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Theme 1: Society and Economy

What role did kinship play in the lives of early modern Europeans?

  • J. Adams, ‘The familial state: Elite family practices and state-making in the early modern Netherlands’ in Theory and Society, 23 (1994)
  • P. Ariès, Centuries of Childhood (1960)
  • L. Bonfield etc (eds), The World we have Gained: Histories of Population & Social Structure (Oxford, 1986)
  • W. Coster, Baptism and spiritual kinship in early modern England (2002)
  • D. V. Glass & D.E.C. Eversley (eds), Population in History: Essays in Historical Demography (1965)
  • J. Harrington, ‘The Forest for the Trees: Society and the Household in Early Modern Europe’, HJ 41 (1998)
  • M. White Paas, ‘Family labor strategies in early modern Swabia’, Journal of Family History 17 (1992)
  • R. Sarti, Europe at Home: Family and Material Culture 1500-1800 (2002

Did conditions for European women worsen or improve over the course of the sixteenth century?

  • S. Amussen, An Ordered Society. Gender and Class in Early Modern England (1988)
  • B. Capp, ‘Separate Domains? Women and Authority in Early Modern England’ in P. Griffiths et al. (eds), The Experience of Authority in Early Modern England (1996)
  • S. Chojnacki, Women and Men in Renaissance Venice (2000)
  • N.Z. Davis, Society and Culture in Early Modern France (1975), chaps. 3 & 5
  • “ , Women on the Margins: Three Seventeenth-Century Lives (1995)
  • A. Fletcher, Gender, Sex and Subordination in England 1500-1800 (1995)
  • W. Gibson, Women in Seventeenth-Century France (1989)
  • L. Gowing, Domestic Dangers. Women, Words and Sex in Early Modern London (1996)
  • D. Hacke, Women, Sex and Marriage in Early Modern Venice (2004)
  • R. Houlbrooke, The English Family 1450-1700 (1984)
  • R. Houlbrooke, ‘Women's social life and common action in England from the Fifteenth Century to the eve of the civil war’, in Continuity and Change 1 (1986)
  • A. Jacobson Schutte et al. (eds), Time, Space and Women’s Lives in Early Modern Europe (2001)
  • J. Kermode & G. Walker (eds), Women, Crime and the Courts in Early Modern England (1994)
  • C. Klapisch-Zuber, Women, Family, and Ritual in Renaissance Italy (trans. 1985)
  • M. Laven, Virgins of Venice: Enclosed Lives and Broken Vows in the Renaissance Convent (2002)
  • L. McGough, ‘Women, Private Property, and the Limitations of State Authority in Early Modern Venice’ Journal of Women’s History 14 (2002)
  • S. McSheffrey, ‘Place, Space and Situation: Public and Private in the Making of Marriage in Late Medieval London’, Speculum 79 (2004)
  • S. Mendelson & P. Crawford, Women in Early Modern England (1998)
  • J. Merrick, ‘The Cardinal and the Queen: Sexual and Political Disorders in the Mazarinades’ in French Historical Studies, 18 (1994)
  • M.E. Perry, Gender and Disorder in Early Modern Seville (1990)
  • L. Roper, The Holy Household: Women and Morals in Reformation Augsburg (1989)
  • U. Rublack, The Crimes of Women in Early Modern Germany (1999)
  • T. Safley, Let No Man Put Asunder. The Control of Marriage in the German South-west (1984)
  • L. Stone, The Family, Sex and Marriage in England 1500-1800 (1977)
  • D. Underdown, ‘The Taming of the Scold: the Enforcement of Patriarchal Authority in Early Modern England’, in A.
  • Fletcher & J. Stevenson (eds), Order and Disorder in Early Modern England (1985)
  • G. Walker, Crime, Gender and Social Order in Early Modern England (2003)
  • J. Whittle, ‘Housewives and servants in rural England 1440-1650: Evidence of women’s work from probate documents’, TRHS (2005)

‘Noble status emerged from the vicissitudes of the early modern period surprisingly unscathed.’ Discuss.

