Year 12 Extension History Proposal “Why Witches? ” By Carl Guevarra Introduction. The image of a ‘witch’ burning at the stake, such as the well-known St. Joan of Arc, is one recognised in almost any country of the world, and which, like the Holocaust, calls for explanation, in this case, the validation of the theory that the Great European Witch Hunts, of the 14th to 17th century, were all a case of ‘gendercide’.
Gendercide is the term used to refer to forms of systematic killing of members of a specific sex, males or females, and the controversy around this concept, questions whether or not the witch “hunts were sex specific”, specifically aiming at the victimised females of the European witch trials. This theory is supported by historian, Christina Larner in, “Identification: Enemies of God: The Witch Hunt in Scotland”. Also supporting this argument is historian, Jenny Gibbons, who in “Recent developments in the study of the Great European Witch Hunts”, points out that “approximately 75-80% of the accused were women”.
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From the middle of the 1970’s, historians began to base their theories on thorough, systematic studies of events surrounding the witch trials in a specific area, and put an end to the reliance on witch-hunting propaganda. Among these historians, were also those who opposed to the theory, pointing out that men were equally treated to women. A prime example is Steven Katz, who claims the arguments of historians who claim the witch hunts to be gendercide, were false, stating that “99. 9% of all women at the time were not harmed… ” in his book “The Holocaust in Historical Context”. Preliminary Research.
At the beginning of the course, I initially aimed at working around a historical figure in art, Francisco de Goya. In extension classes on Thursday afternoons, much research was done, seeking information on not only Goya, but his conceptual framework; meaning everything involved between the artist, his artwork, his world, and his audience. However, with the abundant information found, only scarce amounts were particularly relevant to the specific topic upon which I wished to do the major project, specifically surrounding the historical validity of his paintings of the civil wars which occurred in Spain.
With this issue of a lack of relevant information, as well as a loss of interest, I decided to change the subject of my project, to one which not only interested me more, but one which would have more historical, credible information, with a variety of historians which had differing perspectives on the theory that the Great European Witch Hunts were a case of ‘gendercide’. As a result, I found interest in this controversial subject, and I propose to investigate this topic in great depth, consequently breaking through the ‘witch-hunting propaganda’.
Propaganda including the stereotypical appearance of a witch, having a pointed hat, a large nose with warts, flying on a broom, as well as the ridiculous methods of witch trials, such as determining if they were a witch, by throwing them off a cliff and anticipating to see if they would fly. Historians discovered more depth in this topic, which is what I intend to research. However, in order for me to become so interested in this subject, I had to do some preliminary research.
After being inspired by a movie, specifically “The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc” (1999) directed by Luc Besson, I began researching using the internet, entering the words like the following into Google: European witch-hunts, the Great Hunt, Witch trials of Europe, and Reason for witch trials. As a result of this research, I discovered a number of websites, which contained credible information in relation to my topic, specifically relating to the debate surrounding the European witch hunts, specifically questioning whether the events were a case of gendercide. For example, http://www. endercide. org/case_witchhunts. html, is a website, created by Adam Jones, a historian who has written books such as, “Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction”, “Studies in Comparative Genocide”, and “Gendercide and Genocide”, just to name a few. This website is a case study, tapping into the controversy of the European witch hunts, which, as evident in the title, specifically supports the theory that the witch hunts were a case of gendercide, containing relevant statistic details, such as the fact that 75-80% of the victims of the witch trials were significantly, female.
This site, of many pages, contains abundant information relating specifically to the European witch hunts, presenting not only supporting, but opposing arguments of this debate. Reading the whole case study was like reading the books mentioned in the case study, however only containing the specific relevant information. Consequently, I was led to searching for these books, which have been quoted, referenced to, or books which were simply further reading of particular websites. Some of these texts are outlined below, in the table depicting the ‘texts to examine’.
