We are interested in proposing a panel at AJS tentatively titled “Women and Jewish Legal Culture in the Early Modern Mediterranean." We are interested in investigating the ways in which Jewish legal texts and genres framed and addressed women and women's issues. Jewish women’s formal status in the early modern Mediterranean was most often defined by male-dominated leadership. Nevertheless, glimpses of women’s voices and experiences can be uncovered from the legalistic texts that address their status. Moreover, through these sources, we are able to get at rabbinic expectations and assumptions about women, and the ways in which they were honored in the breach.
The two papers thus far affiliated with this panel address early modern responsa and taqqanot from the Mediterranean, and the ways they frame women as regarded their relationships, families, financial arrangements and role expectations. We are seeking another panelist whose work addresses Jewish legal texts and the ways in which they offer insight into the lives of early modern Jewish women, or into the construction of womanhood by the rabbinic authors of the texts.
We are looking for a third panelist whose work intersects with the two current papers. Please get in touch with us, at the addresses below.
Rebecca Wartell (CU Boulder) Rebecca.Wartell@colorado.edu
Rena Lauer (Oregon State University) Rena.Lauer@oregonstate.edu