Fall 2018 - HS 441 D100

Women, Property, and the Law in the Mediterranean (4)

Class Number: 6592

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 8:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    RCB 7101, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Examines the relationship between women and law through a focus on the question of property from the ancient world to the modem period and through a comprehensive examination of the Roman, Judaic, Christian, Islamic as well as modern legal traditions. Students with credit for HIST 441 may not take HS 441 for further credit.


This course will consider the broad question of women and law in the Mediterranean region through a close examination of the issues relating to property over the centuries. Starting with ancient Greece and Rome we will work our way to the present and cover Byzantine law, Judaic law, Canon law, customary law, Islamic law, up to the development of modern Civil and Criminal codes. We will examine both the theoretical aspects of law as they pertain to women in general, and women and property in particular, including such questions as inheritance, control of property, marital rights over property, divorce, and so on, and move on to a comparative examination of how women fared in the various cultures of the Mediterranean over the centuries. The course does not require knowledge in Law or gender history though a broad knowledge of the history of the Mediterranean world (or European and/or Middle Eastern history) can be useful.


  • Class Participation 15%
  • Reading Responses 15%
  • Book Presentation 10%
  • Book Review 20%
  • Final Paper 40%


Schedule of Classes

1. Introduction, Women and Law in Ancient Times
2. Law and Religion: Judaism and Early Christianity
3. Justinian and Roman Law
4. A New Law: the Rise of Islam
5. The Law in Medieval Times
6. Did Women have a Renaissance?
7. The Ottoman Polyphony
8. European Law before the Revolution
9. Enlightenment and Revolution
10. The Napoleonic Code: Patriarchy Restored
11. The Long 19th Century
12. Law, Nationalism, and Modernity— the 20th Century



There is no assigned textbook. All required readings will be available on Canvas or at the library.

Registrar Notes:

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