Bruzzi (Silvia)

Silvia Bruzzi (Università di Padova), “Women’s personal status, political participation and colonial citizenship in Libya (1920s-1930s)”

Historians of colonial law have pointed out that from the earliest years of the European colonial occupation in Africa, the idea of a differential system of law (a legal dualism) was imposed: one for European citizens and one for the colonial subject, in matter of family law, personal status and inheritance. Customary and Islamic laws should have been applied to colonial subjects according to their personal status and custom, with the idea of fixing, not making them subject to change and preserving “local tradition”. However, in the praxis this differential juridical system was constantly challenged by mobility process and juridical pluralism in auge as it emerges in Libya.  In spite of the general provision that was given to the Italian administrators and magistrates not to interfere in the Libyan family law, in the ordinary practices, they were asked to intervene also on matters of personal status, family relations, marriages, successions, and all relations of private law.  Women’s personal status law was a political issue for competing juridical authorities on the ground. In this condition of juridical pluralism, Libyan women perpetrated a practice – already observed in the Ottoman space – that saw them enjoying a legal capacity that allowed them to strategically present themselves before different forums (from colonial courts to Islamic courts or other local authorities) to make requests for resources, for the annulment of recognition of contracts they had signed, for maintenance in case of divorce and child custody. The recognition of Libyan women personal status laws was deeply related to questions of citizenship, and thus to political participation.

سيلفيا بروزي جامعة بادوفا

الأحوال الشخصية للمرأة والمشاركة السياسية والمواطنة الاستعمارية في ليبيا (من 1920 إلى 1930)

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