Fall 2011

Witches: Myth and Reality

Listed in: German, as GERM-349


Kyle Frackman (Section 01)


This course examines the historical construction of the witch and the context of the women (and men) labeled as witches. Our main topics will be: European Pagan religions and the spread of Christianity; the “Burning Times” in early modern Europe, with an emphasis on the German situation; 17th-century New England and the Salem witch trials; the images of witches in folklore and fairy tales in the context of the historical persecutions; and some contemporary Wiccan/witch practices in their historical context.  Readings are drawn from documentary records of the witch persecutions and witch trials, literary representations, scholarly analyses of witch-related phenomena and themes, and essays examining witches, witchcraft, and the witch persecutions, including from contemporary feminist and/or neo-Pagan perspectives.  Readings and discussions will be supplemented by related material taken from current events in addition to visual material (videos, slides) drawn from art history, early modern witch literature, popular culture, and documentary sources. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.

Fall semester. Visiting Professor Frackman (University of Massachusetts).


2018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011