HIST 4101A: Early Modern European History – “Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe”
Fall 2020

Instructor: Prof. David Dean

Introduction: This online seminar invites you to explore witchcraft, witch-hunts, and witch crazes in Britain and Europe between the middle of the 16th century and the beginning of the 18th century. Key themes will be popular belief in witchcraft and magic, the role of the devil in society, changes in religious belief associated with the Reformation, crime and punishment, the household and the family, gender and sexuality, poverty and social disorder. Witches were the epitome of a ‘world turned upside down’, and we will be seeking ways in which to understand this extraordinary period through the writings of believers and sceptics, trial records, pamphlets, images, and plays. Our key texts will be a surviving trial record from mid-17th century Germany and a pamphlet and play from early 17th century England.

Class Format: This seminar will meet online once a week for three hours. More details will be posted on our cuLearn site.

Goals and Aims: You will leave the seminar with an excellent understanding of witchcraft in early modern Britain and Europe gained through a critical engagement with primary sources and with a familiarity with innovative historical methodologies in our quest to understand and represent the past.

Assessment: Students will be graded based on their participation in class discussions, seminar leadership, in-class presentations, online assignments, and a final research paper submitted as a take-home examination. There will be no final exam in the course.

Texts: All students must purchase these texts which we will be using extensively throughout the course. You will have to purchase them online.

(1) The Trial of Temple Anneke, edited by Peter A. Morton (Broadview Press/University of Toronto Press, 2nd edition, 2017, ISBN 978-1-4426-3487-9)

(2) The Witch of Edmonton, edited by Peter Corbin and Douglas Sedge (Manchester University Press, 1997, ISBN 978 0 7190 5247 7). While there are other editions of the play, this is the only one that also publishes the pamphlet on which it is drawn, so you must purchase this edition.

You are strongly encouraged to purchase these well before the beginning of term as they may have to come from some distance to reach you.

Questions? Please email me at David.Dean@carleton.ca