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Course Description

Black and white imprint of 3 witches pointing in one direction

This course will explore the phenomenon of the 'witch-hunts' in early modern Europe through a focus on Scotland in the period 1560-1700. In addition to placing the witch-hunts in their historical context by providing students with the background to Scotland’s political, religious, and social history in the early modern period, the course will introduce students to the considerable body of historical writing on the subject of the witch-hunts and give them hands on experience with primary source documents in order to discuss specific witch trials themselves. Popular and elite conceptions of witchcraft will be explored, as well as gender history.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the political, social and ecclesiastical development of Scotland from 1560 to 1700, including major events, people and themes;
  2. Identify a wide variety of explanations for the phenomenon of the witch-hunts;
  3. Evaluate and analyze both primary and secondary source materials used in the study of the witch-hunts and, more broadly, early modern Scotland, and employ these sources to create and defend an argument regarding a witch trial; and
  4. Utilize Digital Humanities tools and techniques to gather and analyze changes over time (evolution) of witch-hunting in Scotland.

Course Topics

  • Introduction to Witch-Hunts and Popular Culture
  • Overview of Witch-Hunts
  • Witch-Hunters in Scotland and Revolutionary Scotland
  • Popular and Elite Belief
  • The Role of Gender in Witch-Hunting
  • The Decline of Witch-Hunting in the 1670s
  • Modern Witch-Hunts

Additional Requirements

Prerequisite(s): 7.50 credits 

Restriction(s):   The course is only offered in online format



Assessment Item Weight Learning Outcomes
6 Unit Quizzes 10% 1, and 2
Discussions 40% 1, 2, and 4
2 Essays 50% 1, 2, 3, and 4
Total 100% 1, 2, 3, and 4


Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.

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Section Title
Witch-Hunts and Popular Culture
May 11, 2023 to August 04, 2023
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Domestic Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $683.39 Click here to get more information
Domestic Tuition Fee - Non-Ontario (0.5 units) $713.81 Click here to get more information
International Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $3,106.72 Click here to get more information
Available for Credit
0.5 units
Section Notes

Note:  If you are in a degree program at the University of Guelph, please DO NOT register using the link above.  You must register through WebAdvisor.

Section Materials
  • Textbook (Unconfirmed) (Mandatory) Witch-Hunting in Scotland: Law, Politics and Religion by Brian P. Levack © 2008 Routledge ISBN Paperback: 9780415399432 eBook: 9780203089507
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