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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Backhouse on L'Heureux-Dubé's untaken career path in politics

In the new issue of the Canadian Journal of Law and Society /La Revue Canadienne Droit et Société, Constance Backhouse has an intriguing counterfactual study of former SCC judge Claire L'Heureux-Dubé, "Essay: What if? Career Paths not Taken: Claire L'Heureux-Dubé and Politics."

No abstract, sadly.  But you can look at a preview, here.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

CFP: Remaking North American Sovereignty: Towards a Continental History of State Transformation in the Mid Nineteenth- Century

Courtesy of Lyndsay Campbell. This conference may interest legal historians of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico:

Call for papers:    Remaking North American Sovereignty: Towards aContinental History of State Transformation in the Mid Nineteenth-Century Date: July 30-August 1, 2015 at the  Banff  Centre  in  Banff,  Alberta,  Canada.

This  conference  considers  state  making  in  mid-nineteenth  century  North  America from  a  continent-wide  perspective. Peaking  in  the  years  1865-67  with  the  end  of  the  American  Civil  War,  Canadian  Confederation,  and  the  restoration  of  the  Mexican  republic  after  the  expulsion  of  Maximilian,  a French-imposed  monarch, this  era  of  political  transformation  has  had  profound  consequences  for  the  future  of  the  continent.

Key  to  the  reformulation  of  North  American  polities  was  the  question  of  sovereignty,  or  the  power  to  rule.  Conflicts over  sovereignty went  well  beyond  the  years  1865-67  and  encompassed  not  only  the  political  and  diplomatic  aspects of  state-making but  also  the  broader social, economic,  and  cultural  histories  of  this  process. 

Thus  far,  the  continental  dimensions  of North  American  sovereignty have  been  obscured  by  historical  traditions  that  confine  each  of  these  state making  conflicts  within  its  specific  national  framework.  In  light  of  the  global  turn  in  19th century historiography,  as  well  as  the  real  interconnections across  the  continent,  it  is  time  to  consider  these  political  crises  as  an  inter-related  struggle  to  redefine  the  relationship  of  North  Americans  to  new  governments.

Keynote addresses  will  be  delivered by  Professors  Steven  Hahn,  University  of
Pennsylvania;  Pekka  Hämäläinen, Oxford  University;  Erika  Pani,  Colegio  de  Mexico;  and Andrew  Smith,  University  of  Liverpool. 

The  conference  organizers  seek  papers  that  offer  original  work  examining  different  aspects  of  national  sovereignty  formation  in North  America during  this  period.  Work  that  examines  these  conflicts  in  a  transnational  perspective  is  especially  welcome. Paper  proposals  (between  200-500  words)  should  be  accompanied  by  a  brief  CV  and  should  be  submitted  to  Frank  Towers  (  by  August  31,  2014.  Papers from the conference  may  be  included  in  a  publication.  In  preparation,  presenters  will  be asked  to  circulate  drafts  of  their  papers  by  July  1,  2015. This  conference  is  sponsored  by  the George  and  Ann  Richards  Civil  War  Era  Center  at  Penn State  University  and  supported  by  the  Virginia  Center  for  Civil  War  Studies at  Virginia  Tech University and  the  University  of  Calgary. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Coombe on defamation law and on breach of promise law in Ontario on SSRN

Via Dan Ernst on the Legal History Blog:

Rosemary Coombe, York University, has been posting her backlist on SSRN.  Two articles of special interest to legal historians.  The first is  'The Most Disgusting, Disgraceful and Inequitous Proceeding in Our Law': The Action for Breach of Promise of Marriage in Nineteenth Century OntarioUniversity of Toronto Law Journal 38 (1988): 64-108:  
This study examines judicial management of the action for breach of promise of marriage in nineteenth-century Ontario through an analysis of reported cases, trial records, and newspaper accounts. This seldom researched area of legal history sheds light on the interplay between cultural ideology and legal developments. Breach of promise of marriage cases elicited much societal attention and often consternation because they challenged widely held attitudes on women’s participation in the legal system. This study also illustrates how judges at the time exhibited a strong commitment to judicial autonomy in the face of contentious juridical gender issues, as these cases often threatened Victorian visions of social order.
A second is Contesting the Self: Negotiating Subjectivities in Nineteenth-Century Ontario Defamation TrialsStudies in Law, Politics and Society 11 (1991): 3-40: 
Understanding the hegemonic quality of legal discourse requires us to view hegemony as unfolding in multiple sights of discursive practice. Thus, we must begin to analyze not only hegemonic legal discourse but hegemony in social sights of legal practice in order to see that legal practice is essential in processes of domination and social ordering. In this article, I explore the processes of political subjection and resistance as they manifest in witness testimony and judicial decisions from late nineteenth century defamation trials in Ontario. I argue that slander and libel suits were integral in constructing particular legitimate knowledges about class and gender as categories of social identity.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Exhibition on JCPC includes Famous 5 among highlighted stories

If you are in London (U.K.) this summer, check out a free exhibition on the JCPC: "A Court at the Crossroads of Empire: Stories from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council." Included in the highlighted stories is the Famous Five "Persons Case."

Here's the website for details..