This project is an attempt to challenge the canonical gender concept while trying to specify what gender was in the medieval and early modern world. Despite the emphasis on individual, identity and difference that past research claims, much of this history still focuses on hierarchical or dichotomous paring of masculinity and femininity (or male and female). The emphasis on differences has been largely based on the research of such topics as premarital sex, religious deviance, rape and violence; these are topics that were, in the early modern society, criminal or at least easily marginalizing. The central focus of the book is to test, verify and challenge the methodology and use the concept(s) of gender specifically applicable to the period of great change and transition.
The volume contains two theoretical sections supplemented by case-studies of gender through specific practices such as mysticism, witchcraft, crime, and legal behaviour. The first section, "Concepts", analyzes certain useful notions, such as patriarchy and morality. The second section, "Identities", seeks to deepen this analysis into the studies of female identities in various situations, cultures and dimensions and to show the fluidity and flexibility of what is called femininity nowadays. The third part, "Practises", seeks to rethink the bigger narratives through the case-studies coming from Northern Europe to see how conventional ideas of gender did not work in this particular region. The case studies also challenge the established narratives in such well-research historiographies as witchcraft and sexual offences and at the same time suggest new insights for the developing fields of study, such as history of homicide.
“This edited volume provides an interesting reevaluation of the concept of gender largely tested by the less-well studied historical records of Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. The contributors do an excellent job of demonstrating the complexity and diversity of gender while collaborating to create one clear definition of the term.” –Amanda Pipkin, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Introduction Why and How Gender Matters? Marianna Muravyeva and Raisa Maria Toivo Part 1: Historiography and the Politics of Gender 1. From Women’s Oppression to Male Anxiety: The Concept of "Patriarchy" in the Historiography of Early Modern Europe Androniki Dialeti 2.The Metaphysics of Gender in Christine De Pizan’s Thought Ilse Paakkinen 3.‘That Women Are But Men’s Shadows’: Examining Gender, Violence and Criminality in Early Modern Britain Anne-Marie Kilday Part 2: Female Spirituality, Religion and Gender Identities 4.A Good Wife?: Demonic Possession and Discourses of Gender in Later Medieval Culture Sari Katajala-Peltomaa 5. Between Martyrdom and Everyday Pragmatism: Gender, Family, and Anabaptism in Early Modern Germany Päivi Räisänen 6.Women’s Sexuality between Legal Prescription and Ecclesiastical Control in the Romanian Principalities in the 18th Century Constanta Vintila-Gitulesku Part 3: Gendered Witches and Nordic Patriarchal Compromises 7. Women, Witches, and the Town Courts of Ribe: Ideas of the Gendered Witch in Early Modern Denmark Louise Nyholm Kallestrup 8. Male Witches and Masculinity in Early Modern Finnish Witchcraft Trials Raisa Maria Toivo 9. Gendering Moral Crimes in Early Modern England and Europe – Blasphemy the Mirror Image of Witchcraft? David Nash Part 4: Laws, Genders and Deviancies 10. Gendered Suicide in Early Modern Sweden and Finland Riikka Miettinen 11. The Responsibility of a Seducer?: Men and the Breach of Promise in Early Modern Swedish Legislation Mari Välimäki 12. Personalizing Homosexuality and Masculinity in Early Modern Russia Marianna Muravyeva