Happy Halloween! In the spirit of All Hallows Eve, Cambria Press is highlighting Sexing Political Culture in the History of France because of this fascinating chapter “Sexual Crimes in the Early Modern Witch Hunts.”
According to Maryse Simon (University of Strasbourg), “the witch hunt was an essential element in early modern European politics, setting the stage for a long historical preoccupation with gender and sexuality as central themes in ideological concerns about the place of women and of religion in society.”
Simon elaborated that “sex, lust, and sexual deviancy were crucial themes in the witch craze, and were more generally prevalent in early modern society. According to the Malleus Maleficarum, the famous Hammer of Witches published in 1486 in Strasbourg to answer all the questions the judges could have about witchcraft cases, erotic magic was the most widespread form of magic because original sin was transmitted by sexual intercourse, and God allowed the devil to have more power in this field than in others.”
Simon’s research reveals how “the assimilation of sexual crimes to witchcraft enabled the preservation of a moral order” and establishes how witchcraft “represented one of the first documented imbrications of gender and sexuality in the increasing intrusion of the state into early modern society.”
Read this book which Carolyn J. Dean, the John Hay Professor of International Studies at Brown University, praises for being “a cutting-edge collection that moves coherently from the early modern witch hunt to race in postcolonial France”!
Professors, if you would like to use this for your class, please refer your librarian to the Cambria Press Desk Copy Plus Program which helps you get free versions for your students!
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