History 219: The Age of the Witch Hunts

This course introduces students to one of the most fascinating and disturbing events in the history of the Western world: the witch hunts in early-modern Europe and North America. Between 1450 and 1750, more than 100,000 individuals, from Russia to Salem, were prosecuted for the crime of witchcraft. Most were women and more than half were executed. In this course, we examine the political, religious, social, and legal reasons behind the trials, asking why they occurred in Europe when they did and why they finally ended. We also explore, in brief, global witch hunts that still occur today in places like Africa and India, asking how they resemble yet differ from those of the early-modern world.

Professor Brock used the application Inklewriter to design a “Choose Your Own Witch-trial” project to allow students to explore regional differences in the European witch-trials in a fun, collaborative, and informative way. Learn more about this project from her blog post. Professor Brock received a Mellon Incentive Grant for 2015-2016.