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.

chapter |10 pages


part I|63 pages

Challenging Cultural and Social Traditions

chapter 3|22 pages

Fiscal Citizens

Female Investors in Public Finance before the South Sea Bubble

part II|88 pages

Challenging Scientific and Intellectual Traditions

part III|65 pages

Challenging Political and Legal Traditions

chapter 8|28 pages

Daughters of Coke

Women's Legal Discourse in England, 1642–1689

chapter 9|18 pages

“Willing to go if they had their clothes”

Early Modern Women and Indentured Servitude

chapter 10|18 pages

Epilogue—Women Theorize the Power of the “Powerless”

The Case of Virginia Woolf