Introduction: Perspectives on women’s religious activities in early modern Europe and the Americas

Liise Lehtsalu, Sarah Moran, Silvia Evangelisti

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Proposing activity as a useful category of analysis, this special issue considers Catholic and Protestant women in Europe and the Americas in the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. We examine women in religious communities, which include both monastic communities as well as confessional communities. A close analysis of the social, economic, and cultural actions of these women religious challenges historiographical assumptions about monastic cloister and domestic space in the early modern period. In fact, we revisit monastic and domestic spaces to reveal them as stages for previously unexamined activity. This cross-denominational and transnational special issue highlights new spheres of women’s religious activity and raises new questions for the study of early modern women’s lives and their capacity to act in early modern society, economy, and culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Early Modern History
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2018


  • women religious
  • nuns
  • Quakers
  • Pietists
  • Beguines
  • Europe
  • Atlantic World
  • Spanish America

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