Gender and conversion in the early modern Mediterranean

This chapter examines religious identity, and in particular conversion, in the early modern Mediterranean through the prism of gender. It surveys attitudes towards women’s religiosity and their susceptibility to conversion from Muslim, Jewish and Christian perspectives, and will compare and contrast the motivations for conversion of men and women. I argue that sweeping generalizations about women’s religiosity must be approached with caution. Women were probably no more or less inclined to conversion than men, they voluntarily chose or rejected conversion, or could be compelled to convert; their ‘apparent greater religiosity’ was itself a social and polemical construct, deployed to particular ends on varied occasions.

in Conversions