political history.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Call for Papers: Human Rights and Empire - A Graduate Conference

via H-Law:

Human Rights and Empire: A Graduate Conference

University of Chicago Pozen Family Center for Human Rights
Thursday and Friday, May 19-20, 2016
Imperial powers have often been among the most vocal advocates of human rights. Are human rights ideals in tension with imperialism, or might such ideals in fact be implicated in imperial projects? Especially if such ideals have been complicit in empire, can invocations of human rights still be useful in opposing imperial and racial domination? How does the history of human rights relate to the history of imperialism and decolonization?
This conference will bring together graduate students working with a range of theoretical and historical approaches to address the politics of human rights in relation to race and empire. Potential topics include (but are not limited to) the relationship between liberalism and empire; questions of intervention and sovereignty; narratives of nationhood in human rights discourse; the place of international law in past and contemporary forms of imperialism; international imaginaries and forms of solidarity beyond the nation-state; and connections between human rights, sovereignty, and self-determination.
The conference will run for a day and a half, starting mid-afternoon on Thursday, May 19th and ending early Friday evening, May 20th, 2016. It will include up to six workshop-style sessions on pre-circulated graduate student papers, as well as a keynote talk by Antony Anghie (University of Utah) on “Colonialism and the Future of Human Rights.” Each session will begin with comments from a University of Chicago graduate student discussant. The presenter will have time to respond to discussant comments before opening the conversation to the wider group. 
Paper proposals, including a title and an abstract of approximately 500 words, are due by Tuesday, March 1 at 9:00am CST, and should be submitted through the conference website. Notifications will be sent by mid-March. University of Chicago graduate students are welcome to apply; however, preference will be given to external applicants. The conference will cover the cost of lodging in shared rooms for out of town presenters. A limited amount of travel funding is available for participants who cannot secure funding from their home institution. 
Those presenting papers will be expected to send their paper draft to the conference organizer for circulation to participants by Monday, May 9th. They are also expected to read all papers and attend all sessions. Travel plans should include arriving in Chicago by 12 noon on Thursday, May 19th and depart no earlier than 7pm on Friday, May 20th.
The conference is sponsored by the University of Chicago Pozen Family Center for Human Rights. For more information and to submit an abstract:

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Cfp: Building/Bending/Breaking Boundaries: (Re)Conceptualizing Legal Enquiry, Carleton Grad Legal Studies conference

Graduate Legal Studies Association 11th Annual Conference, Carleton University
Building/Bending/Breaking Boundaries: (Re)Conceptualizing Legal Enquiry
17, March 2016

Law is replete with boundaries and binaries that often emerge as localities of struggle in the legal balance between stability and transformation – such as: law versus equity, domestic versus international jurisdictions, private versus public law, and security versus liberty. Law pushes the bounds of social, economic, and political transformations, yet, at the same time, labours to ensure stability, predictability and continuity in its response to significant and recurring social phenomena. As a result, these binaries often shape the scope of our theoretical inquiry and, in turn, we seek to challenge the boundaries of accepted methodologies, theories, ontologies,typologies and epistemologies.

In order to facilitate interdisciplinary exchange, we encourage participants from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds to consider how we might attempt to cross the ‘boundaries’ in our exploration of contemporary or historical socio-legal phenomena. Paper topics might include, but are not limited to:
• Theories and impacts of globalization on the domestic and international society
• Legal responses to climate change narratives
• Neoliberal policies and the neo-colonial/post-colonial state
• Labour and social movements
• The stasis of government responses to a proliferation of recent and past refugee crises

Proposals should consist of a short abstract (max 250 words), the title of your work, and your institutional affiliation. Please email your submission to
Organizers will contact you in the weeks following the abstract submission to advise whether or not it has been accepted. ** NEW deadline for proposals: February 1, 2016

Friday, January 22, 2016

Bowden, 1791: The Birth of Canada, on SSRN

James Bowden, an graduate student in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa (author of the excellent blog Parliamentum and contributor to iPolitics)  has posted "1791: The Birth of Canada" on SSRN.

Here's the abstract:

"Canada" as a polity dates back to 1791, rather than to 1867.

This paper outlines how the polity established by the Westminster Parliament through the Constitutional Act, 1791 (the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada under the Imperial Crown) evolved, in a direct and unbroken line, into the modern Canadian state, a constitutional monarchy now under its own separate Crown of Canada. This polity's institutions -- General General, the political executive, the parliament, the courts, and the civil service -- evolved uninterrupted as the Westminster Parliament re-organized the British North American Crown colonies through the Constitutional Act, 1791, the Act of Union, 1841, and the British North America Act, 1867. 

Consequently, the Government of Canada's "Canada at 150" campaign, which equates "Canada" as a polity to Confederation in 1867, is a misnomer. "Confederation at 150" would be a more accurate slogan because we are celebrating the sesquicentennial of Confederation, when the United Province of Canada became the Dominion of Canada and reorganized the existed Crown colonies into a federation, and not the sesquicentennial of "Canada" itself.

Monday, January 18, 2016

CFP: Legal History Graduate Student Conference Hosted by the Law and Humanities Graduate Study Group at Brown University

Legal History Graduate Student Conference Hosted by the Law and Humanities Graduate Study Group at Brown University 
Saturday April 23rd, 2016 at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 
Deadline for submission: February 29th , 2016 Acceptance notification: March 7th , 2016 

The Law and Humanities Graduate Study Group at Brown invites paper submissions on any topic in legal history, or any historically-inclined approach to the study of “law and …,” for its inaugural graduate student conference. We invite papers on any theme, period and location. The day-long conference will consist of moderated panels with faculty commentators, and a lunchtime faculty panel on “Varieties of Legal Sources.” Please submit a 150- to 300-word abstract along with your C.V. by February 29th, 2016 to Sara Ludin at

If you have questions, please contact Sara Ludin ( or Jonathan Lande ( This event is made possible through the generous support of: the Brown History Department, the Brown English Department, and the Brown Faculty Legal History Workshop.

h/t Joanna Grisinger 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Moore, The Court of Appeal for Ontario shortlisted for Legislative Assembly of Ontario Speaker's Award

History of the Ontario Court of AppealCongratulations to Christopher Moore, whose The Court of Appeal for Ontario: Defining the Right of Appeal, 1792-2013, published by the Osgoode Society and the U of T Press, has been shortlisted for the 2015 Speaker’s Book Award at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. 

The award will be announced at a ceremony at Queen's Park on March 7th. Good luck Chris!