The Witchcraze in Europe and its Colonies c.1300-1800 (HIH2181A)

30 credits

How and why did Europeans – at all levels from monarchs and intellectuals to peasants – come to regard innocent people, mostly women, as witches and hence a real threat to society, and why did this belief, and the persecution it created, reach its most intense levels in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries? Some of the most interesting works of modern history-writing have tackled this enigma, and drawn on other disciplines such as anthropology, literature, psychology and philosophy to do so, using witchcraft to explore the impact of gender, class, ideology, religion, climate change, imperialism and the new science on Europe and its colonies.