The Making of the Female Witch: Reflections on Witchcraft and Gender in the Early Modern Period

  title={The Making of the Female Witch: Reflections on Witchcraft and Gender in the Early Modern Period},
  author={Willem de Bl{\'e}court},
  journal={Gender \& History},
One day in the early decades of the seventeenth century, a farmhand and a shepherd in Rheden, a village north-east of Arnhem in the Dutch province of Gelderland, performed divination by sieve and shears. They let their contraption turn around while naming the women of Rheden one by one by their name and nickname. Whoever was named when the sieve turned and came to a full stop was proven to be able to bewitch. In this way they discovered that every woman in the village qualified as a witch, with… 
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In the late Middle Ages, mystical sainthood was often defined as antithetical to diabolic witchcraft. Whereas the saintly female mystic was revered as an emblem of piety, her mirror-image, the witch,
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The idea of witchcraft has been around for a long time, can be found in many cultures around the world, and has generally been understood to be a supernatural evil. Witches carried out maleficium,
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Historical analysis of the gendering of early modern witch-trials has been dominated by the complex question of why the majority of people who faced trial for witchcraft were women. To an extent, of
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[ 25 ] Between roughly 1450 and 1750, secular, Inquisitorial, and ecclesiastical courts across continental Europe, the British Isles, and the American colonies tried approximately 110,000 people for
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Gender occupies a paradoxical place in the historiography of witchcraft. The persecution of witches is not about gender alone, but it has a continuing, knotty and intractable relation to gender that


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For many years the European witch craze of the 16th and 17th centuries was considered a subject of almost "bad taste" to study. Then came World War II and a genocide which was the greatest convulsion
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The dust-jacket of this book defines Diane Purkiss as a Lecturer in English; within its pages she prefers to describe herself as a feminist literary critic. It is a potent combination, and has
Women and Witches: Patterns of Analysis
  • C. Garrett
  • History, Sociology
    Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society
  • 1977
In nearly every society that believes in witches, why are the vast majority of suspected individuals women? The stereotype of the female witch is as prevalent in Africa and Burma as it was in
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