Upcoming Events

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

""“Policing the Pandemic: Counter Mapping the Expansion of COVID-19 Enforcement Across Canada”
Alex Luscombe, Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto, and Alexander McClelland, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa

The Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies is co-sponsoring this installment of The Ethics of COVID, the Centre for Ethics’ interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.


Across Canada, there has been an extraordinary scaling-up of police powers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although initially, the idea circulated that COVID-19 impacted all people equally, this notion was quickly dispelled as the race and class dynamics of the pandemic became apparent. Concerned that these same dynamics would shape the application of laws and policing practices designed to contain illness, on April 4 2020, we began to monitor COVID-related police incidents across the country. Our project, called the Policing the Pandemic Mapping Project, has quickly grown into a living data repository of publicly accessible information and commentary about the emergent impacts of police responses to COVID-19. In this talk, we will reflect on the major findings of this project so far, situating them in a broader conversation about policing, inequality, and the criminalization of communicable disease. Particular attention will be paid to the dual crises currently faced by marginalized and racialized people across Canada, the crisis of COVID and the crisis of policing.

This is an online event. It will be live streamed on the Centre for Ethics YouTube Channel at 3pm, Monday, May 4. Channel subscribers will receive a notification at the start of the live stream.

Register on Eventbrite


Past Events

Monday, May 4th, 2020

“Expertise and Objectivity in Crisis: A Historical Perspective (The Ethics of COVID)”
Catherine Evans, Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto

The Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies is co-sponsoring this installment of The Ethics of COVID, the Centre for Ethics’ interdisciplinary series of online events featuring short video takes on the ethical dimensions of the COVID crisis.

Thursday March 12th, 2020

winter 2020 individual copy_Page_4 - Copy“Racial bias and judging: spotlight on the R.D.S. case, 1993-97”
Constance Backhouse, Professor of Law, University of Ottawa

Download March 12 Poster PDF

Wednesday March 4th, 2020

“Syndicate women: gender and networks in Chicago organized crime”
Chris Smith, Assistant Professor, Sociology, UTM

Thursday February 27th, 2020

“The punitive turn in Latin America: Theoretical and comparative perspectives”
Maximo Sozzo, Professor, Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Argentina

Wednesday February 26th, 2020

“Labour in hard times: labour activists in the European Court of Human Rights”
Filiz Kahraman, Assistant Professor, Political Science, U of T

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

“Criminalized in our own lands? Asserting Indigenous and Afro-Descendant law and rights over gold in the context of Colombia’s violent armed conflict, implications for legal pluralism”

VAW feb12

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1:00 – 2:00pm, Room 265, 14 Queen’s Park Cres West

Dr. Viviane A. Weitzner, Postdoctoral Researcher, Centre for Indigenous Conservation and Development Alternatives, McGill University

Drawing on 10 years of engaged ethnography with Indigenous and Afro-Descendant peoples in Colombia whose lands are rich in gold, this presentation examines the “social minefields” (Rodriguez-Garavito 2010) that emerge when overlapping and contested normative frameworks come into contact over regulating access to gold in the context of violent armed conflict. More specifically, I examine the efforts of the Embera Chamí Indigenous people of the Resguardo Indígena Cañamomo Lomaprieta in Caldas and the Black Communities of the Palenke Alto Cauca to exercise their own laws and self-government; to assert their right to free, prior and informed consent; and to hold up their own self-named “ancestral gold mining” as legitimate and legal in the face of state criminalization of this livelihood activity that predates the formation of the Colombian state. Anchoring my analysis in my collaborators’ perspectives, I show the violent effects of asserting territorial and regulatory control over gold in a context where the Colombian state is looking to large-scale gold mining as an engine of national economic growth; while criminal armed actors fuelling Colombia’s conflict also covet gold mining for laundering narcotrafficking proceeds and extracting profits. In this landscape permeated by the “raw economy” (Mbembe 2012), I offer new insights into the theory and praxis of legal pluralities. I make visible what I call “raw law”—namely the codes, norms and sanctions of criminal armed actors, working often in connivance with state representatives—and examine the “contact zone” (Santos 2002) of disputed legalities through the lens of time.

