The legacy of colonial-era witch persecutions and witchcraft trials loom large in American popular memory. Politicians often evoke the phrase “witch hunt!” without any understanding of the complex histories of witch persecutions nor the legal environments which produced them. How would you explain cultural and legal histories of early American witchcraft trials to somebody who has not read  any scholarly literature on this phenomenon? Are there any contemporary analogues to early American witchcraft trials in recent legal history?

Monica Witkowski, “‘They Say I am a Witch:’ Early Maryland and Witchcraft,Preview the document” Women at Law in Early Colonial Maryland (2012).

Matthew Dennis, “Patriarchy and the Witch-Hunting of Handsome Lake,”Preview the document Seneca Possessed: Indians, Witchcraft, and Power in the Early American Republic (2011).

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