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"Most have given up accounts of witches":
The Decline of the European Witch-hunts
Sunday, February 28, 2021
Dr. Jennifer McNabb
Head, Department of History, UNI
Witchcraft has long been a topic of particular fascination for both popular and academic audiences. Much attention has been given to the causes and course of Europe's early modern witch-hunts, exploring, in the words of one historian, the "many reasons why." An equally intriguing question, however, is why a practice that had become embedded in the cultural fabric of early modern Europe came to a close. The creator of a popular Great Courses/Teaching Company course on the phenomenon of early modern witchcraft, Dr. McNabb will explore that issue by tracing the trajectory of witch-hunting's decline during the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Her presentation will consider the early modern rise of new methods of assessing “truth,” both in the criminal courts and in the courts of the monarchs whose laws made witchcraft a crime, and it will discuss the changing material circumstances that helped put out the fires of the great European witch-hunts.