Monday, February 3rd, 2020

“Nuclear Weapons and the Unsettling of Sovereignty in the Marshall Islands, 1944-1963”

MXM feb3

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1:00 – 2:00pm, Room 265, 14 Queen’s Park Cres West

Dr. Mary X. Mitchell, Assistant Professor of History, Purdue University

Between 1946 and 1958, the Marshall Islands became a critical center of the United States’ nuclear weapons program. The United States detonated its largest and most powerful nuclear bombs in Indigenous lands and waters, offshoring the mass-scale violence and risk of its signal weapons. The Marshall Islands, however, were not a part of US territory. Working through the United Nations, US diplomats engineered a sui generis international status—strategic trusteeship—into which it placed Pacific islands seized from Japan during World War II. The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands became a novel, anomalous legal zone of US empire uniquely tied to both nuclear weapons and international law and institutions. This paper explores how this new, yet indeterminate status redefined relationships between sovereignty, territory, and jurisdiction before the worldwide cessation of US atmospheric nuclear blasting in 1963. Drawing on archival research in activists’ records, court files, United Nations records, Trust Territory records, and US government agency collections, the paper traces Islanders’ legal actions across three different forums. It examines how Islanders’ claims over damage to their bodies, ancestral atolls, and ways of life exposed the emerging contours of strategic trusteeship and the boundaries of their belonging in national and international legal and political systems.

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

“Insult and Injury in Refugee Status Decision-Making: The Limits and Promise of Justification”

HEC jan29

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1:00 – 2:00pm, Room 265, 14 Queen’s Park Cres West

Dr. Hilary Evans Cameron, Lecturer, ‘Ethics, Society and Law’ Program, Trinity College; Adjunct Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School

An adjudicator risks causing two kinds of harm in rejecting a refugee claimant’s testimony. They will cause insult if they conclude for indefensible reasons that the claimant is lying, and injury if they deny protection to a person who needs it. In this paper, Dr. Evans Cameron argues, based on her research into the legal environment in which refugee status decisions are made, that how the courts evaluate such credibility findings reveals an important limitation of judicial review. When courts review these kinds of findings, the judges’ express aim is to prevent insult. When the courts’ judgments do prevent injury, it is largely by happenstance. Evans Cameron suggests that another kind of process is better suited to trying to prevent injury, one that shares with judicial review its central concern with questions of justification: the process of shoring up with stronger normative foundations the legal structures that guard against false rejections. She arrives at this conclusion by drawing together findings from her recent study of the Canadian Refugee Board’s decisions; her earlier investigations into its adjudicators’ credibility inferences; and the central argument of her recent book (Refugee Law’s Fact-finding Crisis: Truth, Risk, and the Wrong Mistake 2018) – and by considering along the way whether there is a downside to helping adjudicators to write reasonable decisions; the relationship between trustworthiness and probability; and the value of kindness in legal decision-writing.

Monday, January  27th, 2020

“Politics Gone Missing: Disappearance, Containment and Flight in Contemporary Brazil”

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1:00 – 2:00pm, Room 265, 14 Queen’s Park Cres West

Dr. Graham Denyer Willis, Senior Lecturer, Centre of Development Studies and Centre of Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge

Every year, 20-25,000 people are reported missing in São Paulo, Brazil. Many are found. Many others are not. In this talk I examine how contemporary disappearance operates as a political condition and a mode of containment. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in cemeteries, public institutions and with families of the missing, as well as documents from an organised crime group, I trace how political disappearance is both new, and nothing of the sort. I aim to show that the rapid acceleration of disappearance and flight on remade terms is increasingly unmistakeable in the material paradigm of mundane but ‘clandestine’ cemeteries. The spatial remaking of cemeteries, something that has only happened, historically, in the midst of major structural and epistemic change, implies a distinctive regime of knowledge, borders and global political ordering.

Thursday, November 28th, 2019

“The Sexual Politics of Anti-Trafficking Discourse”

The 2019 John Ll. J. Edwards Lecture featuring Professor Prabha Kotiswaran (King’s College London)

RSVP: edwards2019.eventbrite.ca

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Edwards Lecture 2019 poster. Click for screen readable PDF


Almost twenty years since the negotiation of the Palermo Protocol on Trafficking, anti-trafficking law and discourse continue to be in a state of flux and dynamic evolution. The anti-trafficking field has gone from an early almost exclusive, preoccupation with sex work to addressing exploitation in varied labour sectors, reflected in the mainstreaming of the term ‘modern slavery’. Correspondingly, scholars and activists are going beyond the criminal law to propose alternate forms of regulation as manifest in human rights, labour and development approaches to trafficking. These trends would suggest a reduced focus on the nature of the work performed and a greater focus on the conditions under which it is performed. We could therefore expect that all forms of extreme labour exploitation whether in sex work or fishing or cotton cultivation would attract the equal application of anti-trafficking law. This is sadly not the case as cultures of ‘sex work exceptionalism’ persist and are gaining strength around the world. In my lecture, I ask why. I interrogate the sexual politics of anti-trafficking discourse by revisiting its contentious history. I examine what the expanded understanding of trafficking has meant for feminist theorising and mobilising on sex work and trafficking and how sex workers’ groups have responded. I explore the terrains on which feminists, sex workers, conservatives and left-progressive movements engage with each other and with the state and which alliances have been brokered successfully and which ones have failed to materialise. Importantly, I question what this has meant for long-term struggles for a politics of redistribution within the sex sector. I conclude by reflecting on how anti-trafficking campaigns play out in postcolonial contexts and what this means for retheorising the sexual politics of anti-trafficking discourse.

