Department of History
ON SABBATICAL 2013-2014
BA (Acadia); MA (York); LLB (Toronto);
MA (Toronto); Ph.D (Dalhousie)
Office: McNally North, Room 224
Blake Brown is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Saint Mary’s University, and an Adjunct Research Associate at Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law. He holds a PhD in history from Dalhousie University, a MA in history from York University, and a BA in history from Acadia University. In addition, he completed a law degree and a MA in criminology at the University of Toronto prior to undertaking his PhD.
Professor Brown has been the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair and Visiting Scholar in History at Vanderbilt University, a Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Post-Doctoral Fellow at Saint Mary’s University, a Visiting Junior Fellow at the Centre of Criminology, University of Toronto, a Fellow at the J. Willard Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History at the University of Wisconsin, and a Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School. Prior to joining the Department of History in 2007, he taught part-time at Dalhousie Law School.
Professor Brown’s principal research and teaching interests are modern Canadian history, legal history, and the history of Atlantic Canada. He is the author of A Trying Question: The Jury in Nineteenth-Century Canada (University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2009) and Arming and Disarming: A History of Gun Control in Canada (University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, Fall 2012), which received the 2012 Canadian Law & Society Book Prize. His articles have appeared in various journals, including the Canadian Historical Review, Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, the Canadian Journal of History, Acadiensis, the McGill Law Journal, the American Journal of Legal History, the Journal of Law & Social Inquiry, and the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. Professor Brown is currently writing a history of Canadian law with Dr. Philip Girard of Osgoode Hall Law School and Dr. Jim Phillips of the University of Toronto.
Professor Brown teaches HIST 1253: Canada since Confederation, HIST 2340: The History of Atlantic Canada, HIST 3000: The Discipline of History, HIST 3403: The Invention of Canada, HIST 4572: Crime in Canada, and HIST 4574: Guns, Violence, and the Law.
Arming and Disarming:A History of Gun Control in Canada. University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2012.
A Trying Question: The Jury in Nineteenth-Century Canada. University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society, 2009.
b) Articles and Book Chapters:
"'The Hardness and Injustice of the common law rule...has frequently been commented upon': Debating Contributory Negligence in Canada, 1900-1950", forthcoming in Dalhousie Law Journal.
“‘Possession of arms among these men … might lead to serious consequences’: Regulating Firearms in the Canadas, 1760-1867,” forthcoming in Blaine Baker and Donald Fyson, eds.,Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Volume XI: Quebec and the Canadas (Toronto: University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society).
“‘Every boy ought to learn to shoot and to obey orders’: Guns, Boys, and the Law in Canada from the late Nineteenth Century to the Great War,” Canadian Historical Review, 93:2 (2012), pp.196-226.
“‘Capitalist ‘justice’ as peddled by the ‘Noble Lords’”: Toronto Electric Commissioners v.Snider et al,” in Eric Tucker and Judge Fudge, eds.,Work on Trial: Cases in Context Toronto: Irwin and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2010 (first author with Jennifer J. Llewellyn), pp.15-42.
“‘Pistol Fever’: Regulating Revolvers in Late-Nineteenth-Century Canada,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, n.s., 20:1 (2009), pp.107-138.
“‘Stars and Shamrocks will be Sown:’ The Fenian State Trials, 1866-67,” in Barry Wright and Susan Binnie, eds.,Canadian State Trials, Volume III: Political Trials and Security Measures, 1840-1914. Toronto: University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society, 2009, pp.35-84.
“One Version of History: The Supreme Court of Canada’s Use of History in the Quebec Secession Reference,” in Penny Bryden and Dimitry Anastakis, eds., Framing Federalism for the Twenty-First Century: Historical Essays in Honour of John T. Saywell. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009, pp.15-50.
“‘That privilege … of having Grand jurymen from our towns’: Grand Juries, Municipal Reform, and Responsible Government in Nova Scotia,” Journal of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, 10 (2007), pp.47-71.
“Compensation for Gamete Donation: The Analogy with Jury Duty” Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 16:1 (2007), pp.35-43 (with Lynette Reid and Natalie Ram).
“Storms, Roads, and Harvest Time: Criticisms of Jury Service in Pre-Confederation Nova Scotia,” Acadiensis, 36:1 (2006), pp.93-111.
“‘Three Cheers for Lord Denman’: The Irish, Reformers and Jury Packing in Nova Scotia, 1833-1845,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, 16 (2005), pp.139-167.
“A Taxonomy of Methodological Approaches in Recent Canadian Legal History,” Acadiensis, 34 (2005), pp.145-155.
“‘To Err is Human, To Forgive Divine’: The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia and the Labour Relations Board, 1947-1965,” in Philip Girard, Jim Phillips & Barry Cahill, eds., The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia 1754-2004: From Imperial Bastion to Provincial Oracle. Toronto: University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2004, pp.449-489.
“A Collective Biography of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, 1900-2000,” in Philip Girard, Jim Phillips & Barry Cahill, eds., The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia 1754-2004: From Imperial Bastion to Provincial Oracle. Toronto: University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2004, pp.204-242. (with Susan S. Jones)
“‘A Delusion, A Mockery, and a Snare’: Challenges to the Array and Jury Selection in England and Ireland, 1800-1850,”Canadian Journal of History, 39 (2004), pp.1-26.
“The Highest Legal Ability in the Nation: Langdell on Wall Street, 1855-1870,” Law & Social Inquiry, 29:1 (2004), pp.39-104. (with Bruce A. Kimball)
“The Supreme Court of Canada and Judicial Legitimacy: The Rise and Fall of Chief Justice Lyman Poore Duff,” McGill Law Journal, 47 (2002), pp.559-591.
