1st Edition

Gender, Law and Material Culture Immobile Property and Mobile Goods in Early Modern Europe

Edited By Annette Cremer Copyright 2021
    306 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    306 Pages 36 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This interdisciplinary volume discusses the division of the early modern material world into the important legal, economic, and personal categories of mobile and immobile property, possession, and the rights to usufruct.

    The chapters describe and compare different modes of acquisition and intergenerational transfer via law and custom. The varying perspectives, including cultural history, legal history, social and economic history, philosophy, and law, allow for a more nuanced understanding of the links between the movability of an object and the gender of the person who owned, possessed, or used it. Case studies and examples come from a wide geographical range, including Norway, England, Scotland, the Holy Roman Empire, Italy, Tyrol, the Ottoman Empire, Greece, Romania, and the European colonies in Brazil and Jamaica. By covering both urban and rural areas and exploring all social groups, from ruling elites to the lower strata of society, the chapters offer fresh insight into the division of mobile and immobile property that socially and economically posed disadvantages for women.

    By exploring a broad scope of topics, including landownership, marriage contracts, slaveholding, and the dowry, this book is an essential resource for both researchers and students of women’s history, social and economic history, and material culture.

    Part 1: Introduction: men, women, property, law, and custom 

    1. Gender, law, and material culture

    Annette Caroline Cremer

    2. Early modern political philosophy on rights of ownership

    Amelie Stuart

    Part 2: Gifts, symbolic values, and strategies

    3. Landed property as marital gifts: women and landownership in fifteenth-century Norway

    Susann Anett Pedersen

    4. Married women's testaments: division and distribution of movable property in seventeenth-century Glasgow

    Rebecca Mason

    5. Hybrid legal cultures among the early modern Tyrolean nobility: marriage contracts and the symbolic value of assets

    Siglinde Clementi

    Part 3: Women's access to immobile property

    6. Fenced in or out? Women and landownserhip in early modern southern Tyrol

    Janine Maegraith

    7. Women, land and usufruct in the eighteenth-century Ottoman Empire: a case study of Vidin and Antakya

    Fatma Gül Karagöz

    Part 4: Women, law and property in colonial contexts

    8. In her own right: gender, slaveholding, and movable goods in colonial Jamaica

    Christine Walker

    9. Land, slaves, and honour: women's ownership and possession in colonial Brazil (Paraíba) 

    Luisa Stella de Oliveira Coutinho Silva

    Part 5: Women and property in transitory zones

    10. Women and movable goods in a maritime border economy in nineteenth-century Sicily (Aeolian Islands)

    Ida Fazio

    11. Stamp duty and the transformation of the dowry in nineteenth-century Greece

    Evdoxios Doxiadis

    12. Starting a married life: women and goods in the mid-nineteenth-century Romanian towns of Piteși and Câmpulung

    Nicoleta Roman

    Part 6: Synthesis

    13. Movable goods and immovable property: interrelated perspectives

    Margareth Lanzinger


    Annette Caroline Cremer is an assistant professor in the history faculty at Giessen University, Germany. She has published several books in the fields of material culture research, European cultural history in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, court culture, and gender history.