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.

chapter |16 pages


Why and How Gender Matters?
ByMarianna G. Muravyeva, Raisa Maria Toivo

part |53 pages

Historiography and the Politics of Gender

chapter |18 pages

From Women's Oppression to Male Anxiety

The Concept of ‘Patriarchy' in the Historiography of Early Modern Europe
ByAndroniki Dialeti

chapter |17 pages

‘That Women Are But Men's Shadows'

Examining Gender, Violence and Criminality in Early Modern Britain
ByAnne-Marie Kilday

part |47 pages

Female Spirituality, Religion, and Gender Identities

chapter |16 pages

A Good Wife?

Demonic Possession and Discourses of Gender in Late Medieval Culture
BySari Katajala-Peltomaa

chapter |18 pages

Between Martyrdom and Everyday Pragmatism

Gender, Family, and Anabaptism in Early Modern Germany
ByPäivi Räisänen-Schröder

part |51 pages

Gendered Witches and Nordic Patriarchal Compromises

chapter |16 pages

Women, Witches, and the Town Courts of Ribe

Ideas of the Gendered Witch in Early Modern Denmark
ByLouise Nyholm Kallestrup

part |53 pages

Laws, Genders, and Deviancies

chapter |18 pages

Gendered Suicide in Early Modern Sweden and Finland

ByRiikka Miettinen

chapter |14 pages

Responsibility of a Seducer?

Men, Women, and Breach of Promise in Early Modern Swedish Legislation
ByMari Välimäki