Apart from this, books I have discovered in the Bankstown library, such as: • “A History of Witchcraft. Sorcerers, Heretics and Pagans. ” by Jeffrey B. Russell • “The History of Witchcraft” by Lois Martin • “The Witchcraft Sourcebook” edited by Brian P. Levack The mentioned texts have also contributed to preliminary research of this topic, spreading light on not only the historical context of this time, but on the differing viewpoints of people from the time, as primary accounts, as well as authors or historians from more recent years. Enquiry questions. Such a topic in history has left numerous unanswered questions.
I wish to examine some of these questions, and in my project aim to find the answers to the following: • What constituted a witch? • What was the Great European Witch Hunt and when did it occur? In this case, when refers not only to the date, but the period in history and everything involved with it. • Why did the witch hunts begin? • Under whom were the witch trials enforced? • Was there a male equivalent to a witch? • How were witches proven to be real witches, if there even was such thing as a real ‘witch’? • Why has there mainly only been images of a witch burning at the stake, why not the male equivalent?
Research Intentions. Areas/texts to examine: To begin with, I believe it would be greatly beneficial for me if I further researched in great depth, the historical context of the events of the European witch hunts, specifically in the United Kingdom, between the 14th and 17th centuries. As a result, this would increase my knowledge of this time period, and the geographical areas involved, consequently widening my understanding of the events which took place. However, my sole aim is to discover answers to the debate, “Were the European Witch Hunts, of the 14th to 17th centuries, a case gendercide? “. Areas.
Areas I wish to examine in this project include the following: • The religious, political and social state of the United Kingdom, and Europe during the 14th-17th centuries • Key historical events which occurred between this timeframe, as well as events which have happened prior to it, which may of had a significant impact or relation to the witch hunts • The comparison between the beliefs of the witches, in comparison to the suspected assumptions of the people/Church/Government at the time • The true cause, or reason behind the occurrence of the witch trials • Specific details available on the witch hunts; such as the amount of trials, deaths, as well as demographical information • The treatment of male heretics, or the male equivalent to witches (In order to contribute to discovering whether or not the witch hunts were truly a case of gendercide) • Issues evident in any research including any form of bias, specifically gender bias, discrimination, opinionated or emotive accounts, which should be taken into account when using the information Texts.
After amounts of research, I have decided to examine the following texts, which have been either referenced to in case studies, relating to notion of the European witch hunts being a form of gendercide, or which have been discovered while researching at libraries. |Details of texts |Who are the historians? |What are the purposes of |How has history been |Usefulness of texts examined | |examined | |history? |constructed over time? | | | |-Jenny Gibbons (Recent |-Jones constructs this case |This website contains a case |This specific website is/has | | |Developments in the Study|study using sources, including|study, which uses the work of |been of great usefulness, as it| | |of the Great European |texts by historians.
For |several historians and books |provides an argument with | | |Witch Hunt) |example, incorporating the |from several time periods, in |credible evidence, making | | |-Nachman Ben-Yehuda (The |accounts of another historian,|order to construct a |reference to a list of | | |European Witch Craze of |Gibbons, who in her text, |historical account, for the |historians, and texts, which | | |the 14th to 17th |attempts to present a |concept of the European Witch |all contribute to supporting | | |Centuries: A |different take on the events, |Hunts, and the theory that |the thesis. Not only does this | |Website: |Sociologist’s |using previous sources, and |they were a case of |site contain great relevance to| |http://www. gendercide. o|Perspective,” American |factual data to formulate a |’gendercide’.
It is evident |the proposed topic for the | |rg/case_witchhunts |Journal of Sociology) |credible history of the |how books closer to the date, |assessment, but it also | | |-Steven Katz (The |European witch hunts. Jones |in comparison to more modern |provides account of the | |Titled: |Holocaust in Historical |also include in his case |texts, lack the historical |opposing perspectives. | |Case Study: The |Context, Vol 1) |study, a sociological view, as|credibility, and base it’s | | |European Witch-hunts |-Adam Jones, author of |presented by Ben-Yehuda, on |information on the ‘witch-hunt| | |c. 1450-1750 |the case study. the events of the European |propaganda’, such as | | | | |witch hunts, focusing on the |suspiciousness of a woman | | |Researched and written | |examination of how the people |being a witch, due to the fact| | |by | |were influenced by the world |that she did not look, | | |Adam Jones | |around them. Also mentioned in|’normal’, for example, she | | | | |the case study, is the work of|wore clothes which were not | | | | |Katz, who provides historical |feminine enough.
