Degree course: 
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Course type: 
Supplementary compulsory subjects
Second semester
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Lesson (35 hours)

For a profitably attendance of the course it is necessary to have acquired a good knowledge of the fundamental institutions of private law and public law.

The learning assessment method consists of an oral exam, with the final mark out of thirty, concerning the entire program of the course. For the assessment of learning, the final grade is expressed in thirtieths and takes into account the accuracy and quality of the answers (50%), the capacity for critical evaluation and argumentation (30%), as well as the ownership of language (20% ). Students wishing to write a term paper, replacing the oral exam, can request one of the course topics from the professor in class.

Voto Finale

The Course is part of the initiatives of the UNESCO Chair: "Gender Equality and Women's Rights in the Multicultural Society" and aims to provide students with an introduction to the tools of investigation of legal anthropology and comparative law to better understand the role of law, both public and private, in the current multicultural society.
The common thread is that of the analysis of equality and difference in the various stages of evolution of human society and in different current regulatory contexts. In this perspective, the course aims to offer students a framework for the major issues of equality, difference and discrimination, both from a cultural point of view and from a legal point of view, with particular reference to women and gender.
The course aims first at identifying the phenomena that led to the cultural construction of the differences from an anthropological point of view. It will then provide the student with the cultural background to understand the role of public and private law in consolidating these differences during the various historical periods taken into consideration. It will finally analyze the role that the law can play today in removing those differences and discriminations.

In a first part, the course offers the student an introduction to legal anthropology, as a discipline aimed at studying the role of law (norms, practices, symbologies, facts with legal implications) in the Antiquity, as well as today in distant populations, characterized by an oral culture and a 'simple' social organization.
The tools of legal anthropology will be in particular applied to the study of the phenomena that led to the division of roles between men and women. Forms of patriarchy as well as matriarchy will be analyzed. Some practices, such as genital mutilation, will be studied from an anthropological point of view, highlighting their current relevance in some cultural contexts and the reactions of the law in some legal systems.
In a second part, the study of gender differences will then be addressed in a comparative perspective, with regard to the evolution of women's rights in different European contexts (Italy, France, Great Britain), as well as in some other extra-European legal systems of reference. In particular, the legal system of the United States will be analyzed, where the presence of specific problems with regard to race and gender have generated interesting theories regarding the so-called "Intersectionality", a term which describes the overlap (or "intersection") of different social identities and the relative possible particular discriminations. The study of the United States legal system will be addressed together with Prof. Tanya Hernandez, a visiting professor at Fordham University in New York. As regards the Asian legal systems, the legal systems of China and India will be examined.
Finally, the student will be introduced to the themes related to the advent of the multicultural society, in which norms, institutes and traditions circulate with migratory flows and in which international law develops forms of protection for women at a supranational level.

Part I: Introduction to legal anthropology: 1. Legal anthropology as a tool to delve into the surface of law: The cultural and / or symbolic foundations that a given community deems indispensable for its own destiny 2. Birth of homo erectus and the differences between genres 3. The cultural creation of “gender” 4. The rites of passage and the construction of femininity 5. Matriarchies of the past and of the present

Part II - The evolution of women's rights within the European framework: 1.The evolution of women's rights in Italy: from the 1865 code to the advent of the First World War 2. Adultery and the Italian woman in literature: “Senso” by Camillo Boito 3. Fascism and the new concept of "masculinity " and" femininity "in Italy 4. The Constitution of 1948 and the principle of equality: formal equality between man and woman 5. The reforms of the 1960s and 1970s: towards a concept of substantial equality 6. Evolution of women's rights in France: Olympe de Gouges and the “Declaration of women's and citizen's rights” (1793) 7. The French Civil Code and the status of women 8. The Pénal Code and the relevance of adultery 9. Adultery between law and literature: "Madame Bovary" by Flaubert and "Thèrese Raquin" by Zola 10. The first achievements and the evolution of customs and fashion 11. The introduction of women's suffrage 12. The evolution of women's rights in Great Britain : the situation of women under the Marriage Act of 1753 12. Mary Wollstonecraft and the rivendication of Women's Rights (1792) 13. John Stuart Mill and “The Unfair Submission of Women” (1869) 14. The Situation of Women in England in the Mirror of Literature: Daniel Dafoe (Moll Flanders, 1722) Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice, 1817) and Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre, 1847) 15. The suffragette movement, the right to vote and the achievements of the 20th century.

Part III - The emancipation of the American woman: when discrimination is against gender and race
1. Gender discrimination and race discrimination 2. The empowerment of the black population. 3. The civil war and the new amendments to the Constitution 4. Plessy v. Ferguson and the principle Equal but separate 5. Rollins v. Alabama: when the others were us 6. Brown v. Topeka Board of Education and racial desegregation 7. Angela Davis and women's African American activism 8. Black women emancipation: the literary case of Toni Morrison 9. The recent film production: "Hidden Figures" ("The right to count") ) by Theodore Melfi; "The Help" by Tate Taylor. 10. New investigation tools to identify the phenomena of discrimination (with Prof. Tanya Hernandez).

Part IV - The evolution of women's rights in some non-European contexts: the case of China and India
1. The woman in China. 2. Traditional Chinese law and the role of women in society. 3. Ancient practices and ancient traditions: bandaged feet and arranged marriages 4. Twentieth century reforms 5. Mao and the principle of equality 6. Family planning, the one-child policy and its concrete impact on Chinese society: the missing daughters of China 7. The woman in India 8. Traditional Hindu law, the caste system and the role of women in society 9. The Mughal invasion and the impact of the British Raj 10. Child marriage and Children's marriage prohibition Act 11. The status of widows and the Hindu widow remarriage Act 12. Women missing gender inequality: the debate revived by Amartya Sen

Part V - The woman in the multicultural society
1. The protection of women in the international context: The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women of the United Nations 2. The migrant woman in the multicultural society 3. The "new" cultural crimes 4. Cultural defenses and cultural exiles 5. The US experience 6. The Canadian experience 6. The European experience

From time to time, on the e-learning platform slides and materials related to each lesson will be made available (readings and other materials), which constitute the material on which the final test will take place.
For those interested in broader reading on legal anthropology, there is a translation into French of the work by Rodolfo Sacco: , Anthropologie juridique. Apport à une macro-histoire du droit, Dalloz, 2008.
For issues related to gender difference, students interested in learning more about these issues should note:
Françoise Héritier, Male and female. The thought of difference, Laterza, 2002;
Simone de Beauvoir, The second sex, Spark Publishing, 2014;
Judith Butler, Gender Trouble. Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, Routledge, 2010.
Luce Irigaray, Speculum of the other woman, Cornell University Press, 1985.
Catharine A. MacKinnon, Are Women Human ?, Harvard University Press Paperback, 2007.


The course adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the subject, involving students:
1. in the critical analysis of some famous jurisprudential cases,
2. in reading some important literary texts, which highlight the figure of women in different regulatory contexts,
3. in the vision of some films that represent women of different cultures and the different conceptions of law in relation to them.

The course is part of the initiatives of the UNESCO Chair: "Gender Equality and Women's Rights in the Multicultural Society".
This year a Film Festival dedicated to those women who said “NO” in History ( "Le disobedienti") is is part of the same initiative. The Film Festival will begin in October and will award 5 credits to attending students, subject to final verification.
A visiting professor from the United States, Professor Tanya Hernandez (Fordham University - New York) will take part to the initiative with a series of conferences.