Vol. 6 (2017): A Time of Their Own. Experiencing Time and Temporalityin the Early Modern World, 
Part One – Reading Temporalities in History

‘the several hours of the day had variety of employments assigned to them’: Women’s Timekeeping in Early Modern England

Anu Korhonen
Laboratorio editoriale OA / Dip. LILSI
Published March 10, 2017
How to Cite
Korhonen, A. (2017). ‘the several hours of the day had variety of employments assigned to them’: Women’s Timekeeping in Early Modern England. Journal of Early Modern Studies, 6, 61-85. https://doi.org/10.13128/JEMS-2279-7149-20389

Abstract

The article examines early modern Englishwomen’s notions and experiences of time in their daily lives. In contrast to what has been assumed, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century women’s everyday life often involved standard use of clock-time. Women’s activities tended to form habitual schedules that contributed to their experience of temporal order, and increasingly demanded accurate measurement of duration, often overlooked in deliberations of early modern temporal organisation. In more recent discussions, women emerge as both time-aware and time-literate, conceptualising their activities through temporal measurements and metaphors where mechanical time and the circadian rhythm were intertwined with an episodic understanding of task-oriented temporality. Women’s experience of time was governed by practical social and economic constraints, practices and tasks dictated by patriarchal gender divisions, and their quest for Christian salvation.