Department of History
Blake Brown Profile
Graduate Coordinator, Atlantic Canada Studies
BA (Acadia); MA (York); LLB (Toronto); MA (Toronto); Ph.D (Dalhousie)
Blake Brown is a Professor in the Department of History at Saint Mary’s University, and is cross-appointed to the Atlantic Canada Studies program. 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 Visiting Fellow at the University of Victoria in Wellington, a Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Post-Doctoral Fellow at Saint Mary’s University, 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.
Professor Brown’s principal research and teaching interests are modern Canadian history, legal history, and the history of Atlantic Canada. 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, and the Journal of Law & Social Inquiry. 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), Arming and Disarming: A History of Gun Control in Canada (University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2012)“ and (with Philip Girard and Jim Phillips) A History of Law in Canada, Volume 1: Beginnings to 1866 (University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society, 2018).
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 4401: Crime in Canada, and HIST 4574: Guns, Violence, and the Law.
A History of Law in Canada: Beginnings to 1866. Toronto: University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society, 2018 (third author with Philip Girard and Jim Phillips).
Arming and Disarming the Nation: A History of Gun Control in Canada. University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society, 2012.
A Trying Question: The Jury in Nineteenth-Century Canada. University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society, 2009.
b) Sample Articles and Book Chapters
'"A more disgraceful case it has seldom fallen to our lot to comment upon:’ Medical Malpractice in Nineteenth-Century New Brunswick,” Acadiensis, 47:2 (2018), pp.5-25.
“Canada’s First Malpractice Crisis: Medical Negligence in the Late Nineteenth Century,” Osgoode Hall Law Journal, 54:3 (2017), pp.777-803.
“Firearm ‘Rights’ in Canada: Law and History in the Debates over Gun Control,” Canadian Journal of Law & Society, 32:1 (2017), pp.97-116.
“‘Have you any recollection of what occurred at all?’: Davis v. Colchester County Hospital and the Medical Negligence in Interwar Canada,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association n.s., 26:1 (2015), pp.131-162. (first author with Magen Hudak).
“‘Possession of arms among these men … might lead to serious consequences’: Regulating Firearms in the Canadas, 1760-1867,” 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, 2013).
“The harshness and injustice of the common law rule … has frequently been commented upon”: Debating Contributory Negligence in Canada, 1900-1950,” in Dalhousie Law Journal, 36:1 (2013), pp. 137-169 (first author with Noelle Yhard).
“‘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 ContextToronto: Irwin and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2010, pp.15-42. (with Jennifer J. Llewellyn)
“‘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.
“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.
“‘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)
“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)
“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)
c) Popular / Newspaper Articles
“Canada once sold the idea that guns turned boys into men,” The Conversation Canada, 5 August 2019, https://theconversation.com/canada-once-sold-the-idea-that-guns-turned-boys-into-men-121296
“Conservatives should take lessons from Progressive Conservatives on gun control,” Vancouver Sun, 14 June 2019, https://vancouversun.com/opinion/op-ed/blake-brown-conservatives-should-take-lessons-from-progressive-conservatives-on-gun-control
“Canada’s First Medical Malpractice Crisis,” Active History, 8 May 2019, http://activehistory.ca/2019/05/canadas-first-medical-malpractice-crisis/
“Why aren’t we tougher on ‘assault-style’ firearms?,” Policy Options, 19 April 2019. http://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/april-2019/arent-tougher-assault-style-firearms-canada/
“Why Doctors are Supporting Tough Gun Regulation,” Ottawa Citizen, 25 February 2019, A7, https://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/brown-yes-doctors-have-a-vital-role-in-toughening-gun-laws
“Writing Stories about the History of Canadian Medical Malpractice Law,” Acadiensis, 4 February 2019, https://acadiensis.wordpress.com/2019/02/04/writing-stories-about-the-history-of-canadian-medical-malpractice-law/
“Should Canada ban assault-style firearms?,” The Conversation Canada, 14 January 2019, https://theconversation.com/should-canada-ban-assault-style-firearms-109536.
“Not so long ago, gun control was a bipartisan issue,” Globe and Mail, 5 September 2018, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-not-so-long-ago-gun-control-was-a-bipartisan-issue/
“Canada’s Desire for Stricter Gun Control is Rooted in our History,” Macleans Magazine, 8 August 2018, https://www.macleans.ca/history/stricter-gun-control-canada-history/
“Jury Selection and the Gerald Stanley Decision,” Active History, 16 February 2018, http://activehistory.ca/2018/02/jury-selection/
“Gun Rights in Canada: An Exchange,” Active History, 6 March 2017, http://activehistory.ca/2017/03/gun-rights-in-canada-an-exchange/#more-20985
“The ‘Right’ to Bear Arms in Canada,” Active History, 6 February 2017, http://activehistory.ca/2017/02/20743/
“Gun Rights: Hoping History Won’t Matter,” Active History, October 14, 2016, http://activehistory.ca/2016/10/gun-rights-hoping-history-wont-matter/
“Canada’s semi-tough stance on semis,” Halifax Chronicle Herald, Opinion Page, 10 June 2014.