DR. jenrette hist 713 History of Witchcraft

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DR. JENRETTE---HIST 713 History of Witchcraft
Office: Hendricks 146 Phone: 732-2575/1225 Email: JJenrette@edinboro.edu

Office Hours: MW 130-2:30; Mon 4-5 (Wiley 107); TR 9:30-10:30 and by appointment or walk-in!

Webpage: http://users.edinboro.edu/jjenrette/
History 713 examines the history of witchcraft, and allegations of, in Europe and the United States from the early Middle Ages to the present. It analyzes the role women played in the “witchcraze” through the 17th century in Europe and New England. Special attention focuses on the reaction of Christianity to the real and imagined practice of witchcraft. Graduate students will be expected to demonstrate a high level of knowledge and understanding of the course content.
Required Texts:

Selected (5) books on witchcraft in Europe and New England (see bibliography on pp 6-7)

Brian Levack, The Witchhunts in Early Modern Europe

Francis Hill, A Delusion of Satan

Katherine Kent, The Heretic’s Daughter

Richard Godbeer, Escaping Salem
Bluebookshttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/bf/bluebook.jpg (These may be purchased at the University Bookstore).
Selected Films May be Used:

“Three Sovereigns for Sarah”

“Witchhunter’s Bible”

“The Inquisition”

“The Salem Witches”

“The Salem Witch Trials”

“The Mists of Avalon”

Various other documentaries

Others may be viewed
Course Objectives:

  1. To understand the European background to the witchhunts in the US

  2. To understand the different historical interpretations of the witchhunts

  3. To analyze the political, economic, and social causes and implications of the witchhunts

  4. To examine the role of race, class, and gender

  5. To analyze the impact of religion in early US history

  6. To analyze the power of the Christian church in Medieval Europe

  7. To help you improve your analytical skills

  8. To help you improve your communication skills, both oral and written, through class discussions, papers, quizzes, homework assignments, etc.

  9. To examine your comprehension of the material covered in class lectures, discussions, workbook assignments, and the textbooks

  10. To identify the leading scholars and their theories about the witch trials

Course Outcomes:

Each graduate student will have:

  1. a indepth knowledge of the key people, events, and issues in the European and New England witchhunts

  2. knowledge of the impact that mass hysteria has on a culture

  3. advanced research, writing, and analytical skills

  4. an understanding of the role(s) that socio-economic and political backgrounds play in the interpretation of history

  5. enhanced the ability to express and support your own ideas through class discussions, exams, quizzes, etc.

  6. knowledge of the leading scholars and their theories about the witch trials

  7. developed the ability to write a significant research paper based upon primary and secondary sources

  8. developed the ability to write an historiographical essay identifying the leading sources on the history of the witchhunts/trials

Methods of Assessment:

  1. Regular and PROMPT class attendance is required. No more than 1 unexcused absence will be tolerated; after the 1st absence your course grade will be lowered by 10 points per cut. Tardiness will not be tolerated. If you are late to class, leave early, or are absent, you are responsible for all material covered during your absence. I will not provide the lecture material for you. To be counted present in this class, ALL OF YOU MUST BE IN ATTENDANCE, INCLUDING YOUR BRAIN! DO NOT DAY-DREAM! PAY ATTENTION OR DROP THIS CLASS.

  1. Effective reading of assigned books is expected according to the schedule. It is your responsibility to look at the schedule and keep up with reading assignments. If you cannot discuss a reading assignment on the designated date, I will immediately give you a test. If you have not read assignments, you will leave class during the discussion.

3. A. Mid-Term Exam.

B. Final Comprehensive Exam.

C. No make-up exam will be given without a note from an authorized person. Excuses offered at the end of the session for missed classes will not be considered. Exam will be in essay and objective form. Exam date is tentative and may be changed by the professor if necessary. Authorized persons do not include you!

D. Bluebooks. You must bring bluebooks to class the day before an exam is given; failure to do so will add to your expenses as I will have copies which I will sell you for $1.00 each; the bookstore’s cost is .43. Please note that I will donate the proceeds to the History Club.

