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Women and Dower Property in Twentieth-Century Palestine: the Case of Jabal Nablus

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An analysis of legal texts, marriage contracts, divorce registrations, court cases, and women's narratives points to a shift in women's access to dower property in Jabal Nablus, Palestine, between the 1930s and the 1980s. This shift is related to transformations in property relations and changing attitudes toward the meaning of gender. As husbands increasingly have come to be viewed as "providers," women have lost access to, and control over, dower property. At the same time, ambiguities and contradictions in the sources suggest that the trend toward conjugality and female dependency is neither complete nor a direct expression of women's greater subordination to men. Different categories of women take up different positions. Some women regard "giving up property" as an advantage.

Affiliations: 1: Leiden University, University of Amsterdam


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