Profs & Pints: What Sparked Witch Burnings
Profs and Pints presents: What Sparked Witch Burnings, a look at the origins of Europe and North America's witch trials, with Richard Kieckhefer, professor of religious studies and history at Northwestern University and author of European Witch Trials and Magic in the Middle Ages.
Most Americans associate witch hunts with the Salem witch trials of early 1690s colonial Massachusetts, in which more than 200 people were accused, 19 ended up being executed, and several others died in jail or during interrogation. What happened in Salem, however, was not an American invention. Instead, it came about from the importation of witch hysteria from Europe, where witch persecution had started nearly a century and a half before. The Salem trials actually marked the beginning in of the end of witch trials, by calling attention to the hazards of using spectral evidence and creating distrust of the judicial proceedings involved.
Come join Professor Richard Kieckhefer of Northwestern University, a scholar of the late Middle Ages and leading authority on the history of witchcraft and magic, for a fascinating look at how Europes witch persecution began.
To get at the question of how to define a witch trial, hell look at three of the earliest cases, including the 1440 trial of Gilles de Rais, a French baron accused of conjuring demons and convicted of murdering multiple children.
Hell also look at the factors that played a role in the rapid spread of witch hunts, including the use of torture and other inquisitorial procedures to extract false convictions, the emergence of a new mythology of witchcraft and associated fears that everyday quarrels could be linked to a pervasive conspiracies and cosmic threat, and a heavy emphasis by religious and municipal leaders on reform.
Professor Kieckhefer wont be conjuring his statements up out of nowhere. He is the author of European Witch Trials: Their Foundations in Popular and Learned Culture, 1300-1500; Magic in the Middle Ages; Forbidden Rites: A Necromancer's Manual of the Fifteenth Century; and Hazards of the Dark Arts: Advice for Medieval Princes on Witchcraft and Magic. You'll be enchanted by the experience of listening to him.
The talk, at the Cambria Hotel & Suites Chicago Loop - Theatre District, is being staged as part of a collaborative between Profs and Pints and the Cambria Hotels brand intended to expand access to higher learning in Chicago and other cities.
Cambria Hotel & Suites Chicago Loop-Theatre District (View)
32 W. Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601
|Minimum Age: 18|
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|