  • F. Billacois, ‘La crise de la noblesse européenne (1550-1650)’, Revue d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine 23 (1976)
  • D. Coleman, ‘The Gentry Controversy’, History (1966)
  • J. C. Davis, The Decline of the Venetian Nobility (1962)
  • P. Goubert, The Ancien Regime (1973), esp. chaps. 5, 7 & 8
  • F. Heal & C. Holmes, The Gentry in England and Wales, 1500-1700 (1994)
  • J. Hexter, ‘Storm over the Gentry’, Encounter (May 1958), 22-34 and in his Reappraisals in History, chap. 6
  • C. Jago, ‘The “Crisis of the Aristocracy” in seventeenth-century Castile’, P&P 84 (1979)
  • H. Kellenbenz, ‘Economic Activities of the Holstein nobility in C16th and C17th’, Explorations in Entrepreneurial History 6 (1953-54)
  • J. Lukowski, The European Nobility in the 18thC (2003)
  • J. R. Major, ‘Noble Income and Inflation and the Wars of Religion in France’, AHR 86 (1981), 21-48
  • G. Mingay, The Gentry: The Rise and Fall of a Ruling Class (1976)
  • R. Mousnier, The Institutions of France under Absolute Monarchy, vol. 1, chaps. 4 & 5
  • E.L. Petersen, ‘The crisis of the Danish nobility, 1580-1660’, in M. Ferro (ed.), Social Historians in Contemporary France
  • S. Reynolds, Fiefs and Vassals: the Medieval Evidence Reinterpreted (1994)
  • J. Salmon, ‘Storm over the Noblesse’, JMH 53 (1981), 242-57
  • L. Stone, Social Change and Revolution in England 1540-1640 (1965)
  • The Crisis of the Aristocracy 1558-1641 (1967)
  • R.H. Tawney, ‘The Rise of the Gentry, 1558-1640’, EconHR 11 (1941) and in E. Carus-Wilson (ed.), Essays in Economic History, vol. 1
  • I.A.A. Thompson, ‘The nobility in Spain’, in H. M. Scott (ed.), European Nobilities, vol. 2
  • H. Trevor-Roper, ‘The Gentry 1540-1640’, EconHR supplement 1 (1953)
  • J.B. Wood, The Decline of the Nobility in C16th and early C17th France (1976)
  • S.J. Woolf, ‘Economic problems of the nobility in the early modern period: the example of Piedmont’, EconHR (1964), 267-83

How did social and political structures influence the evolution of agriculture in early modern Europe?

  • P. Blickle. From the Communal Reformation to the Revolution of the Common Man (Leiden, 1998)
  • J. Blum, Lord and Peasant in Russia (1964)
  • P. Goubert, The French Peasantry in the seventeenth century (1982)
  • E. Le Roy Ladurie, The French Peasantry, 1450-1660 (1987)
  • M. Overton, Agricultural Revolution in England, 1500-1850 (1996)
  • W. Rösener, Peasants in the Middle Ages (1992)
  • T. Scott, Society and Economy in Germany 1400-1600 (2002)
  • G. Sreenivasan, The Peasants of Ottobeuren 1487-1726: A Rural Society in Early Modern Europe (2004)
  • J. Topolski, ‘The manorial serf economy in central and eastern Europe’, Agricultural History 48 (1974)

Why did Amsterdam [OR: London] become such an important economic centre in the early modern period?


