2017-2018 Academic Catalog 
    
    Jun 30, 2022  
2017-2018 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

HIST 040 - The Witchcraze: Witch Hunts in Early Modern Europe


From 1450-1750, hundreds of thousands of people were investigated for the crime of witchcraft across Europe and North America. Tens of thousands of them, mainly women, were executed. Over the course of the era, the figure of the witch as an ally of the Devil emerged and became an indelible part of Western culture. Yet scholars doubt that very many people in this period actually practiced witchcraft, or at least did so in the ways imagined by their prosecutors. The question then is why did all of this happen? How was the figure of the witch and the practice of witchcraft constructed? Why did they engender such panic at this particular time? Why were women so often accused? Why did the hunts begin and just as important, why did they end? This course will explore the history of the witch craze in order to provide the perspective to answer these questions. In the process, we will work on developing skills essential to the study of history: How do you pull the main points, the argument, out of a reading? How do you assess that argument? What is the raw material of history and how do historians use this raw material to write history?

Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) Designation: HP

Anticipated Terms Offered: Offered every other year.