Constance Backhouse

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Constance Backhouse
Full Professor

B.A.(Man.)
LL.B. (Osg. Hall)
LL.M. (Harvard)
LL.D. (hon. Law Society of Upper Canada)
LL.D. (hon. University of Manitoba)
F.R.S.C.
C.M.
O. Ont.

Room: 57 Louis Pasteur St., Room 345
Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 3307
Work E-mail: Constance.Backhouse@uOttawa.ca

Image of Constance Backhouse

Biography

Website re Books and Biography

Professor Backhouse holds the positions of Distinguished University Professor and University Research Chair at the University of Ottawa. She teaches in the areas of criminal law, human rights, legal history, and women and the law.

Professor Backhouse's most recent book is De la couleur des lois : Histoire juridique du racisme au Canada, 1900-1950 (Ottawa:  University of Ottawa Press, 2010).  Her Carnal Crimes: Sexual Assault Law in Canada, 1900-1975  (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2008) was the recipient of the Canadian Law & Society Association Book Prize, 2009, as well as being short-listed for the Harold Adams Innis Prize, presented each year to the best English-language ASPP-supported book in the social sciences.  She is the co-author, along with her sister, the Hon. Justice Nancy L. Backhouse, of The Heiress versus the Establishment: Mrs. Campbell’s Campaign for Legal Justice (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2004), which was named by the Literary Review of Canada as one of the five “books most likely to become classics of their kind” for the year 2004. It was also selected by The Beaver magazine as a “Book Club Title” for 2005, and short-listed for the Toronto Book Award in 2005. She is the author of Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada,1900-1950 (Toronto: U of T Press, 1999), which was awarded the 2002 Joseph Brant Award as the “best book in multicultural history published within the past three years” by the Ontario Historical Society.  Her book, Petticoats and Prejudice: Women and the Law in Nineteenth-Century Canada (Toronto: Women’s Press, 1991), was awarded the 1992 Willard Hurst Prize in American Legal History by the Law and Society Association. Another of her books, Challenging Times: The Women’s Movement in Canada and the United States (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s U. Press), co-edited with David H. Flaherty, was named the 1993 “Outstanding Book on the Subject of Human Rights in the United States” by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in the U.S. She is the co-author with Leah Cohen of two books on sexual harassment: Sexual Harassment on the Job (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1981) and The Secret Oppression: Sexual Harassment of Working Women (Toronto: Macmillan, 1979). The latter was the first book published in Canada on the topic, and the second in North America.

Professor Backhouse has received a series of research grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Law Foundation of Ontario, the Osgoode Society, and the Department of Justice. In 1999, she received the Bora Laskin Human Rights Fellowship, She was honoured with two teaching awards at the University of Ottawa in 2001-02 and 2002-03.  In 2006, she was selected by the University of Ottawa for its "Award for Excellence in Research."  That year she was also awarded the Jules and Gabrielle Léger Fellowship, and became a Trudeau Fellow.  In 2008, she received the Killam Prize in Social Sciences.

Professor Backhouse has served for many years as a mediator and adjudicator of human rights complaints. She served as an adjudicator for the compensation claims arising from the physical, sexual and psychological abuse of the former inmates of the Grandview Training School for Girls, and for the former students at Indian residential schools across Canada. She has served as an expert witness and consultant on various aspects of sexual abuse and violence against women and children. Since 1982, she has been a member of Board of Directors of the Women's Education and Research Foundation of Ontario, Inc.  She will assume the Presidency of the American Society for Legal History in 2010, becoming the first non-US scholar to hold that position.   In 2003, she was elected a Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada; she was re-elected to this position in 2007. 

In 1981, she was awarded the Augusta Stowe-Gullen Affirmative Action Medal by the Southwestern Ontario Association for the Advancement of Learning Opportunities for Women. In 1998, she received the Law Society Medal. In 2001, she was awarded the President’s Award by the Women and the Law Association of Ontario.  In 2006, the Canadian Bar Association awarded her the Ramon Hnatyshyn Award for Law.  In 2004, she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 2010, she was elected Secretary, Academy II, Division I of the Society.  In 2008, she was a member of the delegation accompanying Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada, on her State Visit to Central Europe.  On 1 July 2008, she was named to the Order of Canada.In January 2010, she was named to the Order of Ontario.  In the spring of 2010, she was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Manitoba.

