Lewd Women and Wicked Witches: A Study of the Dynamics of Male Domination

By Marianne Hester | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter 6

The early modern witch-hunts I

INTRODUCTION

The central feature of male supremacy as it exists today is the eroticised inequality between men and women. Taking the early modern witch-hunts as the focus, I will examine how this understanding of inequality between men and women may also be relevant to analysis of historical phenomena. 1 I have chosen to focus on the period of the early modern witch-hunts (during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), not only because this has been identified as an important outcome of changes taking place in the early modern and immediately pre-capitalist period, but also for the important reason that the witch-hunts appear to have been directed primarily, and almost exclusively, at women.

The witch-hunt period was a time of major social change where existing social structures, beliefs and relationships were undergoing transformations including, potentially, also men’s and women’s roles. At that particular time a number of economic, political, legal, ideological and religious factors combined, which allowed and also prompted persecution for witchcraft. I shall argue here that the witch-hunts were an attempt at maintaining and restoring male supremacy within this context.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, primarily in Continental Europe and Scotland, but also in England and Scandinavia, thousands of people were condemned to imprisonment and death accused of the crime of ‘witchcraft’. To make obvious the intensity of persecution at this time, the period has been called the ‘witch-craze’. 2 The term ‘craze’ is in some ways problematic because it implies that the witch-hunts were carried out by crazed individuals in an exhibition of momentary madness

-107-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Lewd Women and Wicked Witches: A Study of the Dynamics of Male Domination
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 240

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?