Undergraduate Course: The European Witch-Hunt (SCHI10021)
|School||School of History, Classics and Archaeology
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||The 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. About 50,000 people, mostly lower-class women, were executed. The course delves into intellectual, cultural, political and social history to explain how this happened, and why.
The 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. About 50,000 people, mostly lower-class women, were executed. The course delves into intellectual, cultural, political and social history to explain how this happened, and why. The two central themes 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 country, Scotland, that was particularly notable for witch-hunting. 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)
||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 Administrator to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503780).
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2016/17, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 44,
Summative Assessment Hours 4,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Two 5,000-word essays (together worth 33% of the overall mark for the course), and two two-hour exam papers (together worth 67% of the overall mark for the course). 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.
||Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)||Paper I||2:00|
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)||Paper II||2:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
- demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
- demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
- demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
- demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
|Bengt Ankarloo and Gustav Henningsen (eds.), Early Modern European Witchcraft: Centres and Peripheries (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990)|
Jonathan Barry and Owen Davies (eds.), Palgrave Advances in Witchcraft Historiography (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)
Wolfgang Behringer, Shaman of Oberstdorf: Chonrad Stoeckhlin and the Phantoms of the Night, trans. H. C. Erik Midelfort (Charlottesville, Va.: University Press of Virginia, 1998)
Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974)
Robin Briggs, Witches and Neighbours: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft (2nd edn., Oxford: Blackwell, 2002)
Stuart Clark, Thinking with Demons: The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997)
Norman Cohn, Europe┐s Inner Demons: The Demonization of Christians in Medieval Christendom (rev. edn., Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 2000)
Christina Larner, Enemies of God: The Witch-Hunt in Scotland (London: Chatto & Windus, 1981; reprinted Edinburgh: John Donald, 2000)
Brian P. Levack, The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe (3rd edn., London: Longman, 2006)
Brian P. Levack (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)
Lyndal Roper, Witch Craze: Terror and Fantasy in Baroque Germany (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2004)
Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1971)
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Julian Goodare
Tel: (0131 6)50 4021
|Course secretary||Mr Mark Newman
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
© Copyright 2016 The University of Edinburgh - 3 February 2017 5:15 am