REL409 A History of Witchcraft: Popular Culture, Folk Magic, and Religious Reform in Europe in the 14th–17th Centuries (Fall)

The first part of the course examines the foundations of magic and witchcraft in the West. Starting from the categorization of such beliefs in the Late Antiquity, the course moves on to the formation of the stereotypical image of the witch between the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance. After an exploration of the connections between the witch-hunt and the religious persecutions of the Reformation period, the second half of the course takes a “grassroots” look at the role of popular magic and witchcraft in the village context and at the actual beliefs/self-perceptions of the people who called themselves (and others) witches. Limited enrollment; preference will be given to students for whom this course counts toward their major. Cross-listed with ANT/HST/WGS 409.

Department: Religion

Location: Florence

Semester: Fall

Credits: 3