Studies in Early Modern Europe:
The Age of the Witch Hunts
113 Classic Hall
Course Description and Objectives
The objective of this course is to understand the witch hunts not as an aberration or "craze," but rather as a phenomenon that was organically related to early modern society, law, government, culture, and theology. The course examines the origins, evolution, and decline of the witch hunts, drawing comparisons between Continental Europe, England, and New England. In addition to increasing your understanding of the witch hunts and early modern society, the course is designed to deepen your appreciation of the study of history, strengthen your capacity to think critically and analytically, and improve your research and writing skills. You will be expected to analyze primary documents carefully and thoughtfully, develop and defend your own interpretations, and write a substantive research paper.
1. Joseph Klaits, Servants of Satan (Indiana) 0253204224
2. James Sharpe, Instruments of Darkness (U. Pennsylvania Press) 0812216334
3. Bernard Rosenthal, Salem Story (Cambridge) 0521558204
4. Malleus Maleficarum, ed. Montague Summers (Dover) 1585090980
5. Readings on Library Reserve
Final grades will be based on an evaluation of the following.
1. Two exams (25% each)
The exams will consist of short-answer questions and essay questions. In your essays, you will be expected (1) to isolate key themes and concepts and (2) to explain those themes and concepts with clarity and precision.
2. Oral presentation (10%) and accompanying written work (10%).
The 5-6 minute oral presentation and accompanying written work may be on any topic related to the content of the course, but the topic should be focused and precise. The presentation should be analytical and interpretive, not simply descriptive. It should present a thesis and develop an argument (and include potential counter-arguments). The accompanying written work should include an introductory paragraph (including a thesis statement), an outline of your argument (in sufficient detail to convey the logic and evidence of your argument), and a bibliography consisting of at least five substantive sources (this may vary depending on the topic). The grade will be based on the quality of the (1) thesis and argument, (2) organization, (3) logic, (4) evidence, (5) alternative interpretations, (6) sources, and (7) presentation.
3. Research paper (20%)
The research paper will be a revision of the presentation. Like the presentation, the paper is to be analytical and interpretive, not simply descriptive. It should present a thesis and develop an argument (and include potential counter-arguments). The length of the paper should be 5-6 pages. You are expected to use Interlibrary Loan when essential sources are unavailable through the Duggan Library. The grade will be based on the quality of the (1) thesis and argument, (2) organization, (3) logic, (4) evidence, (5) alternative interpretations, (6) sources, and (7) writing.
4. Class participation (10%)
The success of this class depends upon the quality of the dialogue in class. Class participation grades will reflect your attendance record, the frequency of your contributions to class discussions, and the quality of your questions, observations, and conclusions. Commentary on the presentations of others is included in the class participation grade.
Jan. 9 Klaits Preface and Ch. 1
Jan. 11 Klaits Ch. 2
Jan. 14 Kramer and Sprenger 1-21
Jan. 16 Kramer and Sprenger 31-61
Jan. 18 Kramer and Sprenger 61-96
Jan. 21 Kramer and Sprenger 96-109, 155-164, 179-188
Jan. 23 Klaits Ch. 3
Jan. 25 Klaits Chs. 4 and 5
Jan. 28 Kramer and Sprenger 194-222
Jan. 30 Kramer and Sprenger 222-261
Feb. 1 Klaits Ch. 6; Bamberg; Wurzburg; Trier
Feb. 4 Sharpe Introduction
Feb. 6 Sharpe Chs. 1; Scot
Feb. 8 Sharpe Ch. 2; Scot
Feb. 11 Sharpe Ch. 3; Chelmsforde Witches
Feb. 13 Sharpe Ch. 4
Feb. 15 Mid-Term Exam
Feb. 18 Sharpe Ch. 6; Gifford
Feb. 20 Sharpe Ch. 7; Boys
Feb. 22 Sharpe Ch. 8; Warboys
Mar. 3 Darrell; Harsnett
Mar. 5 James I
Mar. 7 Demos; Willard
Mar. 10 Presentations
Mar. 12 Presentations
Mar. 14 Presentations
Mar. 17 Presentations
Mar. 19 Rosenthal, Introduction and Ch. 1
Mar. 21 Rosenthal Chs. 2 and 3
Mar. 24 Rosenthal Ch. 4; Salem Witch Papers
Mar. 26 Rosenthal Ch. 5; Salem Witch Papers
Mar. 28 Rosenthal Ch. 6; Salem Witch Papers
Mar. 31 Rosenthal Ch. 7; Salem Witch Papers
Apr. 2 Rosenthal Ch. 8; Salem Witch Papers
Apr. 4 Rosenthal Chs. 9 and 10
Apr. 7 Klaits Ch. 7; Sharpe Ch. 9
Apr. 9 Sharpe Chs. 10 and 11
Apr. 11 Sharpe Conclusion
Apr. 14-18 Final Exam