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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Two legal history articles in CHR in advance online

Both focus on the history of ideas in law. The first, from Queen's Department of history doctoral candidate Peter Price, is 'Fashioning a Constitutional Narrative: John S. Ewart and the Development of a ‘Canadian Constitution.’' Online here. Here's the abstract:

John Skirving Ewart (1849–1933) was one of the most controversial public figures in early-twentieth-century Canada. With a background as an experienced lawyer, Ewart wrote extensively on Canadian law and national independence. This paper examines Ewart's private and public writings, focusing on the way in which he crafted a new and unique narrative of the Canadian constitution that positioned Canada as historically and politically distinct from the British Empire. At a time when a robust sense of imperialism energized much of English Canada, Ewart's ideas were controversial and contested. Assessing Ewart's constitutional narrative provides a way of understanding the early development of independent Canadian nationalism and the constitutional changes that emerged in the mid-twentieth century.
And from David Tough, also a doctoral candidate at Carleton, currently teaching at Trent, an article on the legislative history of the 1917 income tax act, "‘The rich … should give to such an extent that it will hurt’: ‘Conscription of Wealth’ and Political Modernism in the Parliamentary Debate on the 1917 Income War Tax," here.  The abstract:

The parliamentary debates on the Income War Tax in the summer of 1917 were marked by fierce criticisms from Liberal members who argued that the tax measure fell short of the ideal of ‘conscription of wealth’ that had been in wide circulation in the months leading up to the debate. Scholars have repeatedly pointed out that ‘conscription of wealth’ rhetoric, which attempted to link the unfair sacrifices of the war effort to the need for income taxation, and revealed a rapidly polarizing political climate at the end of the war, was the key inspiration for the introduction of the Income War Tax. However, the use of similar rhetoric by parliamentarians, and the call for ‘radical’ taxation across political differences, suggests that something else – a shared desire for a modernist ‘break from the past’ – was at work in the debate.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Prize Winners announced at Osgoode Society AGM

McMurtry Fellow Patrick Connor
At the Osgoode Society Annual General Meeting, held today at Osgoode Hall in Toronto, the R. Roy McMurtry Fellowship was presented to Dr. Patrick J. Connor, a recent graduate from the doctoral programme in history at York University. Patrick's area of research is crime, punishment and the pardoning process in Upper Canada. Congratulations Patrick (and please update your linkedin account or sign up for an page!)

Congratulations also to Edward Cavanagh, who was awarded the Peter Oliver Prize, presented annually to the best published work by a student in 2011, in absentia. Ed, currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Ottawa, won the prize for his article A Company with Sovereignty and Subjects of Its Own? The Case of the Hudson's Bay Company, 1670–1763, which appeared in the Canadian Journal of Law and Society, in volume 26 issue 1.

Blake Brown addresses the AGM
The highlight of the meeting was an address by Professor R. Blake Brown of St. Mary's University, Halifax, N.S., on the subject of the history of gun control in Canada. Blake's book on the subject will be the Osgoode Society members' book for 2012.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Backhouse receives honorary doctorate from Western

Constance Backhouse was recently celebrated again when she was granted an honorary doctorate from the University of Western Ontario. This is her second honorary doctorate; she was granted an LLD two years ago from the University of Manitoba. On June 15th she addressed graduates of the Faculties of Education and Postgraduate Studies, not telling them they weren't special, but rather that they are special because they will change the world for the better--a condition subsequent for special-ness as it were. Well said, and congratulations once again, Constance!

Monday, June 11, 2012

I have enclosed another call for papers from the organisers of the Australia New Zealand Law and History Society conference in December. They love having a Canadian contingent, and as you can see the keynote speaker is Philip Girard.

Second Call for Papers

Receiving Laws/ Giving Laws: The 31st Annual Conference of the Australia New Zealand Law and History Society, December 2012, UTS, Sydney

Paper proposals due 31 July 2012

The 31st Annual Conference of the Australia New Zealand Law and History Society will be held at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), 10-12 December 2012.

Keynote speaker: Professor Philip Girard, Dalhousie – “Colonization, Culture, Continuity:  The Role of Law”
Plenary speaker: Professor Christopher Tomlins, UC Irvine – “Debt, Death, and Redemption: Toward a History of the Turner Rebellion”
Keynote Panel: “Receiving Laws / Giving Laws: Three Takes” - Professor Anne Orford, Melbourne, A/Prof Katherine Biber, UTS, Dr Damen Ward, Crown Law, Wellington

More information, including on the conference theme, can be found at

Inquiries or paper proposals - including a title, brief abstract and brief biography - should be sent to by 31 July 2012. While papers on the conference theme are encouraged, abstracts can be submitted on any legal history topic.

All proposals will be assessed, and successful submitters contacted at the end of July. Conference registration, accommodation and other information will be posted to the conference webpage in August.

UTS is the most centrally located law school in Sydney, situated next to Central Station, on the edge of China Town, three minutes by monorail from Sydney’s central shopping district and a short trip to the harbour by direct train or bus.