  • V. Barbour, Capitalism in Amsterdam in the 17th Century (1963)
  • P. Burke, Venice and Amsterdam: A Study of Seventeenth-Century Elites (1974)
  • J. Murray, Amsterdam in the age of Rembrandt (1967)
  • D. Regin, Traders, Artists, Burghers: a Cultural History of Amsterdam in the 17th Century (1976)
  • J.G. van Dillen, ‘Amsterdam’s role in seventeenth-century Dutch politics,’ in J. Bromley & E. Kossmann (eds), Britain and the Netherlands, vol. 2 (1964)


  • I. Archer, The Pursuit of Stability: Social Relations in Elizabethan London (1991)
  • A.L. Beier & R. Finlay (eds), London, 1500-1700: The Making of the Metropolis (1986)
  • P. Clark (ed.), The Cambridge Urban History of Britain. Volume 2: 1540-1840 (2000)
  • P. Griffiths & M. Jenner (eds), Londinopolis: a Social and Cultural History of Early Modern London (2000)
  • J. Merritt (ed.), Imagining Early Modern London: Perceptions and Portrayals of the city 1598-1720 (2001)

For comparative purposes, see these other urban case studies:

  • J.S. Amelang, Honored Citizens of Barcelona: Patrician Culture and Class Relations, 1490-1714 (1986)
  • P. Benedict, ‘Faith, fortune and social structure in 17thC Montpellier’, P&P 152 (1996) [JStor]
  • P. Borsay, The English Urban Renaissance: Culture and Society in the Provincial Town 1660-1770 (1989)
  • A. Cowan, The Urban Patriciate: Lübeck and Venice 1580-1700 (1986)
  • J.R. Farr, Hands of Honor: Artisans and their World in Dijon, 1550-1650 (1988)
  • C.R. Friedrichs, Urban Society in an Age of War: Nördlingen, 1580-1720 (1979)
  • “ , ‘Urban politics and urban social structure in 17thC Germany’, European History Quarterly (1992)
  • R.A. Goldthwaite, Private Wealth in Renaissance Florence: A Study of Four Families (1968)
  • M. Lynch (ed.), The Early Modern Town in Scotland (1987)
  • R. Mackenney, Tradesmen & Traders: The World of the Guilds in Venice & Europe, c. 1250-c. 1650 (1987)
  • E. Muir, Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice (1981)
  • R.A. Schneider, Public Life in Toulouse, 1463-1789: From Municipal Republic to Cosmopolitan City (1989)
  • R. Tittler, Townspeople and Nation: English Urban Experiences, 1540-1640 (2001)
  • J.C. Wolfart, Religion, Government and Political Culture in Early Modern Germany: Lindau 1520-1628 (2002)

Did the early modern period witness the beginning of a ‘global economy’?

  • I. Altman & J. Horn (eds), ‘To Make America’: European Emigration in the Early Modern Period (1991)
  • M. Adas, Machines as the Measure of Men. Science, Technology & Ideologies of Western Dominance (1989)
  • “ (ed.), Islamic and European Expansion: The Forging of a Global Order (1993)
  • K.R. Andrews, Trade, Plunder & Settlement: Maritime Enterprise & the Genesis of the British Empire 1480-1630 (1984)
  • J. Axtell, Beyond 1492: Encounters in Colonial North-America (1992)
  • C.R. Boxer, The Dutch Seaborne Empire, 1600-1800 (1965)
  • “ , The Portuguese Seaborne Empire, 1415-1825 (1969)
  • N. Canny (ed.), The Origins of Empire, Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. 1 (1998)
  • A.W. Crosby, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 (1986)
  • R. Davies, The Rise of the Atlantic Economies (1973)
  • J.H. Elliott, Spain and its World, 1500-1700 (1989)
  • L. McAlister, Spain and Portugal in the New World 1492-1700 (1984)
  • J.H. Parry, The Spanish Seaborne Empire (1966)
  • A.Russell-Wood, A World on the Move: The Portuguese in Africa, Asia and America (1992)
  • P. Seed, Ceremonies of Possession in Europe’s Conquest of the New World 1492-1640 (1995)
  • J.D. Tracy (ed.), The Rise of Merchant Empires (1993)
  • “ , The Political Society of Merchant Empires, 1350-1750 (1996)