ATS2579 - Witches and depravity in the medieval and early modern world - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit


Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Carolyn James


Associate Professor Carolyn James

Not offered in 2018


Twelve credit points of first-year Arts units.




This unit will consider the cultural history of Western Europe from late antiquity through to the beginnings of modernity. We will focus particularly on the persecution of witches, accused sometimes of fornication with the devil or of infanticide and cannibalism, but will look also at other individuals and groups that have been considered sinful, unnatural, freakish or depraved. In so doing, we will explore the long story of the European outsider, and ask what these harsh designations and cruel treatments of people who were marginal or different might tell us about the history of European society as a whole.


Students who have completed the subject will:

  1. be familiar with different approaches in the cultural history of the body and deviance
  2. know how to critically assess these approaches
  3. discuss their merit
  4. formulate their own positions on key issues based on a critical engagement with the historiography and relevant primary sources
  5. situate their own work within larger historiographical debates
  6. In addition, at Level 3, students will develop an independent research project.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study