WOMENSTD 375 - A History of Witchcraft: The 1692 Salem Trials in Historical and Cross-Cultural Perspective
Section: 001
Term: WN 2009
Subject: Women's Studies (WOMENSTD)
Department: LSA Women's Studies
Credits:
4
Requirements & Distribution:
HU
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

In 1692, the notorious witchcraft trials took place in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem, however, did not arise out of the blue. The episode drew on a long history of witchcraft belief, accusation, and prosecution in Europe and the New World. In order to understand Salem and the phenomenon of witchcraft more generally, this course explores the seemingly familiar story of Salem and places it in the long context of European witchcraft belief. Fascinating and chilling in its own right, the phenomenon of witchcraft raises productive and provocative questions about human society and belief, about fear and responses to fear, about the cultural norms that permit and even encourage the deadly persecution of particular individuals, and the patterns of gendered expectations that put one gender (usually female, but not always, as we shall see) at heightened risk for witchcraft accusations. Belief in magic and witchcraft assumed widely varied forms across Europe, and the topic allows no easy answers. Moreover, although it seems at first glance an artifact of the distant past, witchcraft has produced an enormous array of modern reactions, ranging from historical and anthropological analyses, to satanic and earth-mother feminist revivals of witchcraft practice, to popular, sensationalized novels and movies. Most recently, with the recrudescence of torture as a mechanism of eliciting truth from American society’s most feared foes, witchcraft provides a productive lens through which to view contemporary beliefs, values, and practices.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:

  1. Attendance at all lectures and discussion sections is required, and participation is strongly encouraged. Short assignments may be added in section or in lecture. (25%)

  2. Two exams during the term: one in-class exam and one take-home exam. (25% each)

  3. Final Exam in the format of YOUR CHOICE: Take-home OR in-class final exam. Take-home exam will be distributed in class on the last day of classes, Thursday, April 30, and will be due at the same time as the scheduled in-class final, Thursday, April 30, 8:00 am - 10:00 am. (25%).

BOOKS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT SHAMAN DRUM BOOKSTORE:

  • Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft, new ed. (Harvard University Press, 1974).
  • Carol F. Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England (W. W. Norton & Company, 1998).
  • Alan C. Kors and Edward Peters, eds., Witchcraft in Europe, 400-1700: A Documentary History (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001).
  • Arthur Miller, The Crucible (1952) (Penguin Classics, 1995).
  • Jeffrey B. Russell and Brooks Alexander, A History of Witchcraft, Second Edition Thames & Hudson, 2007).

WOMENSTD 375 - A History of Witchcraft: The 1692 Salem Trials in Historical and Cross-Cultural Perspective
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 
24971
Open
2
 
-
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
002 (DIS)
P
24972
Open
1
 
-
W 12:00PM - 1:00PM
003 (DIS)
P
24973
Closed
0
 
-
W 1:00PM - 2:00PM
004 (DIS)
P
24974
Closed
0
 
-
Th 10:00AM - 11:00AM
005 (DIS)
P
24975
Open
1
 
-
Th 11:00AM - 12:00PM
006 (DIS)
P
24976
Closed
0
 
-
Th 1:00PM - 2:00PM
007 (DIS)
P
27920
Open
1
 
-
Th 1:00PM - 2:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

No Syllabi are on file for WOMENSTD 375. Click the button below to search for a different syllabus (UM login required)

Search for Syllabus
The CourseProfile (ART) system, supported by the U-M Provost’s 3rd Century Initiative through a grant to the Digital Innovation Greenhouse, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (ART)