Another prime| | | | |information on events |example was the test to | | | | |involving mass destruction, or|determine whether a person was| | | | |loss of life, specifically |a witch or not, which involved| | | | |witch trials which occurred |testing to see if the person | | | | |during this period. |floated in water, or not.
If | | | | | |they floated, they were a | | | | | |witch, if not, they were set | | | | | |free, and propaganda of the | | | | | |sort was accepted at the time. | | | |This book is a |As Levack points out in the |As the book is a collection of|Not only is this text of great | | |compilation of primary |Preface of the book, “I have |primary sources, Levack has |usefulness, but it may be one | | source documents |compiled this sourcebook to |edited, and sorted each |of validity, reliability and | | |regarding the history of |make available a wide |account into chapters, |credibility, which is to be | | |European witchcraft and |selection of primary source |grouping relevant accounts, |confirmed after further | | |relevant events, |documents regarding the |also sorting each of them in |analysis, as each account is a | | |specifically witch |history of European |chronological order. |primary source. With the range | |Book: |hunts/trials.
Therefore, |witchcraft, especially during | |of primary sources, there is | | |there is a large array of|the period when thousands of | |diversity in the accounts, | |Titled: |historians and their |individuals were prosecuted | |offering several perspectives | |The Witchcraft |accounts of the events. |for witchcraft in secular and | |on European witchcraft. Not | |Sourcebook | |ecclesiastical courts”. As a | |only does this book provide | | | |result, the entire text | |credible information, the | |Edited by | |contains abundant information | |several accounts provide | |Brian P.
Levack | |on not only the propaganda | |evidence for, as well as | | | |form of witchcraft | |against the theory of the | | | |information, but specifically | |European witch hunts being | | | |that of the historical form. | |sex-specific. | | |Lois Martin, author of |Martin states in the |Evident in the ‘Further |This text contains useful | | |the book. |introduction of her book, that|Reading’, as well as the |information, hich can be used,| | | |none of the theories which |’Websites’ section of the |studied, and incorporated into | | |”Lois Martin lives in |”have been put forward to try |book, Martin has used numerous|my project. Not only does it | | |Somserset, England, and |explain the Witch Craze” |sources, including over 20 |contain historical information,| |Book: |has spent many years |satisfactorily explains the |texts by historians such as |but the list of books mentioned| | |studying the history of |entire phenomenon.
In her |Ellen Rosemary Guiley, Sean |for further reading, have a | |Titled: |European witchcraft, |text, she aims to cover |Martin, and Jeffrey Burton |provided a variety of texts to | |The History of |folklore and |several historical aspects of |Rusell to name a few, in order|look for in the library. | |Witchcraft |superstition. ” |Witchcraft in Europe, |to construct a text covering a| | | | |including “Witchcraft in |broad span of the “History of | | |By | |Britain and the Colonies”, as |Witchcraft”. | | |Lois Martin | |well as “The Search for Real | | | | | |Witches”. | | | Book: |Russell, is the main |As stated on the cover, by Los|This text contains information|This book would be of great | | |historian, as well as the|Angeles Times, “It separates |on the history of witchcraft |usefulness, as its aims are | |Titled: |author of this text, |centuries of supernatural |from the ancient period, |similar to the intentions for | |A History of |however uses numerous |nonsense from documented |working through the times up |my project. By discovering a | |Witchcraft. |sources by a variety of |fact…” |until modern witchcraft. |new, credible, historical | |Sorcerers, Heretics and|historians. |This text is not a form of |Russell uses previous |account of witchcraft, I will | |Pagans. |propaganda, but a historical |information, in order to |be able to further research | | | |take on subjects under the two|construct a book containing |whether the European Witch | |By | |sections of the book: Part 1 –|historical aspects of |Hunts were truly a case of | |Jeffrey B. Russell | |Sorcery and Historical |witchcraft in chronological |gendercide, or not. | | | |Witchcraft and Part 2 – Modern|order. | | | | |Witchcraft. | | Methodology: Preliminary work. |Timeframe |Form of work | |Term 4 of 2009: |Preliminary research, specifically around my initial idea of “assessing the historical | |Week 1-10 |validity/accuracy of the artworks of Francisco de Goya” | |Holidays: |After discussion, inspiration and research, I decided to change the subject of my project.
