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Honors Program
Course Description

Honors Program: A pathway to excellence.

HON 201/401 Revealed Truth: Witches & Witchcraft in History, Folklore, & Popular Culture

"Witch." Few words evoke such visceral reactions, for witches and witchcraft have long been conflated with evil, with malintent, with dark sorcery. But a close examination reveals a more complex picture. Through interdisciplinary perspectives that include history, cultural and women's studies, political economy, literature and comparative religion, this course will examine how the social narrative of witchcraft is itself an exercise of power, of hierarchy and cultural resistance. We will examine medieval and early modern accounts of witchcraft; women's customary roles as healers, midwives, and cooks, and how as caretakers they became prime targets for accusations of the dark arts; the political motivations and social consequences of the Burning Times, 17th-century New England and the Salem Witch Trials; the images of witches in folklore and popular culture in the context of these historical persecutions; and the contemporary reemergence of earth-based religions that have sought to honor the feminine aspects of the Divine, as well as reclaim the meaning and power of the word "witch."

Instructors: Rebecca Knotts

Substitutions: (HPSS): The 200-level version may substitute for ISSS 121, ISSS 201, PHL 101, PSCI 294, HSTA 101, HSTR 101. The 400-level version may substitute for HSTR 494 and PSCI 494. (ENG, approved 10/11): The 200-level version may substitute for LIT 163 Fantasy & Science Fiction, LIT 166 Literature & Politics, or LIT 274 The Manuscript Tradition. The 400-level version may substitute for LIT 494 Seminar in Literary Period.

Time: Block 3, Fall 2012

Carl Friedrich Gauss 1777-1855 << back next>>

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