“When Holmes Borrowed From Langdell: The Public Policy and ‘Ultra-legal’ Formalism of Northern Securities, 1904,”American Journal of Legal History, 45:3 (2001), pp.278-321. (with Bruce A. Kimball)
“Cecil A. Wright and the Foundations of Canadian Tort Law Scholarship,” Saskatchewan Law Review, 64 (2001), pp.169-217.
“Realism, Federalism, and Statutory Interpretation during the 1930s: The Significance of Home Oil Distributors v. A.G. (B.C.),” University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review, 59 (2001), pp.1-23.
“Challenges for Cause, Stand-Asides, and Peremptory Challenges in the Nineteenth Century,” Osgoode Hall Law Journal, 38 (2000), pp.453-494.
“The Canadian Legal Realists and Administrative Law Scholarship, 1930-1941,” Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies, 9 (2000), pp.36-72.
“‘Special Circumstances:’ Youth, Welfare, and Politics in Ontario During the 1990s,” Journal of Law and Social Policy, 14 (1999), pp.191-216.
“Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree: The Boom Years of the Nova Scotia Christmas Tree Trade, 1915-1960,” The Beaver, (December 1998 / January 1999), pp.33-40.
c) Book Reviews:
Review of Peter Vronsky, Ridgeway: The American Fenian Invasion and the 1866 Battle That Made Canada (Toronto: Allen Lane, 2011), British Journal of Canadian Studies, 26:1 (2013), p. 130.
Review of James Wood, Militia Myths: Ideas of the Canadian Citizen Soldier, 1896-1921 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2010), British Journal of Canadian Studies, 24:1 (2011), pp.86-87.
Review of Christopher English, ed., Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Volume IX: Two Islands: Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island (Toronto: University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2005), Dalhousie Law Journal, 31:2 (2008), 463-471.
Review of Barry Cahill, ed., Frank Manning Covert: 50 Years in the Practice of Law (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2004), in Canadian Historical Review, 87:4 (2006), pp.405-407.
Review of Peter Oliver, The Conventional Man: The Diaries of Ontario Chief Justice Robert A. Harrison, 1856-1878 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2003), Ontario History, 97(1)(2005), pp. 97-99.
Review of David Murray, Colonial Justice: Justice, Morality, and Crime in the Niagara District, 1791-1849 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2002), in Law and History Review, 22:3 (2004), pp.681-683.
Review of F. Murray Greenwood & Barry Wright, eds., Canadian State Trials; Volume II: Rebellion and Invasion in the Canadas, 1837-1839 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2002), in Canadian Historical Review, 85:1 (2004), pp.122-125.
Review of Patrick Brode, Courted and Abandoned: Seduction in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2002), in Ontario History, 95:2 (2003), pp.217-219.
d) Recent Presentations:
“The harshness and injustice of the common law rule … has frequently been commented upon”: Debating Contributory Negligence in Canada, 1900-1950.” Conference on the Legal Histories of the British Empire. National University of Singapore, 5 July 2012.
“Firearm Laws and the Emergence of a Gun Lobby in Postwar Canada.” 2012 International Conference on Law & Society. Honolulu, Hawaii, 7 June 2012.
“‘We are gradually getting like Chicago’: Gun Control in Interwar Canada.” Transformation: State, Nation, and Citizenship in a New Environment Conference. York University, 14 October 2011.
“‘Requiring the registration of firearms…must be approached with extreme caution’: Police and Gun Control Debates in Canada, 1968-1978,” Canadian Historical Association Annual Conference, 31 May 2011.
“‘Too many foreigners [are] carrying weapons and something will have to be done’: Canadian Gun Control and the World Wars,” Canadian Law & Society Association Annual Meeting, 29 May 2011.
“‘When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns’: The Formation of the Canadian Gun Lobby, 1972-1978”, People and Politics: Interactions between Citizens and the Canadian State Conference, Centre for Canadian Studies, Mount Allison University, March 4, 2011
“‘I am not a gun nut!’: Debates over Firearm Regulation in Canada, 1968-1978.” American Society for Legal History Annual Meeting. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 20 November 2010.
“‘Disarming the foreigners … is the only way to render them harmless’: Gun Control in early Twentieth-Century Canada.” Osgoode Society Symposium on Canadian Legal History. Toronto, 30 October 2009.
“‘The revolver itself originates crimes,’: Gun Control Debates in Early Twentieth-Century Canada,” University Toronto Centre of Criminology Workshop Speaker Series. University of Toronto, 29 October 2009.
“‘Every boy ought to learn to shoot and to obey orders’: Debating Guns and Boys in Canada, 1890-1920.” 3rd Biennial Conference of the Canadian Initiative in Law, Culture, and the Humanities. Carleton University, 16 October 2009.
“Disarming the Rogue and the Child: Regulating Revolvers in late-Nineteenth-Century Canada.” Canadian Historical Association Annual Conference. Carleton University, 26 May 2009.
“The Legal Regulation of Revolvers in Late-Nineteenth-Century Canada,” University of Toronto Legal History Workshop, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, 28 January 2009.
“The ‘Privilege’ to Bear Arms: Late Nineteenth-Century Gun Control in Canada.” Canadian Law & Society Association Winter Meetings. Saint Mary’s University, Nova Scotia, 23 January 2009.
“‘Capitalist ‘justice’ as peddled by the ‘Noble Lords’”: Toronto Electric Commissioners v. Snider et al.” Putting Law to Work: Choices and Context in Key Labour Law Cases conference. University of Victoria, British Columbia, 19 June 2008 (with Jennifer J. Llewellyn).