Gender and Conversion 1550-1750

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventSymposium


Stories of conversion and religious change have become increasingly central to the literary, historical, and art historical study of the early modern period, yet -- with a few important exceptions -- scholars have paid little attention to the particular ways in which sexed identity inflected the experience of faith, or how men and women renegotiated discourses of gender and proper behaviour as they shifted confession, sometimes crossing both geographical and linguistic boundaries, and encountering new cultures, customs, and expectations. This two-day symposium brought together leading academics whose expertise spans questions of gender, religious belief, identity, and narrative form in order to explore discourses of family and gendered relations, and the staging of conversion as a personal or public event. Participants were invited both to uncover and to challenge the scholarly, literary and historical conventions which link femininity to the home or convent and masculine identity to travel, trade, and colonial encounters. Together, we sought to create new methods and paradigms to uncover and describe the work done by religion and sexed experience in creating ideas of 'masculine' and 'feminine' dress, identity, behaviour, and practice. Participants include Hannah Crawforth (King's College, London), Eric Dursteler (Brigham Young University), David Graizbord (Arizona), Chloe Houston (Reading), Elizabeth Lehfeldt (Cleveland State), Kathleen Lynch (Folger Shakespeare Institute), Silvia Mostaccio (Louvain), Jeffrey Shoulson (Miami), Helen Smith (York), and Saundra Weddle (Drury), with additional chapters from Keith Luria (NC State) and Daniel Vitkus (Florida), and responses from Matthew Dimmock (Sussex), Simon Ditchfield (York), Mark Jenner (York), and Abigail Shinn (York).
Period26 Jul 201227 Jul 2012
Event typeWorkshop
LocationYork, United KingdomShow on map


  • conversion, gender, identity, narrative, confessionalisation, community, travel, trade