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Withcraft and Witch-hunting in Early Modern Europe and America
This seminar will examine witchcraft and witch-hunting in Europe and America from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries through reading and discussion of primary documents and classic and recent studies in the field including social, cultural, and intellectual history, gender and women’s studies, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and town and environmental studies.
Students will learn about the interaction of religious beliefs relating to witchcraft and the occult with social and cultural conditions and shifts, the history of the interpretation of witchcraft and witch-hunting, and the continuing relevance of witchcraft studies as a laboratory for new approaches and methods.
Courses in or knowledge of the history of post-Reformation Europe and of colonial America.
Book review (1,000 words, leading one class discussion, and research paper (5,000 words).
Required reading (tentative):
Elaine Breslaw, Witchcraft in the Atlantic World (NYU)
Brian Levack, The Witch-hunt in Early Modern Europe (Pearson)
John Demos, The Enemy Within (Viking)
Paul Boyer & Stephen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft (Harvard)
Class attendance and participation, class presentation, written work.