To | |Week 1-2 |what, has not been decided at this point however brainstorming has been carried out, forming | | |ideas such as controversy surrounding: Freemasons, European witch hunts, the holocaust, the | | |Spanish Inquisiton and finding whether the Bible, or the Qur’an was more historically correct. | |Week 3 |After further ‘preliminary research’, I decided that I would base my assignment around the | | |subject of the European witch hunts. This was decided after being inspired by a movie | | |specifically, “The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc” (1999) by Luc Besson, as well as some | | |research, as well as discussion.
Evident in my log book, I began brainstorming ideas, formulating| | |possible questions to investigate for my project, using research from the internet, as well as | | |discussing it further with a peer who is also currently doing extension 1 history. | |Week 4 |Carried out further research, reading through websites, case studies, as well as books, searching| | |for information specific topics such as, Causes of the European witch hunts, History of | | |Witchcraft in Europe, as well as researching the time period, basically seeking information | | |relevant to European witch-hunts.
As further research was conducted, I was able to gather an idea| | |for what the essay question could be based around: Whether or not the witch hunts were a case of | | |’gendercide’. Gendercide is a term which refers to the systematic killing of members of a | | |specific sex, either males or females. In this case the matter was focusing on gendercide against| | |females, specifically witches. Began work on proposal. | |Week 5 |Further research continued, such as searching for books in the library, which have either been | | |mentioned in websites found, or any books relating to this topic, as well as work on proposal. | |With research, discovered some historians who opposed, as well as some historians who supported | | |the theory that the witch hunts, specifically in the continent of Europe, were sex-specific. | |Week 6 |Realised that research had to be done on not only the events which happened, but more on the | | |historical context. Therefore some research was carried out on the time period, specifically from| | |the 14th to the 17th century. | |Term 1 of 2010: |Focused more on working on my proposal for the assessment task.
While doing this I searched books| |Week 1 |which I had borrowed from the library, specifically spotting out information significantly | | |relative to the apparent gendercide which may of occurred in the early modern period of Europe. | |Week 2 |Discussed work with peers, as well as my mentor Ms. Joanne Gregory. I sent my work, which was | | |still in progress, to Michelle Anisseh, Sam Pozoglou, as well as my mentor, in order to attain | | |feedback.
This feedback was definitely constructive, especially that of my mentor Ms. Gregory, | | |who not only helped correct my work, but suggested more constructive ways to complete my proposal| | |task. On the Thursday of this week, the proposal is due. | Intended work. Despite continuous work on my process log, as well as the actual project, below is an outline of how I intend to complete the assessment task. |Timeframe. |Goals. | |Term 1 of 2010: |The remainder of this term will be dedicated to locating and assessing all of my research.
I | | |also aim to find a wide variety of resources including books, internet, newspaper articles, | | |and documentaries, in attempt to answer my enquiry questions. | |Easter Holidays |During this break from school, I have arranged to visit several libraries with my classmates, | | |Michelle and Sam. The libraries we intend to visit include, Fisher Library, State Library, | | |Marrickville Library, and any other reliable libraries we can find. |Term 2 of 2010: |This period of time will be spent on collating research and creating a final outline of my | |Week 1-4 |essay. As well as this, during this time I plan to begin my actual draft. | |Week 5-10 |These five weeks will be dedicated to constructing my essay, as well as continuously assessing| | |research, and consulting my mentors. During my final week, my mentor will be proof reading my | | |essay, assisting me in perfecting my final work. | |Week 11 |Any final touches will be added in time for the due date, which is the Thursday of week 11. |