Aughterson, Kate, ed. Renaissance Woman: A Sourcebook: Constructions of Femininity in England. London and New York: Routledge, 1995.
An extensive sourcebook of contemporary materials regarding women in England from the 14th to the 17th centuries, this book expands upon the nature and source of European misogynist attitudes towards women. It is an outstanding compilation of often difficult-to-find primary sources about and by early modern European women.
Davis, Natalie Zemon and Arlette Farge, eds. A History of Women in the West, v. III: Renaissance and Enlightenment Paradoxes. Cambridge Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1993.
This is a wide-ranging and insightful general study of women in early modern Europe. The book investigates the gendered social practices of the period, as well as the cultural discourses which shaped those practices. An excellent overview, this is the ideal book for those first investigating the subject.
Findly, Ellison Banks. Nur Jahan: Empress of Mughal India. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
This book concentrates on the life of Nur Jahan (1577-1645). However, its introductory sections offer as well discerning general information about Muslim women in India during the Mughal period.
Ko, Dorothy. Teachers of the Inner Chamber: Women and Culture in Seventeenth-Century China. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997.
This book offers a rebuttal to the traditional histories of women in China that argue that women were perennially victimized and oppressed. Rather, the author argues that Ming women were able to negotiate prescribed codes of conduct, particularly through their development of a literary voice. Perhaps too feminist a portrayal, the book nevertheless offers a nuanced view, as women are not conversely depicted as agents of subversion.
Lux-Sterritt, L. “Between the Cloister and the World: The Successful Compromise of the Ursulines of Toulouse, 1604-1616.” French History v16 i3 (Sept 2002): 247-68.
This article investigates an example of the Ursulines “voluntary” decision to enclose their convents in the early 17th century. Originally designated as congrégées, Ursulines were charged with educating and catechizing women of all social classes. The essay is particularly helpful in offering a basic idea of the role of women—nuns in particular—in early modern Europe and the lands they hoped to Christianize.