HISTORY 197 - First-Year Seminar
Section: 001 Witchcraft in Russia
Term: FA 2007
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
Credits:
3
Requirements & Distribution:
HU
Other:
FYSem
Cost:
50-100
Advisory Prerequisites:
Only first-year students, including those with sophomore standing, may pre-register for First-Year Seminars. All others need permission of instructor.
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Many of the assumptions that we make about witches and witchcraft do not hold true in the Russian case. Unlike the western European cases, where witches were overwhelming imagined as female, in Russia, the vast majority of the accused were male. In the west, Satan and a satanic pact defined the essential nature of witchcraft, but in Russia the devil made little appearance in witchcraft cases. How can we explain these differences? What do the differences and similarities tell us about Russia and about witchcraft? We will analyze fairy tales, folk practices, miracle tales, contemporary descriptions and trials, and we will read several recent studies that offer thought-provoking analytical frameworks.

A new component of the course will be a unit on the understandings, justifications, and results of judicial torture in witch trials in Russia and the west, a subject with startling relevance in the world of today.

The course is conceived as a collective effort to puzzle out some of the fundamental problems and methods of comparative history. Students will have a chance to do original research and analysis.

The course requires no background in Russian history and is open to all interested first-year students.

Course Requirements:
The course will be a small discussion class, meeting twice a week. Requirements will include very short weekly response papers (2 pages), plus a longer (10 page) source-based paper due at the end of the semester. Students will be required to submit their longer papers in draft form and then to rewrite them incorporating editorial suggestions. Students will be expected to attend every class, to participate regularly, and to present results of their individual research to the class.

Books available for purchase at Shaman Drum Bookstore:

  • Aleksandr Afanasiev, Russian Fairy Tales, (Pantheon, 1976).

  • Linda Ivanits, Russian Folk Belief (M.E. Sharpe; New Ed edition (November 1992)).

  • P.G. Maxwell-Stuart, Witchcraft in Europe and the New World, 1400-1800, (London: Palgrave, 2001)

  • Christine D. Worobec, Possessed: Women, Witches, and Demons in Imperial Russia, (DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 2003).

HISTORY 197 - First-Year Seminar
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
P
22570
Open
1
3Y1
6Enrollment Management
-
TuTh 8:30AM - 10:00AM
002 (SEM)
P
28625
Open
4
12LSA Hnrs Y1
6Enrollment Management
-
Tu 3:00PM - 6:00PM
003 (SEM)
P
28626
Open
2
3Enrollment Management
1Y1
-
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
Note: Meets with AMCULT 103.004
004 (SEM)
P
28697
Closed
0
2Y1
3Enrollment Management
-
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
Note: Meets with CAAS
005 (SEM)
P
30310
Open
3
4Y1
3Enrollment Management
-
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
Note: Meets with ASIAN 253.001
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.
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