The annual Edwards Memorial Lecture is delivered in honour of the Centre’s founder, Professor John Ll. J. Edwards. This public lecture is presented by The Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, the Faculty of Law, and Woodsworth College, University of Toronto.

If you are a person with a disability and require accommodation, please contact Lori Wells at 416-946-5824 or email lori.wells@utoronto.ca and we will do our best to make appropriate arrangements.

Monday, October 28th, 2019


“The politics of immigration detention in Spain and in Canada”
Speaker: Dr. Ana Ballesteros Pena, Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto & ECRIM Research Group, Faculty of Law, University of A Coruña, Spain

“Prison is not a home: homelessness and the prison as a zone of abandonment”
Speaker: Dr. David Scott, Open University (UK)

Moderator: Dr. Audrey Macklin, Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies

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Friday, October 4th, 2019

“From prison democracy to prison bureaucracy: the movement to organize imprisoned labourers in the United States”

  • Speaker: Amanda Hughett, Baldy Centre for Law and Social Policy, SUNY Buffalo
  • Commentator: David Scott, Open University (UK)
  • Moderator: Ayobami Laniyonu, Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto

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Seminar October 4

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

Collection of colourful hard-hatsTown Hall Meeting – New Academic Building

 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Kruger Hall, Woodsworth College

119 St. George Street Toronto, ON M5S 1A9

Come out to a town hall meeting to learn about the new academic building planned for Woodworth College, the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies (CrimSL), and the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources (CIRHR). You will have the chance to comment on a schematic design approved by a Steering Committee formed with representatives from Woodsworth, CrimSL and the CIRHR.

  1. Welcome and Introductions – Carol Chin, Principal
  2. Brief Project Overview – Jacquanline Liu, Project Manager, University Planning, Design & Construction
  3. Project Presentation – Alar Kongats, kongats architects
  4. Q & A
About the project:

Woodsworth College and two of its partnering Centres are coming closer together through the devlopment of a new academic building in the Woodworth College precinct, which will build upon the academic and intellectual synergy of the College and the two Centres.

  • Development across the precinct will take the form of infill and strategic demolition. This first phase of the project will require demolition of the Drill Hall portion of 119 St George Street building, the current location of the Kruger Hall event and student space.
  • Among the constraints/ opportunities are the heritage elements of the historic buildings on the site and the much-coveted opened spaces.
  • The architectural vision of the project is to preserve the heritage fabric, open space and cohesive nature of its design; this vision is expanded upon under ‘Heritage status’. The new building must preserve the cloister-like connection to the courtyard, and step back with appropriate massing.
  • The first three levels of student and event space, in particular the main floor, must feel open, inviting and light-filled. Upper level floors should be designed to take advantage of new views of the courtyard, and along St George Street and minimize visual connection to Innis Residence immediately south of the site.

Saturday, September 28th, 2019
Please click through for screen readable version

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First Law of the Land: Sharing from the Great Dish

10:00 am–12:00 pm
Isabel Bader Theatre (Victoria College, 93 Charles Street West)

This event is open to the public – members of Indigenous communities are most welcome. Please RSVP on Eventbrite, or to jacq.briggs@mail.utoronto.ca or chandra.murdoch@mail.utoronto.ca so we can estimate numbers.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Dr. Gail Super, “’Three warnings and you’re out’ : banishment and precarious penality in South Africa’s informal settlements”

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Friday March 8, 2019

2019 Graduate Student Conference: Borders and Barriers: Understanding Criminalization and Challenges to Human Rights

Monday, February 11, 2019

Dr. Stacy Douglas, “The Mourning After: Crisis, Law, Politics”

Please click through for screen-readable version.Douglas feb11_Poster 2

Friday, February 1, 2019

Dr. Sida Liu, “Performing Artivism: Feminists, Lawyers, and Online Mobilization in China”

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liu feb1_Poster 2

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Dr. Vincent Chiao, “Criminal Law in the Age of the Administrative State”

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Chiao jan17_Poster 2


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Dr. Ellen Berrey, “Rights on Trial: How U.S. Workplace Discrimination Law Perpetuates Inequality”

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berrey dec 6 poster

Friday, November 30, 2018

“Thinking about guilt and responsibility” A forum with Professor Alan Norrie.

