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The Role of Women in Work and Society in the Ancient Near East

Book Description

Economic history is well documented in Assyriology, thanks to the preservation of dozens of thousands of clay tablets recording administrative operations, contracts and acts dealing with family law. Despite these voluminous sources, the topic of work and the contribution of women have rarely been addressed.
This book examines occupations involving women over the course of three millennia of Near Eastern history. It presents the various aspects of women as economic agents inside and outside of the family structure. Inside the family, women were the main actors in the production of goods necessary for everyday life. In some instances, their activities exceeded the simple needs of the household and were integrated within the production of large organizations or commercial channels. The contributions presented in this volume are representative enough to address issues in various domains: social, economic, religious, etc., from varied points of view: archaeological, historical, sociological, anthropological, and with a gender perspective.
This book will be a useful tool for historians, anthropologists, archaeologists and graduate students interested in the economy of the ancient Near East and in women and gender studies.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Foreword
  5. Acknowledgements
  6. Contents
  7. Women and Work in the Ancient Near East: An introduction
  8. Weaving, Potting, Churning: Women at work during the Uruk period
  9. Representation of Women in Mesopotamian Lexical Lists
  10. Women and Land in the Presargonic Lagaš Corpus
  11. The Role of Women in Work and Society in the Ebla Kingdom (Syria, 24th century BC)
  12. Women and Production in Sargonic Adab
  13. Professional Women and Women at Work in Mesopotamia and Syria (3rd and early 2nd millennia BC): The (rare) information from visual images
  14. Women at Work and Women in Economy and Society during the Neo-Sumerian Period
  15. The Sex-Based Division of Work versus Intersectionality: Some strategies for engendering the Ur III textile work force
  16. Women Work, Men are Professionals in the Old Assyrian Archives
  17. The Job of Sex: The social and economic role of prostitutes in ancient Mesopotamia
  18. “She is not fit for womanhood”: The Ideal Housewife According to Sumerian Literary Texts
  19. Economic Activities of nadītum-Women of Šamaš Reflected in the Field Sale Contracts (MHET II/1–6)
  20. Cherchez la femme!
  21. Economic Activities of Women According to Mari Texts (18th century BC)
  22. Women at Work in Mesopotamia: An attempt at a legal perspective
  23. Sources for the Study of the Role of Women in the Hittite Administration
  24. Work and Gender in Nuzi Society
  25. Women in Economic Agreements: Emarite sale contracts (Syria, 13th century BC)
  26. The kubuddā’u-Gift in the Emar Texts
  27. Women in Elamite Royal Inscriptions: Some observations
  28. Women and their Activities in Divinatory Texts
  29. Studying Gender: A Case study of female administrators in Neo-Assyrian palaces
  30. Historiography on Studies Dedicated to Women and Economy during the Neo-Babylonian Period
  31. Invisible Workers: The role of women in textile production during the 1st millennium BC
  32. Economic Activities of Women in 1st Millennium Babylonia
  33. Beauty Experts: Female perfume-makers in the 1st millennium BC
  34. Women and Prebends in Seleucid Uruk
  35. Women and the Economic History of the Ancient Greek World: Still a challenge for gender studies
  36. Index of professions and activities
  37. Endnotes