  1. Research Project. An extensive 50-75 page paper which ultimately becomes a section of your thesis

  • Sept. 15: thesis statement due (what are you planning to do in the paper?)

  • Sept. 29: outline due

  • Oct. 20: working bib due

  • Nov. 3: Rough draft due

  • Nov. 24: Final paper due

  • Submission of your research paper to a scholarly journal and/or a conference. This means you must identify the journal and/or conference and provide proof that you have submitted your research paper to one or both.

  1. Historiographic Paper. Due November 15 You will select five books from the bibliography on pages 6-7 and write an historiographic paper focusing on the causes of the Salem witch trials.

  1. Lectures. Present 2-3 lectures in class on topics that are related to the course; this may include leading discussion of one of the assigned books being read by the undergraduates. You need to look at the schedule of topics and assigned books and develop a couple of ideas for lectures. These need to be confirmed by the second class meeting.


  1. Advisor to Undergraduate Group Projects.

This is designed to serve as the MAJOR research project for undergraduates in the course. They must choose one of the following research options by Monday, Sept. 15; otherwise they will ALL do Option C. They must submit a one page TYPED proposal for your research assignment by Monday, Sept. 15. I will NOT accept handwritten proposals. The proposal must identify what they are going to do, the goal and the method for achieving the goal. Graduate student role? To serve as an “advisor” to the undergraduates.

A. Game. Develop a computer or board game that focuses on some aspect of the history of witchcraft. Teams of 2-3 people.
B. Documentary. You must include footnotes/endnotes and a bibliography.
C. Research Paper. 12-15 typed pages on a selected topic, complete with full bibliography and footnotes. Due November 29, 2010. You may not write on the Salem witch trials but may write about one of the individuals in the trials OR on some aspect of the European witchcraze.
D. Museum Exhibit. For those who select this option no more than THREE people may serve on a team. You will be assigned an exhibit topic and prepare an exhibit for display in the university library. Displays must be put up in final form by the end of September. This must include narrative and bibliography; both the narrative and bibliography must be included in the display.

  • The History of Halloween

  • El Día de los Muertos (Mexico)

  • Witchcraft in Scotland

  • Specific Individuals in the Salem Witch trials

  • Witchcraft outside Europe/US

  • The Church and Witchcraft

  • Witchcraft in Europe, Latin America, Africa

  • Witchcraft in American popular culture

  • Witchcraft and Science in Europe

  • The Mathematics of Witchcraft

6. Quizzes. Periodic quizzes MAY be given on reading and lecture material. Quizzes cannot, under any circumstance, be made up. Quizzes will be included in the discussion/attendance portion of your course grade. Quizzes may also include several writing assignments such as a Cultural Analysis of the “witch” in society. Students going on the Salem trip will be expected to write a short paper which will count as a quiz grade. Students who do not go on the trip will have a quiz on a different assignment.
7. Class Discussion. Every student is expected to participate in class discussions each week. You must be present to participate; therefore, attendance will also be considered in your course grade. I will not tolerate unexcused absences. If you can’t make it to class ON TIME, DROP THIS COURSE.
8. Failure to complete all course assignments will result in an F for the entire semester.
Grading Percentages: Grading Scale:
mid-term =20% 0-59 =F

Res. Proj =30% 60-67 =D 68-69=D+

Bibliography =15% 70-77 =C 78-79=C+

Att/part/lect =15% 80-87 =B 88-89=B+

Final exam =20% 90-100=A


Course Outline:
Date Topic Reading Assignment
8/25 Introduction Levack, Intro

Definitions, images, myths, realities

Conceptions and Misconceptions

9/8 Intellectual and Legal Foundations Levack, Chapters 1, 2, 3

9/15 The Social Context of Witchcraft Levack, Chapter 5

9/22 Geography of Witchcraft Levack, Chapter 7
9/29 Witchcraft in Medieval Europe Levack, Chapter 6