In 2009, she co-founded the Feminist History Society:  www.feministhistories.ca  This is an organization dedicated to compliling and publishing books about the history of Second Wave Canadian feminism.

Professor Backhouse is currently writing a biography of the Hon. Madam Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dubé, as well as a cohort biography of one hundred Canadian feminist lawyers who entered the profession in the 1970s and '80s.


Publications

Books

  • Carnal Crimes: Sexual Assault Lawin Canada, 1900-1975 (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2008)
  • The Laskin Legacy: Essays in Commemoration of Chief Justice Bora Laskin  (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2007), co-edited with Neil Finkelstein, pp.219.  
  • The Heiress versus the Establishment: Mrs. Campbell’s Campaign for Legal Justice (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2004), co-authored with Nancy L. Backhouse, pp.321.  
  • People and Place: Historical Influences on Legal Culture (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2003), co-edited with Jonathan Swainger, pp. 232. 

    Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900-1950 (Toronto: The Osgoode Society and University of Toronto Press, 1999), pp.485. 
  • Breaking Anonymity: The Chilly Climate for Women Faculty (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1995), co-edited with members of the Chilly Collective, pp. 390. 

    Challenging Times: The Women's Movement in Canada and the United States (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's Press, 1992), co-edited with David H. Flaherty, pp.335.
  • Petticoats and Prejudice: Women and Law in Nineteenth-Century Canada (Toronto: Women's Press/Osgoode Society, 1991), pp.467. 
  • Sexual Harassment on the Job (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1981), co-authored with Leah Cohen, pp.196.
  • The Secret Oppression: Sexual Harassment of Working Women (Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1979), co-authored with Leah Cohen, pp.208.
    • Named by the Literary Review of Canada as one of the “Five to Outlast Us” titles, described as “books most likely to become classics of their kind” for the year 2004.
    • Selected by The Beaver magazine as a “Book Club Title,” 2005.
    • Short-list, Toronto Book Award, 2005.
    • Awarded the 2002 Joseph Brant Award as the “best book in multicultural history published within the past three years” by the Ontario Historical Society.
    • Awarded the 1993 "Outstanding Book on the Subject of Human Rights in the United States," Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in the United States.
    • Awarded the 1992 Willard Hurst Prize in American Legal History by the (U.S.) Law and Society Association

