Talman Lecture

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Professor Constance Backhouse
Distinguished University Professor and University Research Chair,
Faculty of Law,
University of Ottawa

Professor Backhouse is an internationally renowned scholar of  sex discrimination and the legal history of gender and race in Canada. She is a member of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a member of the Order of Ontario. Her many awards include the Killam Prize in Social Sciences, the Gold Medal from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Governor General’s Person’s Medal. She has served for many years as a mediator and adjudicator of numerous human rights complaints,  among them the compensation claims arising from the physical, sexual and psychological abuse of both former inmates of the Grandview Training School for Girls and students at Indian residential schools across Canada.  In 2015 she was appointed as Chair of the Task Force on Misogyny, Sexism and Homophobia in Dalhousie University Faculty of Dentistry.

Professor Backhouse’s numerous award-winning historical publications include:Carnal Crimes: Sexual Assault Law in Canada, 1900-1975  (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2008); with Hon. Justice Nancy L. Backhouse, The Heiress versus the Establishment: Mrs. Campbell’s Campaign for Legal Justice (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2004);  Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900-1950 (Toronto: U of T Press, 1999) and Petticoats and Prejudice: Women and the Law in Nineteenth-Century Canada (Toronto: Women’s Press, 1991). She is currently writing a biography of the Hon. Madam Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dubé, as well as a collective biography of one hundred Canadian late 20th Century feminist lawyers.