Fall 2021 - HIST 441 D100

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

Class Number: 4363

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 8 – Dec 7, 2021: Wed, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • 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 modem legal traditions. Students with credit for HS 441 may not take HIST 441 for further credit.


Description: 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.

Schedule of Classes
  • Introduction, Women and Law in Ancient Times
  • Law and Religion: Judaism and early Christianity.
  • Justinian and Roman law.
  • A new Law: the rise of Islam
  • The Law in Medieval Times
  • Did Women have a Renaissance?
  • The Ottoman Polyphony
  • European Law before the French Revolution
  • Enlightenment and Revolution
  • The Napoleonic Code: Patriarchy Restored
  • The long 19th century
  • Law, Nationalism, and Modernity – the 20th century


  • Class attendance and participation 15%
  • Responses 15%
  • Presentations 20%
  • Book Review 20%
  • Final Paper 30%



The course does not have a textbook and all required readings will be available on Canvas or at the library.

Registrar Notes:


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Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.