dynamics of witchhunting Hill, Chapter 4

10/6 The Church: Reformation and Levack, Chapters 4, 8


Women, the Church and Witchcraft

10/9/14-10/12/14 Trip to Salem-Boston, Massachusetts

departing approximately 5:00 am on Thursday morning October 9

10/13 Calvinism in Europe Levack, Chapter 9

England and Puritans Hill, intro

Puritan New England: Establishing a New Covenant

Protestant Work Ethic

10/20 MID-TERM EXAM (tentative)
10/27 Salem, Massachusetts Hill, Chapters 1-6

Town vs. Village

A Satellite Community Godbeer, Escaping Salem

Choosing a Minister

11/3 Child’s Play or The Devil’s Playground? Hill, Chapters 3, 9, 10, 13, 14

11/10 Dynamics of Factional Conflict Hills, Chapters 7, 8, 12, 15

Putnam vs. Porter

Putnam vs. Putnam

11/17 The Devil in the Shape of A Woman Hill, Chapter 11

Discussion of The Heretic’s Daughter

Quiz MAY be given on Kent in class

11/24 Economic Basis of New England Witchcraft Hill, Chapters 16-23
12/1 The Real Devils in Massachusetts Hill, chs. 24-25
12/8 Final Exam, 6-8:00 p.m. (Wiley 107)

Only work graded by Dr. Jenrette will be counted in the course grade.

Aronson, Marc. Witch-Hunt: Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials. New York: Atheneum, 2003.

Barstow, Anne Llewellyn. Witchcraze: A New History of the European Witch Hunts. New York: Pandora-Harper, 1994.

Behringer, Wolfgang. Witchcraft Persecutions in Bavaria: Popular Magic, Religious Zealotry and Reason of State in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge, MA: Past & Present Publications, 1997.

Bostridge, Ian. Witchcraft and its Transformations. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997.

Boyer, Paul and Stephen Nissenbaum. Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. 1974.

Boyer, Paul and Stephen Nissenbaum. Salem-Village Witchcraft: A Documentary Record of Local Conflict in Colonial New England. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1972, 1993.

Breslaw, Elaine, ed. Witches in the Atlantic World: A Historical Reader & Primary Sourcebook. New York: New York University Press, 2000. 

Breslaw, Elaine. Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem: Devilish Indians and Puritan Fantasies. New York: New York University Press, 1996.

Brown, David. C. A Guide to the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692. Washington Crossing, PA: David C. Brown, 2002.

Clark, Stuart. Thinking with Demons: The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997.

Godbeer, Richard. The Devil's Dominion: Magic and Religion in Early New England. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Foulds, Diane E. Death in Salem: The Private Lives Behind the 1692 Witch Hunt. Guilford, CONN: GlobePequot Press, 2010.
Francis, Richard. Judge Sewall's Apology: The Salem Witch Trials and the Forming of an American Conscience. New York: Harper Perennial, 2006.

Hill, Frances. Deliverance from Evil: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials. New York: Overlook Press, 2011.

Hill, Frances. The Salem Witch Trials Reader. New York: Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Books, 2000.

Hoffer, Peter Charles. The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Legal History Landmark Law Cases and American Society. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1997.

Howe, Katherine. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. New York: Hyperion, 2009.

Karlsen, Carol F. The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England. New York: W.W. Norton, 1987, 1998.

Kors, Alan Charles and Edward Peters, ed. Witchcraft in Europe 400-1700: A Documentary History. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.

Lebeau, Bryan F. The Story of the Salem Witch Trials: 'We Walked in Clouds and Could Not See Our Way'. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1997.

Levack, Brian P., ed. The Witchcraft Sourcebook. London: Routledge, 2004.

Laplante, Eve. The Life and Repentance of Samuel Sewall. New York: Harper Collins, 2007.

Norton, Mary Beth. In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.

Oldridge, Darren, ed. The Witchcraft Reader. London: Routledge, 2002.

Rapley, Robert. Witchhunts: From Salem to Guantanamo Bay. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007.

Reis, Elizabeth. Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1997.

Reis, Elizabeth. Spellbound: Women and Witchcraft in America. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, Inc., 1998.

