What is a witch? Who is a witch? And in the increasingly rational culture of Europe after the Renaissance, how and why did nearly 100,000 people – predominantly women – come to be tried for the crime of witchcraft? In many ways, the investigation of these questions hangs on another question: how do we differentiate science, magic, and religion? In pre-modern Europe, there were no clear boundaries separating these ways of knowing. This course investigates these questions, mapping them onto the interplay of old and new ideas about magic, alchemy, gender, the heavens, and the occult in pre-modern Europe.
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