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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: The European Witch-Hunt (SCHI10021)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) Credits40
Home subject areaHistory Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe age of the Renaissance and Reformation was also the age in which many people throughout Europe, Catholic and Protestant, became convinced that society was threatened by conspiracies of witches. Thousands of people, mostly lower-class women, were executed. The course delves into intellectual, cultural and social history to explain how this happened, and why.

The two central sections of the course are 'Why believe in witches?' and 'Why hunt witches?'. Witch-belief was an essential precondition of witch-hunting and has to be explained; yet witch-hunting had its own dynamics, for plenty of people believed in witches but did not hunt them. The course incorporates a regional survey of how patterns of witch-hunting varied from country to country, including not only Europe but European colonies in America. There is a more detailed case-study of one fairly typical country - Scotland. The final section discusses how witch-hunting came to an end, and what happened to witch-beliefs afterwards.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass in 40 credits of third level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, Personal Tutors are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Secretary to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503783).
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Full Year, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  15
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 16/09/2013
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 44, Summative Assessment Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 344 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 67 %, Coursework 33 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Paper 12:00
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Paper 22:00
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
At the end of the course, students should be able to:

- demonstrate a grasp of historical causation
- engage at high level with scholarly debate
- evaluate arguments critically
- express their ideas on the above in oral and written form.

More specifically, they should be able to:

- understand the role of witch-beliefs in the culture of early modern Europe
- understand the social processes that led to witch-hunting
- balance the distinctive regional patterns of witch-hunting against the common experience of Europe as a whole
- understand the legal, political, religious and intellectual developments that led witch-hunting first to grow and then to decline.
Assessment Information
Split into sixths and consisting of

Two 5000 word essays
Two two-hour exams:
Paper 1 will have two questions, both of which must be answered: (i) a question asking you to comment on two topics from a choice of about eight with reference to two individual cases, (ii) a question asking you to comment on two extracts from documents (from a choice of about eight). Paper 2 will have about eight essay-type questions and will ask you to answer two of them.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Not entered
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
Course organiserDr Julian Goodare
Tel: (0131 6)50 4021
Course secretaryMiss Clare Guymer
Tel: (0131 6)50 4030
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