Articles

  • “Remembering Favourite Feminist Legal Scholarship” with the “Among Friends Collective” Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 17:1 (2005) 243-70.
  • “‘Pleasing Appearance...Only Adds to the Danger’: The 1930 Insanity Hearing of Violet Hypatia Bowyer” Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 17:1 (2005) 1-13.   
  • "Clara Brett Martin" Biographical Entry in Dictionary of Canadian Biography vol.XV (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005) 710-11.
  • “Legal Discrimination Against the Chinese in Canada: The Historical Framework” in David Dyzenhaus and Mayo Moran eds. Calling Power to Account: Law, Reparations, and the Chinese Canadian Head Tax Case (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005) 24-59.
  • “What is Access to Justice?” in Julia Bass, W.A. Bogart and Frederick H. Zemans eds. Access to Justice for a New Century: The Way Forward (Toronto: Law Society of Upper Canada, 2005) 113-46.
  • “The Chilly Climate for Women Judges: Reflections on the Ewanchuk Decision” Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 15:1 (2003) 167-93 - this volume was not released until July 2004. 
     Republished in Marie-Claire Belleau and François Lacasse eds. Claire L’Heureux-Dubé à la Court suprême du Canada 1987-2002 (Montreal: Wilson & Lafleur, 2004) 521-47
  • “Viola Desmond” in Gerald Hallowell ed. The Oxford Companion to Canadian History (Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2004) 179
  • “White Women’s Labour Laws” in Gerald Hallowell ed. The Oxford Companion to Canadian History (Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2004) 662
  • “Don’t You Bully Me...Justice I Want If There Is Justice to be Had: The Rape of Mary Ann Burton, London, Ontario, 1907" in Jonathan Swainger and Constance Backhouse eds. People and Place: Historical Influences on Legal Culture (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2003) 60-94
  • “Revisiting the Arthurs Report Twenty Years Later” Canadian Journal of Law and Society 18:1 (2003) 33-44 
  • “Reflections on Feminist Activism within Two Distinct Universities: Timing and Location for Transformational Activities” Resources for Feminist Research/Documentation sur la Recherche Féministe 29:1 & 2 (2002) 117-24
  • “Attentat à la dignité du Parlement : Viol dans l’enceinte de la Chambre des communes, Ottawa 1929" Ottawa Law Review  33:1 (2001-02) 95-145 
  • “The Changing Landscape of Canadian Legal Education” Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice v.20 (2001) 25-34 
  • “Canadian Mythologies About Race” Human Rights Research and Education Bulletin (Ottawa: University of Ottawa, Human Rights Research and Education Centre, December 2001) 1-4
  • “‘Race’ definition run amuck: ‘slaying the dragon of Eskimo status’ before the Supreme Court of Canada, 1939" in Diane Kirkby and Catharine Coleborne eds. Law, history, colonialism: The reach of empire (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001) 65-77 
  • “‘Race’, gender and nation in history and law” co-authored with Ann Curthoys, Ian Duncanson and Ann Parsonson in Diane Kirkby and Catharine Coleborne eds. Law, history, colonialism: The reach of empire (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001) 277-300 
  • “The Doctrine of Corroboration in Sexual Assault Trials in Early Twentieth Century Canada and Australia” Queen’s Law Journal 26:2 (Spring 2001) 297-338 
  • “The Mother Factor in Australian Child Custody Law 1900-1950" Australian Journal of Legal History 6: 1 & 2 (2000) 51-111.   
  • “‘Her Protests Were Unavailing’: Australian Legal Understandings of Rape, Consent and Sexuality in the ‘Roaring Twenties’” Journal of Australian Studies n.64 (2000) 14-33
  • “Skewering the Credibility of Women: A Reappraisal of Corroboration in Australian Legal History” University of Western Australia Law Review 29:1 (2000) 79-107 
  • "'Your Conscience will be Your Own Punishment': The Racially-Motivated Murder of Gus Ninham, London, Ontario, 1902" in G. Blaine Baker and Jim Phillips, eds. Essays in the History of Canadian Law in Honour of R.C.B. Risk (Toronto: The Osgoode Society, 1999) 61-114. 
  • "Bias in Canadian Law: A Lop-Sided Precipice" Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 10:1 (1998) 170-83 
  • "I Was Unable to Identify with Topsy": Carrie M. Best's Struggle Against Racial Segregation in Nova Scotia, 1942" Atlantis 22:2 (Spring 1998) 16-26
  • "Gretta Wong Grant: Canada's First Chinese-Canadian Female Lawyer" Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice 15 (1996) 3-46 
  • "The White Women's Labor Laws: Anti-Chinese Racism in Early Twentieth-Century Canada" Law and History Review 14:2 (Fall 1996) 315-68  
  • "The Shining Sixpence: Women's Worth in Canadian Law at the End of the Victorian Era" Manitoba Law Journal 23: 1-2 (1996) 556-73 
     Republished in Chris McCormick and Len Green eds. Crime and Deviance in Canada: Historical Perspectives (Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press, 2005) at 107-23.
  • "An Historical Perspective, Reflections on the Western Employment Equity Award" in Chilly Collective eds. Breaking Anonymity: The Chilly Climate for Women Faculty (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1995) 61-95  
