What Can We Learn from a Family Law Course? The Teachings of an Early 20th Century Italian Professor
In di Renzo Villata (ed.), Family Law and Society in Europe from medieval to contemporary Ages, Studies in the History of Law and Justice, Springer, 2016 Forthcoming
13 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2016
Date Written: February 3, 2016
This article aims to explore the concept of the family in Italian legal thought from the end of the 19th century up to the first fifteen years of the 20th century. Focus is placed on a source which has been largely untapped by historiographers, namely the lecture notes from law courses taught at Italian universities. Specifically, this article shall examine the lecture notes which recorded the teachings of Alfredo Ascoli (1863-1942), an eminent jurist who held professorships of Italian Private Law at the University of Pavia and Bocconi University in Milan during the period under examination. Ascoli was also a co-founder of the law journal Rivista di diritto civile (1909), as well as a future member of the Royal Commission for the Post-war period (1917).
The Italian Civil Code of 1865 struggled in many ways to meet the needs of a society that had already embarked upon the path of industrialization. At the same time, many Italian jurists were seeking new solutions in order to reform the legal method. By examining the teaching of law, it is possible to evaluate not only the state of teaching methodologies at the time, but also the extent to which the era’s profound social and economic changes were being dealt with in university lecture halls, where the country’s future ruling class received their education.
Keywords: Family Law (history); Legal Education; Legal Studies
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