Roach, Marilynne K. The Salem Witch Trials: A Day by Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege. New York: Cooper Square Press, 2002.

Roper, Lyndal. Oedipus and the Devil: Witchcraft, Sexuality and Religion in Early Modern Europe. London: Routledge, 1994.

Salem-Village Witchcraft: A Documentary Record of Local Conflict in Colonial New England. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1972.

Starkey, Marion Lena. The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Inquiry into the Salem Witch Trials. New York: Anchor Books, 1949.

Wilson, Lori Lee. The Salem Witch Trials: How History is Invented. Lerner Publishing Company, 1996.
DISPOSITION/Basic Ground Rules for Classroom Behavior:

  1. Respect the right of others to have opinions that may differ from yours. Even if you disagree with someone, you should respect the individual's right to have that opinion.

  1. Disruptive behavior will not be tolerated in this class. Disruptive behavior includes TEXTING DURING CLASS, tardiness, leaving class early, talking, clicking pens, shuffling papers, book, etc., ringing or vibrating phones, alarming watches, gathering belongings before class is dismissed, turning work in late. TURN OFF YOUR CELLPHONES AS SOON AS YOU COME INTO CLASS!! IF YOUR PHONE RINGS DURING CLASS I WILL DEDUCT 10 POINTS FROM YOUR FINAL GRADE for each violation. Disruptive behavior also includes you using a laptop computer to “surf the net” during class. This is distracting to others and disrespectful. If you cannot use your laptop without going online or to play computer games, do not bring it to class. 10 points per incident will be deducted from your final grade. TEXTING IN CLASS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!

  1. If you do not adhere to these basic rules of respect for others, you will leave the class and DROP THIS COURSE!! I WILL NOT TOLERATE THE DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOR OF ANY STUDENT WHO ATTEMPTS TO PREVENT OTHERS FROM LEARNING. I will give you only one warning!!! It will be a verbal warning in the presence of your classmates. On the second violation, you will be dismissed from class until you can behave like a mature adult who treats others with respect. If you dare to violate these rules a third time, I will deduct 30 points from your final grade, which will make it practically impossible for you to pass this class. CONSEQUENTLY, IF YOU CANNOT ACCEPT THESE BASIC GUIDELINES, DROP THIS CLASS!!!

  1. Tardiness is unacceptable and disruptive. Do not come to class late! Regular and prompt class attendance is a requirement. Tardiness will result in the lowering of your course grade by 10 points per incident; therefore, if you cannot make it to class on time, DROP THIS CLASS! Leaving class early also fits into this category. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY WORK YOU MISS DURING ANY ABSENCE (EXCUSED OR OTHERWISE). I WILL NOT REPEAT LECTURES!

  1. One unexcused absence will be "tolerated" during the semester. After the first cut, I will deduct 10 points from your final grade for each absence.

  1. Do not socialize, talk in class (unless you are participating in class discussion), or sleep. If you cannot stay awake in this class, YOU WILL NOT PASS.

  1. Plagiarism/Cheating: The penalty for plagiarism or cheating on any assignment will an F for the entire semester and you will be referred to the judiciary process for further action.

8. If you want or need a good grade because you want to transfer to somewhere else or go to graduate school, are on academic probation, want a scholarship, or just want good grades THEN DO THE WORK TO EARN a good grade. Do not WASTE YOUR TIME, OR MINE, telling me you need a good grade the last week of class if you have not done the work for a good grade. In fact, don’t tell me you need a good grade at all; if you want a good grade then EARN IT. You will receive the grade that YOU EARN!
9. Policy of Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action: Edinboro University welcomes students, faculty, and staff from all racial, religious, national, and socio-economic backgrounds. Edinboro University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all in every aspect of its operations. The University has pledged not to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, disability, organizational affiliation, sexual orientation, and marital status. The policy extends to all educational, service, and employment programs of the University.
10. If you are not here to learn, drop this class.
If you cannot behave like a mature, responsible adult who respects other people, DROP THIS CLASS.

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