Monday, October 29, 2007

Marcus then Backhouse to lead ASLH; 2 bloggers elected to board

At the American Society for Legal History meeting in Tempe last weekend, President Charles Donahue handed his gavel to incoming President Maeva Marcus, who will serve a two-year term. President Donahue announced that Professor Constance Backhouse had been elected President-elect. A biographies of President Marcus and President-elect Backhouse are below.

Also elected were new members of the ASLH Board of Directors and Nominating Committee. Biographies are here. In what may be a first, two history bloggers (Al Brophy and me) were elected to the board. I have served before, but in my pre-blogger days.

Board of Directors

Alfred L. Brophy, Professor of Law, University of Alabama School of Law, Tuscaloosa.

Mary L. Dudziak, Edward J. and Ruey L. Guirado Professor of Law, History and Political Science at the University of Southern California.

Annette Gordon-Reed, Professor of Law at New York Law School and Professor of History at Rutgers University (Newark).

Adam Kosto, Associate Professor of History and Department Chair, Columbia University, New York.

Karen Tani, doctoral candidate, University of Pennsylvania and law clerk to the Honorable Guido Calabresi, Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Nominating Committee

Amalia D. Kessler, Associate Professor of Law and (by courtesy) History, Stanford University.

Barbara Y. Welke, Associate Professor of History and Professor of Law, University of Minnesota.

Maeve Marcus, President (short bio from GWU website)

Maeva Marcus is a leading scholar in the field of constitutional studies. She received a Ph.D. in history with distinction from Columbia University. Her dissertation, Truman and the Steel Seizure Case, was published by Columbia University Press (1977) and remains in print from Duke University Press. As editor of The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789-1800, Dr. Marcus published eight volumes along with many related articles on legal history. She is a research professor of law at The George Washington University Law School and director of the Institute for Constitutional Studies. From 1983 to 1987, she was a visiting professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center.

Constance Backhouse, President-elect

Prof. Constance Backhouse is Distinguished University Professor and University Research Chair at the University of Ottawa. Professor Backhouse teaches in the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law in the areas of criminal law, human rights, legal history, and women and the law. During her academic career to date Professor Backhouse has taught at four Canadian universities and colleges, and served as director of the University of Ottawa's Human Rights Centre form 2001 to 2003. She is a graduate of the University of Manitoba, Osgoode Hall Law School, and Harvard University.

During a long and energetic career, Professor Backhouse has been the recipient of many awards and honors: an honorary doctorate (2002) and law society medal (1998) from the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Bora Laskin Human Rights Fellowship (1999), the Joseph Brant Award for multicultural history (2002), the Jules and Gabrielle Leger Fellowship(2006), the Trudeau Fellowship (2006), and the Ramon Hnatyshyn Award of the Canadian Bar Association for outstanding contributions to legal scholarship in Canada (2006). Early in her career she was awarded the Augusta Stowe-Gullen Affirmative Action Medal by the Southwestern Ontario Association for the Advancement of Learning Opportunities for Women (1981). In 2004, Professor Backhouse became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Professor Backhouse has also received teaching awards from the University of Ottawa in 2001-02 and 2002-03,and in 2006 she was selected by the University of Ottawa for its"Award for Excellence in Research."

Professor Backhouse is known internationally for her feminist research and publications on sex discrimination and the legal history of gender and race in Canada. Her work documents violations of human rights,and, in particular, past neglect of gender equality in the Canadianlegal system.

A legal scholar who uses a narrative style of writing, her most recent books and articles have concentrated on the ways in which women and racialized communities have struggled for justice within the legal system. Professor Backhouse's most recent book, coauthored with her sister, the Hon. Justice Nancy L. Backhouse, is The Heiress versus the Establishment: Mrs. Campbell's Campaign for Legal Justice (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2004). Her other books include Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900-1950 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999), winner of the 2002 Joseph Brant Award of the Ontario Historical Society ("best book in multicultural history published within the past three years"), and Petticoats and Prejudice: Women and the Law in Nineteenth-Century Canada (Toronto:Women's Press, 1991), winner of the 1992 Willard Hurst Prize in American Legal History of the Law and Society Association. In 1993,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 "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, additionally, 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.

All told, Professor Backhouse has over 50 publications to her credit.Her work has been supported by the Law Foundation of Ontario, the Osgoode Society, the Department of Justice, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, most recently (2005-07) for her current project on the history of sexual assault law in Canada, 1900-1975.

In addition to her academic and scholarly activities, Professor Backhouse has served for many years as a mediator and adjudicator of human rights complaints. In that capacity 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 (1995-98), and continues to adjudicate compensation claims for the former students of Aboriginal 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. She is a member of the board of directors for the Claire L'Heureux-Dube Fund for Social Justice and the Women's Education and Research Foundation of Ontario, Inc.

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