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  • Widows on the Margins of the Family

    Sungyun Lim

    Chapter from the book: Lim, S. 2019. Rules of the House: Family Law and Domestic Disputes in Colonial Korea.


    This chapter begins with a widow suicide case from the end of the nineteenth century. Filed as a widow rape case, the case reveals the marginalized position of widows in this period, wedged between limited access to landed property and the continuing moral prescription of widow chastity. This chapter examines how the emergence of the patrilineal lineage system in late Chosŏn period reconfigured women’s inheritance rights in the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries. As families abandoned partible inheritance in favor of primogeniture during this period, daughters’ inheritance rights were replaced by those of mothers. At the same time, the rights and status of widows without heirs became increasingly precarious.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Lim, S. 2019. Widows on the Margins of the Family. In: Lim, S, Rules of the House. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.60.b

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    Published on Jan. 1, 2019