WGS 345 • THE HISTORY OF WITCHCRAFT
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
The main purpose of this lecture course is to explain the prosecution of more than 100,000 people, most of them women, for the crime of witchcraft in Europe and colonial America between 1450 and 1750. We shall study the formation and dissemination of both learned and popular witch beliefs from ancient times to the eighteenth century, the development of criminal procedures that facilitated the trial and conviction of accused witches, the religious motives for prosecuting witches during the age of the Reformation, and the social contexts within which accusations of witchcraft arose. The course will conclude with a discussion of the decline and end of witchcraft prosecutions and the revival of witchcraft practices in the twentieth century.