53513 - History of Modern and Contemporary Law

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Moduli: Damigela Hoxha (Modulo 1) Damigela Hoxha (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Ravenna
  • Corso: Single cycle degree programme (LMCU) in Law (cod. 9233)

Learning outcomes

Contemporary lawyers would be perhaps more willing to swear on the Civil Code than on the Bible, but aspiring jurists must bear in mind that Codification was not the inevitable outcome of History. On the contrary, Codification is an idea, developed in rather different fields: from civil law to criminal law, to constitutional law. Students are therefore called to understand that it is only a possible answer to the quest for legal certainty shared by every society. The course will focus on how the idea of Codification rose, triumphed and, perchance, declined, beginning with the crisis of Ius Commune in the 16th century and ending with the contemporary puzzlement of jurists. Codification will be dealt with as related to civil law as well as to criminal or constitutional law: the aim of lectures will not be short-sighted sciolism on loads of examples of codes, but the understanding of an idea. As such, attention will be especially paid to what codes and constitutions are not supposed to be.

In the end of course the student knows critically the cultural foundations and the distinctive caracters of the legal culture of the modern and contemporary ages (secc. XVII-XX).

He acquires a good knowledge of the age of the ius commune (secc. XVII-XVIII), resulted in a crisis that deeply modified the referencial jurisdictional models and the European monarchy organisation profiles. The direct consequence was a doctrinal review, leading to a placement in the “Enlightenment reformism” and followed afterwards with the deep “cut” introduced by the 1789 French Revolution. Prior to the above, was the American Revolution which led to the promulgation of the American Constitution (1787).

The student masters, also, the process of the writing of the modern constitutionalism and of the modern codification, which will be treated and analysed, from the fondumental Napoleon code model up to the Italian civil codification (1942).

The student, besides a history of juridical sources and doctrine, has a thorough knowledge of the development of the history of marital violence, with particular attention to an analysis of its fundamental principles.

Acquired knowledges are for the student a foundamental search tool to understand of current assets of positive law and political Italian and European institutions.

Course contents


Natural Law Theories (Origins and doctrinal mantras influencing on codification) - The period of the Late Ius Commune - Italy in the early Eighteenth Century: 1) Neo-humanistic doctrines 2) Attempts to ractionalise law sources - Juridical Enlightenment in France and Italy - The era of reforms in Prussia and in Austria - Law during French Revolution (Intermediate Law and Justice, Intermediate Law and Family, Intermemdiate Law and Church , Intermediate Law and State) - The Constitutionals systems (English constitutionalism, American constitutionalism, French constitutionalism) - The Code Napoleon and its application in Italy (formative process and contents) - The Austrian codification (formative process and contents) - Italian pre-unification legislation - The doctrine of XIX-XX centuries - The unification of the different codes in Italy from 1865 to 1942 - The juridical experience of Liberal State - The Fascist regime and law.

Specific - Gender in the history of justice

1) Correctional violence of the husband between the Middle Ages and the Ancient Regime

2) The religious and patriarchal construction of the 'conjugal debt'

3) Violence against women.

4) Absolutions, remissions and settlements. Marital violence in the courts

5) The topos of the 'malmaritate' and the laws of the patriarchate

6) The criminalization of marital violence between the 18th and 20th centuries

7) Marital rape: between rape and arbitrary exercise of one's own reasons

8) The last seal of the patriarchate: the honor killing between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

At the end of the first semester there will be, for the only participating class students, an intermediate exam consisting of an oral test that will focus on the analysis of at least three of the topics listed above in the first semester. The registration for the intermediate exam can be done in class.


The preparation for the exam is differentiated between attending and non-attending students.

1) Participating class students

For the class participating students the examination will be related to the topics treated during the lessons. For the exam preparation, the notes taken during classes will be sufficient.

In order to track class presence, the modality will be communicated directly during the lesson session.

2) NON class participating students

For the students not participating classes, the examination program will relate to the following text books:


1) AA.VV., Tempi del diritto. Età medievale, moderna, contemporanea, Torino 2016, only parts IV (from p. 168), V, VI, VII e VIII.


History of conjugal violence

2) M. Cavina, Nozze di sangue. Storia della violenza coniugale, IV rist., Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2018


Foreign sudents not attending classes that are participating in the Socrates-Erasmus program can take the exam by establishing a special program with the prof. Damigela Hoxha.

Integrating exams which students who have moved from other Courses

The programme for integrating exams which students who have moved from other Courses needd to take is planned with each individual student on the basis of the programme completed and on the CFU necessary.

Teaching methods

Teaching will be developed into frontal classes in which it will be discussed the systematic presentation of the topics covered by the Course.

During the lessons will be discuss normative and doctrinal sources for the relevant period

The course is annual and it is divided in two modules:

I module: general (I semester)

II module: specific (II semester)


Students will be allowed to take the exam from the summer session onwards.

Assessment methods

The profit exam will take place in oral form. The test will focus on the topics indicated in the "Program and contents" section and the student must demonstrate to acquire knowledge of using critically historical skills, also into approach at issues of positive law and for the understanding of current assets of political Italian and European institutions.

The exam can take place only after having passed the exam of History of Medieval and Modern Law.

The evaluation of the test will be carried out taking into consideration

  • the knowledge of the course contents
  • the ability to make connections between the different parts of the program
  • the ability to develop critical arguments
  • the articulation and accuracy of the exposure

Registration for the final exam must be done using the Almaesami application (https://almaesami.unibo.it/almaesami/welcome.htm).

Until new dispositions of the Dean, the exams – oral – will be in virtual modality on Microsoft Teams.

After the inscriptions closure every student will receive through Almaesami the meeting link, to which he should connect the day of the exam
The professor, if it is possible, will send also the link of the subcommision from which the student will be examined. Otherwise the links will be comunicated in the virtual room at the moment of the roll call.

History of mercantile and maritime law can be taken only by those students who haven't the exam of History of Modern and Contemporary law in their study plan.

The exams withheld abroad in this disciplines category will be considered valid.

The thesis

The thesis, intended for a detailed study of institutes, people and precise moments from juridical modern and contemporary history, will be assigned to those students who show a clear interest in the historical-juridical educational path.

Requests from those students who decline to dedicate the necessary time to make thesis elaboration a constructive experience will not be accepted.

Teaching tools

In order to have a better preparation it is recommended to download the teaching material that will be made available on the website of the course owner.

Any seminars will be promptly reported in the lessons.

The lessons will be kept using notes and projected material, all made available to the students (http://campus.cib.unibo.it [http://campus.cib.unibo.it/] )

Students who for reasons of disability or specific learning disabilities (DSA) need compensatory tools will be able to communicate to the professor their needs so as to be directed to the referents and agree on the adoption of the most appropriate measures.

Office hours

See the website of Damigela Hoxha


Gender equality Reduced inequalities Peace, justice and strong institutions

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.