  • "The Chilly Climate for Faculty Women at Western: Postscript to the Backhouse Report" co-authored with Roma Harris, Gillian Michell and Alison Wylie in Chilly Collective eds. Breaking Anonymity: The Chilly Climate for Women Faculty (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1995) 96-132  
  • "Epilogue: The Remarkable Response to the Release of the Chilly Climate Report" co-authored with Gillian Michell in Chilly Collective eds. Breaking Anonymity: The Chilly Climate for Women Faculty (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1995) 133-58  
  • "White Female Help and Chinese-Canadian Employers: Race, Class, Gender and Law in the Case of Yee Clun, 1924" Canadian Ethnic Studies XXVI:3 (1994) 34-52.   
     Revised manuscript republished in Wendy Mitchinson et al. eds. Canadian Women: A Reader (Toronto: Harcourt, Brace, 1996) at 280-99.
  • "Racial Segregation in Canadian Legal History: Viola Desmond's Challenge, Nova Scotia, 1946" Dalhousie Law Journal 17:2 (Fall 1994) 299-362  
  • "Prosecutions of Abortions under Canadian Law 1900-1950" in Jim Phillips, Tina Loo and Susan Lewthwaite eds. Crime and Criminal Justice: Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Volume V (Toronto: The Osgoode Society, 1994) 252-92  
  • "Esther Forsyth (Arscott; Barnes)" Dictionary of Canadian Biography XIII (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994) 352
  • "Physicians, Abortions, and the Law in Early Twentieth-Century Ontario" Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 10 (1993) 229-49  
  • "Clara Brett Martin: Canadian Heroine or Not?" and "Response" Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 5:2 (1992) 263-79 and 351-4  
  • "Married Women's Property Law in Nineteenth-Century Canada" in Bettina Bradbury, ed. Canadian Family History: Selected Readings (Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman, 1992) 320-59
  • "The Celebrated Abortion Trial of Dr. Emily Stowe, Toronto 1879" Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 8 (1991) 159-87  
  • "Women and the Law in Nineteenth-Century Canada" Canadian Legal History Working Paper Series (University of Manitoba, Faculty of Law, 1991)
  • "The Sayer Street Outrage: Gang Rape and Male Law in 19th-Century Toronto" Manitoba Law Journal 20 (1991) 46-68  
  • "Women Faculty at the University of Western Ontario: Reflections on the Employment Equity Award" Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 4:1 (1990) 36-65 
  • "Married Women's Property Law in Nineteenth-Century Canada" Law and History Review 6 (1988) 211-257  
  • "Nineteenth Century Judicial Attitudes Toward Child Custody, Rape and Prostitution" in Sheilah L. Martin and Kathleen E. Mahoney, eds., Equality and Judicial Neutrality (Toronto: Carswell, 1987) 271-281 
  • "Pure Patriarchy: Nineteenth-Century Canadian Marriage" McGill Law Journal 31 (1986) 264-312  
  • “The Tort of Seduction: Fathers and Daughters in Nineteenth-Century Canada" Dalhousie Law Journal 10 (1986) 45-80  
  • "Nineteenth-Century Canadian Prostitution Law: Reflection of a Discriminatory Society" Social History/Histoire sociale 18:36 (1985) 387-423  
  • "To Open the Way for Others of My Sex: Clara Brett Martin's Career as Canada's First Woman Lawyer" Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 1 (1985) 1-41 
  • "Desperate Women and Compassionate Courts: Nineteenth-Century Infanticide in Canada" University of Toronto Law Journal 34 (1984) 447-478  
  • "Canadian Prostitution Law 1839-1972" Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women Prostitution in Canada (Ottawa, 1984) 7-18
  • "A Comparative Study of Canadian and American Rape Law" co-authored with Lorna Schoenroth Canada-U.S. Law Journal 7 (1984) 173-213
  • "Involuntary Motherhood: Abortion, Birth Control and the Law in Nineteenth-Century Canada" Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice 3 (1983) 61-130  
  • "Nineteenth-Century Canadian Rape Law 1800-1892" in David H. Flaherty, ed. Essays in the History of Canadian Law v.2, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1983) 200-247  
  • "Shifting Patterns in Nineteenth-Century Canadian Custody Law" in David H. Flaherty, ed. Essays in the History of Canadian Law v.1 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981) 212-248  
  • "Bell v. Flaming Steer Steak House Tavern: Canada's First Sexual Harassment Decision" University of Western Ontario Law Review 19 (1981) 141-151
  • "The Fleck Strike: A Case Study in the Need for First Contract Arbitration" Osgoode Hall Law Journal 18 (1980) 495-553
  • "Labour Unions and Anti-Combines Policy" Osgoode Hall Law Journal 14 (1976) 113-160
    • Awarded the David Watson Memorial Award, presented annually to the author of the paper in the Queen’s Law Journal judged to “make the most significant
       contribution to legal scholarship.” 
    • Republished in Pierre Boyer, Linda Cardinal, and David Headon eds. From Subjects to Citizens: A Hundred Years of Citizenship in Australia and Canada (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2004) 123-50. 
    • Republished in Nick Laren and Brian Burtch Law in Society: Canadian Readings (Toronto: Harcourt Brace, 1999) at 3-22.

