Witchcraze in Europe and New World (HIH3520)
|Lecturer(s)||Dr Jonathan Barry|
|Pre-requisites||Normally 15 credits of History at level 1 or 2.|
|Duration of Module||One semester|
|Total Student Study Time||300 hours, including lectures 1 hour x 11 weeks and seminars 2 hours x 11 weeks.|
To understand the scale, nature and causes of the persecution of people as witches in Europe and the New World 1300-1800, considering in particular rival methodologies and interpretations, by historians and others, and the significance of regional, chronological and social variations.
Intended learning outcomes
A detailed knowledge of the main themes in the history of the witchcraze, together with a very close knowledge of the areas selected for essay and presentation work. Ability to trace the changing nature of the witchcraze in different periods, places and social contexts.
Ability to analyse the key developments in a complex and alien social environment. Ability to understand and deploy complex terminology (from both history and other disciplines) in a comprehensible manner. Ability to handle profoundly different approaches to history in a deeply contested area. Ability to recognise the impact of contemporary concerns on the interpretation of the past
Personal and key skills
Independent study and group work, including the presentation of material for group discussion, developed through the mode of learning. Ability to digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment. Ability to present arguments orally, and to work in a group
Learning and teaching methods
The lectures will provide a spine of ideas and information which will be a key component of the students' learning experience. They will form a basis upon which students can build their own interpretations and ideas in the seminars. The seminar work will fall into two parts. One part will be devoted to close reading of contemporary sources (provided in advance) with questions to be answered. The second part will involve group work and presentations (developing their teamwork and oral skills). Initially, these will involve exploring the chronological and regional variations in the witchcraze, then how far other disciplines can help our understanding of the history of witchcraft; each group will then lead a discussion by the whole class of the themes of their presentation.
Two essays of 2,000 words each. One group seminar presentation, which will be peer-assessed, with the mark (moderated by the tutor) going forward as a further 25% of the assessment for the module.
The better of the two 2,000-word essays will count as 25% of the overall assessment for the module, provided that both essays are submitted on time: otherwise penalties will apply. The first will be returned with comments before submission of the second. Neither essay may be revised after return. The Group seminar presentation, peer-assessed and tutor-moderated, will form a further 25%. Finally, a two-hour unseen examination in May/June, in which two questions will be answered, will form 50% of the overall assessment for the module.
Lectures: Witchcraft today and in the past (including video of Azande witchcraft); the historiography of the witchcraze; problems of definition; medieval origins; theology; state formation; elite and popular culture; regional variations; the linguistic turn; gender; explaining decline.
Seminars: a selection of primary documents; chronological and regional case-studies (classical, medieval, Germany, France, Southern Europe, Scotland, England, New World); disciplinary presentations (anthropological, sociological, literary, folklore, art history, legal, feminist, medical/psychological, science/magic).
Indicative basic reading list
B.Ankarloo and G.Henningsen (eds), Early Modern European Witchcraft (OUP, 1990)
J.Barry, M.Hester and G.Roberts (ed), Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe (CUP, 1996)
R.Briggs, Witches and Neighbours (Harper Collins, 2001)
M.Gibson (ed), Early Modern Witches (Routledge, 2000)
B.P.Levack, Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe (2nd edn, Longman, 1995)
D.Oldridge (ed), The Witchcraft Reader (Routledge, 2002)
D.Purkiss, Witch in History (Routledge, 1996)
K.Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (Penguin edn, 1973)