Witch-hunts and Popular Culture (HIST*3140) | College of Arts

Witch-hunts and Popular Culture (HIST*3140)

Code and section: HIST*3140*DE01

Term: Summer 2023

Instructor: Sierra Dye


Method of Delivery: 

This course is offered in an online, asynchronous, Distance Education format. The course will include weekly online readings, tutorials, quizzes, and other activities. There are no synchronous meetings. 

Course Description:

This course will explore the phenomenon of the 'witch-hunts' in early modern Europe through a focus on Scotland in the period 1560-1700. In addition to placing the witch-hunts in their historical context by providing students with the background to Scotland’s political, religious, and social history in the early modern period, the course will introduce students to the considerable body of historical writing on the subject of the witch-hunts and give them hands on experience with primary source documents in order to discuss specific witch trials themselves. Popular and elite conceptions of witchcraft will be explored, as well as gender history.

Pre-requisite(s): 7.50 credits
Co-Requisite(s): None
Restriction(s): None

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the political, social, and ecclesiastical development of Scotland from 1560 to 1700, including major events, people, and themes;
  2. Identify a wide variety of explanations for the phenomenon of the witch-hunts;
  3. Evaluate and analyze both primary and secondary source materials used in the study of the witch-hunts and, more broadly, early modern Scotland, and employ these sources to create and defend an argument regarding a witch trial; and
  4. Utilize and evaluate the benefits and limitations of digital tools and methods in analyzing Scottish witchcraft prosecution.

Methods of Evaluations and Weights: 

  • Quizzes (6): 10%
  • Intro and Final Discussions: 10%
  • Unit Reading Discussions (2): 30%
  • Essay 1: 25%
  • Essay 2: 25%

Text(s) Required:

Title: Witch-Hunting in Scotland: Law, Politics and Religion
Author(s): Brian P. Levack
Edition / Year: 2008
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN (print): 9780415399432
ISBN (eBook):  9780203089507

*Please note: This is a preliminary website description only. The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description. The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.