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Nov30 forum-updated (002)

Friday, November 23, 2018

Dr. Mark Anthony Geraghty, “Gacaca, Genocide, Genocide Ideology: The Violent Aftermaths of Transitional Justice in the New Rwanda”

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geraghty talk nov 23 poster

Monday, November 19, 2018

Senator Murray Sinclair will present the 2018 John Ll. J. Edwards Lecture “The Accidental Jurist: Thoughts on a life in the law”

Please click through for screen-readable version.Edwards lecture 2018 final web

Friday, October 26, 2018

Dr. Ashley Rubin, “The Deviant Prison: Eastern State Penitentiary and the Advantage of Difference, 1829–1913”

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rubin oct 26 poster_Poster 3

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Diversity Our Strength? What Ford’s Attack on Toronto City Council Means for Diversity and Inclusion

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Diversity Our Strength Poster (003)

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Rose(s) that Grew From Concrete: Conversations with Former Gang Members about Violence, Trauma and Policy Options

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Friday, September 14:

Dr. David Howes, “Sensational Jurisprudence: Law and the Governance of the Senses”

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Howes sept 14_Poster 2

July 12: Lunchtime Seminar by Chris Giacomantonio

Chris Giacomantonio poster click through for full textPlease click through for screen-readable version.

July 6: Talk by Francisco Valencia

Francisco Valencia eventFrancisco Valencia, the head of a Venezuelan NGO called CODEVIDA (Coalition of Associations for the Right to Health and Life), will give a talk about the healthcare crisis in Venezuela, and about his work as a human rights activist.
Canadiana Gallery room 160
Friday, July 6, 2018
5:00-7:00 pm

Broken Bail: Reform in Ontario A panel Discussion

Catherine Evans-page-001

Anver Emon-page-001

Jamie Rowen-page-001

Sean Columb-page-001


Gavin Slade-page-001

Bill McCarthy-page-001

FINAL Edwards2017Email_Oct5-1-page-001

John Pratt Oct 11-1-page0001

Roundtable Sept22-3-page-001

Sept 21 Innis event No Justice, No Peace!-page-001


Book Launch
Provisional Authority:
Police, Order, and Security in India

Beatrice cover

By Beatrice Jauregui
Assistant Professor
Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies
Download Poster

april talk

2017 Kornfeld Poster Red REVISED

Brabazon Neoliberal Legality Book Launch U of T B-1-1



FRIDAY March 10

Centre for Criminology &
Sociolegal Studies Graduate
Student Conference 2017:
Surveillance, Resistance,
& [In]Justice
in a Time
of Unrest

FRIDAY March 17

Monthly Crime, Law,
and Punishment (CLP) Salon

valverde book

Tuesday, February 14

Traumatic Brain Injury among People in Prison

Lecture by Dr. Flora I. Matheson

Monday, March 27

“The Way Forward: The Work of the TPS Transformational Task Force”

Sgt. James Hogan, Toronto Police Service

Friday February 3
3:30pm to 5:30pm

“Prosecuting HIV: Is it a Crime to have Sex without Disclosing?”

A Panel Discussion with

  • Maureen Owino, Director, Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment
  • Ryan Peck, Executive Director, HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic of Ontario
  • Amy Swiffen, Sociology Department, Concordia University, and Visiting Professor at the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies
  • Chris Tatham, Sociology Department, University of Toronto
  • Moderator: Audrey Macklin, Director, Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies

Thursday January 26

“The Trump-Russia Nexus:
the Evidence, the Significance,
and the Consequences”

A panel discussion with

  • Prof. Peter Solomon
  • Prof. Leon Kosals
  • Prof. Matthew Light

Real Queer? Seminar on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Canadian Immigration Policy & Law

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“Mafiocracy: Organized crime and politics in Albania”

Lecture by Dr. Fabian Zhilla (Harvard)

MONDAY November 28
Ericson Seminar Room

2nd Floor, Canadiana Gallery

A Public Forum on Race, Policing and Black Lives Matter (October 2016)

Featured speakers included:

  • Marques Banks (Black Movement-Law Project)
  • Anthony Morgan (Human Rights/Public Interest Lawyer, Falconers LLP)
  • Idil Abdillahi (Ryerson, Social Work)
  • Ravyn Wngz, (Black Lives Matter Toronto)
  • Moderated by Akwasi Owusu-Bempah (University of Toronto, Sociology)

The Criminalization of Indigenous Peoples, Lecture by Dr. Lisa Monchalin
(October 2016)
photo of lecture audience

Twists, Turns, and Trends: Exploring Intersections Between Migration and the Law (March 2016)

Speakers: Christina Clark-Kazak (Glendon/York Centre for Refugee Studies), Audrey Macklin (UTG Law & Human Rights), Michelle Buckley (UTSC Human Geography) and Laura Bisaillon (UTSC Anthropology/Criminology & Sociolegal Studies)
Discussant: Donna Gabaccia (UTSC Historical & Cultural Studies)

Imprisonment in the U.S. in the era of “Black Lives Matter” (August 2015)

A Summer Event at the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies

John Edwards Lecture (March 2015)

Professor Irwin Cotler — “The Omnibus Criminal (in) Justice Agenda: Whither Parliament, the Courts and the Charter”

Watch the video