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Gender history and boundaries of witchcraft in the heart of Early Modern Europe

Final Activity Report Summary - WITCHCRAFT (Gender History and boundaries of witchcraft in the heart of Early Modern Europe)

The main objective of this project on the history of witchcraft in Europe during the early modern period was to bring out all the material collected as primary sources in the archives, mainly in France and Germany and particularly in Lorraine and Alsace.

With all the collected material, including witchcraft trials, evidence of cases in slander registers and inventories of accused people, the study revealed some conclusions about the intensity of witch hunting during this period in continental Europe along the Rhine River. The different influences of both French and German contexts brought to light new comments on this crucial phenomenon and started to draw a synthesis on this central subject which determined many aspects of the European history. The religious, political and cultural aspects appeared decisive in various ways according to the jurisdiction in question. The gender issues led to new perspectives on the place of women in society, as well as deviancies compared to orthodox practices.

The result of this work was reported in different ways, especially through the participation in different conferences and meetings and via articles that were ready to be submitted to journals by the time of the project completion. The main achievement was the international conference, held in Oxford University, about the boundaries of witchcraft in the upper Rhine region. Information on this conference was published on http://www.history.ox.ac.uk/events/. This meeting, by gathering some of the most important specialists in the history of witchcraft, was a great opportunity to reveal new material and new approaches and to discuss them in comparison to other works on the same region and on other comparable regions.