1st Edition

Challenging Orthodoxies: The Social and Cultural Worlds of Early Modern Women Essays Presented to Hilda L. Smith

Edited By Sigrun Haude, Melinda S. Zook Copyright 2014

    Offering a broad and eclectic approach to the experience and activities of early modern women, Challenging Orthodoxies presents new research from a group of leading voices in their respective fields. Each essay confronts some received wisdom, ’truth’ or orthodoxy in social and cultural, scientific and intellectual, and political and legal traditions, to demonstrate how women from a range of social classes could challenge the conventional thinking of their time as well as the ways in which they have been traditionally portrayed by scholars. Subjects include women's relationship to guns and gunpowder, the law and legal discourse, religion, public finances, and the new science in early modern Europe, as well as women and indentured servitude in the New World. A testament to the pioneering work of Hilda L. Smith, this collection makes a valuable contribution to scholarship in women’s studies, political science, history, religion and literature.

    Contents: Introduction, Melinda S. Zook. Part I Challenging Cultural and Social Traditions: The boundaries of womanhood in the early modern imaginary, Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks; Women and guns in early modern London, Lois G. Schwoerer; Fiscal citizens: female investors in public finance before the South Sea Bubble, Barbara J. Todd. Part II Challenging Scientific and Intellectual Traditions: The microscopist as voyeur: Margaret Cavendish’s critique of experimental philosophy, Lisa T. Sarasohn; Women, Anglican orthodoxy, and the Church in ages of danger, Melinda S. Zook; Emilie Du Châtelet and the Enlightenment’s Querelles des femmes, Judith P. Zinsser; Charlotte Lennox and her challenge to the orthodoxies of Shakespeare criticism, Ann Thompson. Part III Challenging Political and Legal Traditions: Daughters of Coke: women’s legal discourse in England, 1642-1689, Mihoko Suzuki; ’Willing to go if they had their clothes’: early modern women and indentured servitude, Anna Suranyi; Epilogue - women theorize the powers of the ’powerless’: the case of Virginia Woolf, Berenice A. Carroll. Selected publications of Hilda L. Smith; Bibliography; Index.


    Sigrun Haude is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati. She is the author of In the Shadow of Savage Wolves: Anabaptist Münster and the German Reformation during the 1530s (2000) and of several chapters and articles on the Thirty Years’ War, Anabaptism, and gender, including Gender Roles and Perspectives Among Anabaptist and Spiritualist Groups, in A Companion to Anabaptism and Spiritualism, 1521-1700 (2007). She is currently working on her monograph, The Thirty Years’ War: Experience and Management of a Disaster. Melinda S. Zook is Professor of History at Purdue University. She is the author of Radical Whigs and Conspiratorial Politics in Late Stuart England (1999; 2009) and Protestantism, Politics and Women in Britain, 1660-1714 (2013); and the co-editor of Revolutionary Currents: Nation Building in the Transatlantic World (2004). She has also published numerous articles and essays on politics, cultural memory, and women in Stuart England.

    ’All ten chapters of this exceptional volume succeed in challenging our ideas about early modern women. Many of these essays offer a demonstration on how to find early modern women acting in unexpected or unexplored ways. The authors of these essays show them making financial investments, becoming master gun-makers, engaging in legal discourse, and wielding pistols. Scholarship on early modern women is enriched by this work.’ Parergon