Profs & Pints: The War on Warlocks
Profs and Pints presents: The War on Warlocks, a look at the hunt for male witches in early modern France, with Thomas Rushford, professor of history at Northern Virginia Community College and former digital historian for the House of Representatives.
When we think of the witch hunt that took place in Europe in the 16th and 17th century, we typically think of women as the accused. There's good reason for that, as women accounted for about 80 percent of the 100,000 people put on trial for alleged acts of maleficia, or sorcery, with somewhere around half being convicted of practicing harmful magic.
But close examination of the witch trials that took place in individual communities has revealed that there was no single European stereotype of a witch, and very distinct conceptions of the suspect cropped up locally. Who was thought to be a witch in London might not be thought to be a witch in Paris. In the Normandy region of France, 80 percent of the accused ended up being men. Most were shepherds, with priests ranking as the second most likely to be accused.
Join Thomas Rushford, who spent nearly two years in Normandy and Kent, England, poring over court records dealing with witchcraft, for a fascinating look at local witch trials during that time. Using information drawn from his archival research and maps produced through Geographic Information Software, he will broadly discuss the patterns of the witch hunt throughout early modern Europe and then focus specifically on Normandy, describing the cases of men who got in trouble.
Professor Rushford will show that not all accusations of witchcraft arose from nowhere, and many stemmed from real claims by the accused to have practiced magic. Among the men in Normandy accused of exerting supernatural control over the world around them were a priest who have been giving consecrated hosts as a cure for parishioners' sick cattle, as well as others who merely had made light of their own supernatural beliefs, a foolish act with often-tragic results.
You'll be spellbound. (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, save $2 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors and talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself adequate time to get seated and settled in.)
The Bier Baron Tavern (Ver)
1523 22nd St NW
Washington, DC 20037
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