HIST118 - WITCHCRAFT & POSSESSION

Description: 
This lecture explores the society and culture of the modernizing world by looking at one of its most widespread, intensely debated, and tension-filled aspects: witchcraft and possession. The mere mention of the terms, or of such close cousins as demonology, sorcery, exorcism, magic, and the witches’ Sabbath, and the texts that describe them, raises a clear historical challenge: how can the analysis of witchcraft—including beliefs, patterns of accusation, the general social position of “victims,” the intensity and timing of “witch hunts,” and its articulation with religious practice, law, literature, language, gender, social marginalization, and property—lead us to a more humane understanding of culture and lived experience? Given that these terms and issues had no fixed meanings for any past societies or for present imagination, how can we arrive at usable language for analysis? These are some of the interdisciplinary questions that we will explore. In addition, as recent scholarly work on early modern witchcraft makes abundantly clear, we will be considering a range of interpretive issues vital to the history of society and religious practice as we progress. But there is another challenge, too: how does the work on the history of witchcraft square with such Pagan groups as Wicca, Druid, Celtic revivalists, and other Goddess worshippers, among other forms of New Age spirituality.
Instructors: 
ST.GEORGE, ROBERT
Day and Time: 
TR 0130PM-0300PM
Room: 
COLLEGE HALL 314
Activity: 
LEC
Cross Listings: 
    Registration Notes: 
    HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCE SECTOR