HR282-5-SP-CO:
Witch-Trials in Early Modern Europe and New England

PLEASE NOTE: This module is inactive. Visit the Module Directory to view modules and variants offered during the current academic year.

The details
2023/24
Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies (School of)
Colchester Campus
Spring
Undergraduate: Level 5
Inactive
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
15
26 September 2023

 

Requisites for this module
(none)
(none)
(none)
(none)

 

(none)

Key module for

(none)

Module description

This module will focus on the large-scale prosecution of individuals for the crime of witchcraft in early modern western Europe and New England. It will explore beliefs about witchcraft, legal changes, the motivations behind accusations of witchcraft, and the regional variation in the intensity of witch-trials.


The module will focus on some of the largest witch-trial episodes and explore why accusations escalated into mass-persecution in certain times and places. The module will familiarise students with key historiographical debates surrounding the phenomenon of witch-trials (for example, around the issue of the gendering of witch-persecution) and introduce them to some of the primary sources for the study of early modern witchcraft beliefs and witch-trials (demonologies, trial-records and images).

Module aims

The aims of this module are:



  • To focus on the large-scale prosecution of individuals for the crime of witchcraft in early modern western Europe and New England.

  • To explore beliefs about witchcraft, legal changes, the motivations behind accusations of witchcraft, and the regional variation in the intensity of witch-trials.

  • To focus on some of the largest witch-trial episodes and explore why accusations escalated into mass-persecution in certain times and places.

  • To familiarise students with key historiographical debates surrounding the phenomenon of witch-trials (for example, around the issue of the gendering of witch-persecution) and introduce them to some of the primary sources for the study of early modern witchcraft beliefs and witch-trials (demonologies, trial-records and images).

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:



  1. Gain a deep knowledge of early modern witch-trials and their causes and empathy for the people involved in them.

  2. Be able to think about witch-persecution comparatively.

  3. Develop their ability to read and analyse historiographical debates and primary source material.

  4. Understand the legal, cultural and social context which made witch-trials possible.

  5. Compare large-scale episodes of witch-persecution and their causes.

  6. Analyse secondary and primary sources about this subject critically and with confidence.

Module information

Introductory Reading



  • Brian P. Levack, The Witch Hunt in Early Modern Europe (ideally the 3rd edition, Pearson Longman, 2006).

  • Julian Goodare, The European Witch-Hunt (Routledge, 2016).

  • Brian P. Levack (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America (Oxford, 2013).

  • Malcolm Gaskill, Witchcraft. A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2010).

  • Johannes Dillinger (ed.), The Routledge History of Witchcraft (Routledge, 2016).

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 1-hour lecture per week.
  • One 1-hour seminar per week.

Bibliography

This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%

Reassessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Alison Rowlands, email: alisonc@essex.ac.uk.
Professor Alison Rowlands
Belinda Waterman, Department of History; belinda@essex.ac.uk

 

Availability
No
No
No

External examiner

Dr Mark Williams
Cardiff University
Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History
Resources
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.

 


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