HIST 329
The History of Witch-Hunting and Witchcraft in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
Last Offered Spring 2022
Division II
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

Between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, some 50,000 people–overwhelmingly women, but also some men and children–were hunted, prosecuted and executed for witchcraft all over Europe and its colonies. In this seminar, we investigate through the reading of primary and secondary sources why and how this phenomenon developed in the early middle ages, and then erupted and subsided in the early modern period. We also examine the various methodologies and arguments that historians have employed and debated over the past decades to try and explain why and how witch hunting, witchcraft beliefs and prosecutions influenced and impacted European cultures and societies. Lastly, the study of witch-hunting and witchcraft will also inform our understanding of its place in the religious, political, legal, social, and cultural development of medieval and early modern Europe, as well as of its connections to the histories of European persecution, heresy, antisemitism, gender and state formations, demonology, magic, and race.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 16
Expected: 16
Class#: 3664
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Participation. Three essays (750 words) on a primary source, a secondary source, and witchcraft trial. A 15 minute presentation to the class on a historical work of witchcraft scholarship. A research-paper prospectus and preliminary bibliography. A final 10-12 page research paper on a witchcraft topic of choice in consultation with the instructor.
Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Open to first-year students with permission of instructor.
Enrollment Preferences: History majors and students with demonstrated interest in European history.
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: HIST Group C Electives - Europe and Russia
HIST Group P Electives - Premodern

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