Paula McQuade received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1998. The recipient of a 1996 Charlotte Newcombe Fellowship, McQuade is the author of multiple articles on early modern women and gender. Her article on the female catechist Dorothy Burch was selected as the best article published in 2010 by the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women Writers. She is also the recipient of an Excellence in Teaching Award from DePaul University.
Paula McQuade's recent monograph, Catechisms and Women's Writing in Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017) is a study of early modern women's literary use of catechizing. McQuade examines original works composed by women – both in manuscript and print, as well as women's copying and redacting of catechisms – and the construction of these materials from other sources. By studying female catechists, McQuade shows how early modern women used the power and authority granted to them as mothers to teach religious doctrine, to demonstrate their linguistic skills, to engage sympathetically with Catholic devotionals texts, and to comment on matters of contemporary religious and political import – activities that many scholars have considered the sole prerogative of clergymen. This book addresses the questions of women's literary production in early modern England, demonstrating that the reading and writing of catechisms were crucial sites of women's literary engagements during this time.