Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: Early Modern English Witchcraft (HIST10261)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course looks at the phenomenon of witchcraft in England between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries from a variety of perspectives.
Course description We look at what witchcraft meant for contemporaries from differing backgrounds, at the sort of stories that were likely to believed and which not, at the relationship between religion and understandings of witchcraft, at possession and exorcism, at witchcraft and theatre and at the reasons for the repeal of the act which allowed the prosecution of people perceived as witches. Throughout this questions of gender will be implicit and some sessions will be devoted explicitly to address questions of why 90% of those persecuted as witches were women.

Content note: The study of History inevitably involves the study of difficult topics that we encourage students to approach in a respectful, scholarly, and sensitive manner. Nevertheless, we remain conscious that some students may wish to prepare themselves for the discussion of difficult topics. In particular, the following topics may be discussed in this course, whether in class or through required or recommended primary and secondary sources: violence, sexual violence. While this list indicates sensitive topics students are likely to encounter, it is not exhaustive because course organisers cannot entirely predict the directions discussions may take in tutorials or seminars, or through the wider reading that students may conduct for the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Students should only be enrolled on this course with approval from the History Honours Programme Administrator.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must have 3 History courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Enrolments for this course are managed by the CAHSS Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department. All enquiries to enrol must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
2,000 words historiographical essay (40%)
3,000 words essay engaging with primary source(s) (60%)
Feedback 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.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  3. understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
  4. develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
The choice of textbooks for this course are James Sharpe, Instruments of Darkness: Witchcraft in England 1550-1750 (1996) or, for those less familiar with the period and place, James Sharpe, Witchcraft in Early Modern England (2001)
The following are also helpful:
Jonathan Barry, Marianne Hester & Gareth Roberts (eds), Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe: studies in culture and belief (1998)
Stuart Clark (ed), Languages of Witchcraft: narrative, ideology and meaning in early modern culture (2001)
Marion Gibson, Reading Witchcraft: stories of early English witches 1999)
Darren Oldridge (ed), The Witchcraft Reader (2002)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsEnglish Witchcraft
Course organiserDr Tom Webster
Tel: (0131 6)50 3763
Course secretary
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information