Posted on October 19, 2012
The College of Liberal Arts congratulates Dr. Marie Kelleher (HIST) for winning the 2012 American Historical Association’s Premio del Rey book prize for The Measure of Woman: Law and Female Identity in the Crown of Aragon (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010). The American Historical Association awards the Premio Del Rey biennially for a distinguished book in English in the field of early Spanish history.
In The Measure of Woman Dr. Kelleher explores the complex relationship between women and legal culture in Spain’s Crown of Aragon during the late medieval period. Aragonese courts measured women according to three factors: their status in relation to men, their relative sexual respectability, and their conformity to ideas about the female sex as a whole. Yet in spite of this situation, Kelleher argues, women were able to play a crucial role in shaping their own legal identities while working within the parameters of the written law.
The Measure of Woman reveals that women were not passive recipients—or even victims—of the legal system. Rather, medieval women actively used the conceptual vocabulary of the law, engaging with patriarchal legal assumptions as part of their litigation strategies. In the process, they played an important role in the formation of a gendered legal culture that would shape the lives of women throughout Western Europe and beyond for centuries to come.
View the book’s full description and table of contents at The University of Pennsylvania Press.