Books Reviews

  • Jean McKenzie Leiper Bar Codes: Women in the Legal Profession (Vancouver and Toronto: University of  British  Columbia  Press, 2006) reviewed in  Histoire sociale/Social History (submitted 2007)
  • Roberta Hamilton Setting the Agenda: Jean Royce and the Shaping of Queen’s University (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002) Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology (2005) posted January 2005 http://www.csaa.ca/BookReview/ReviewsList.htm
  • Susan M. Sterett Public Pensions: Gender and Civic Service in the States, 1850-1937 (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2003) reviewed in Labour/Le Travail v.54 (Fall 2004) at 311-13.
  • Ellen Anderson Judging Bertha Wilson: Law As Large As Life (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001) reviewed in Labour/Le Travail v.51 (Spring 2003) 295-7.
  • Tamara Myers, Kate Boyer, Mary Anne Poutanen and Steven Watt eds., Power, Place and Identity: Historical Studies of Social and Legal Regulation in Quebec (McGill University, Montreal History Group, 1998) reviewed in Labour/Le Travail v.43 (Spring 1999) 231-3
  • Louis A. Knafla and Susan W.S. Binnie, eds. Law, Society and the State: Essays in Modern Legal History reviewed in Law and History Review 16:1 (Spring 1998) 180-83
  • Peggy Bristow, Dionne Brand, Linda Carty, Afua P. Cooper, Sylvia Hamilton, Adrienne Shadd (eds) "We're Rooted Here and They Can't Pull Us Up": Essays in African Canadian Women's History (Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press, 1994) Gender & History 10:1 (April 1998) 169-71
  • Diana E.H. Russell Against Pornography: The Evidence of Harm (Berkeley CA: Russell Publications, 1993) Canadian Journal of Law and Society 11:1 (Spring 1996) 277-80
  • Jennie Abell and Elizabeth Sheehy Criminal Law & Procedure: Cases, Context, Critique (Ottawa: Captus Press, 1993) Canadian Journal of Law and Society 10:1 (Spring 1995) 213-16
  • "Agnes Macphail and Feminism", a review of Terry Crowley Agnes Macphail and the Politics of Equality, Canadian Journal of Law and Society 7:1 (1992) 143-52
  • Donald H. Akenson At Face Value: The Life and Times of Eliza McCormack/John White, Queen's Law Journal 16:2 (1990) 313-20
  • Louis Knafla, Law and Justice in a New Land, Ontario History LXXIX:4 (December 1987) 389-391
  • "Review Essay: Marriage, Women, and Property: A Legal History of Enforced Dependence", review of Marylynn Salmon, Women and the Law of Property in Early America American Bar Foundation Research Journal (Spring-Summer 1987) 591-600
  • Michael Grossberg, Governing the Hearth: Law and the Family in Nineteenth-Century America, Atlantis 11:2 (Spring 1986) 200-202
  • Kathleen Barry et al., International Feminism: Networking Against Female Sexual Slavery, Atlantis 11:2 (Spring 1986) 208-11
  • Paul Weiler, Reconcilable Differences: New Direction in Canadian Labour Law University of Western Ontario Law Review 19 (1981) 343-348

 

 

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