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Call for Papers on The Early Modern Witch (1450-1700)

Preternature: Critical and Historical Studies on the Preternatural is seeking submissions for an issue on the theme of the early modern witch. According to the call for papers:

The early modern witch is a fascinating enigma: a legal entity and a neighbourhood resource or nuisance, she purportedly engaged in natural and supernatural forms of wisdom with the potential to heal or harm others, or even herself. The words she spoke, mumbled could become malefic by intent, if not by content. According to the sensationalist constructions of witchcraft, her body was contaminated by the magics she used: she fed familiars with blood, grew spare parts, could not weep, and would not sink. In accounts focused on bewitchment and possessions, the witch vomited pins or personified pollution and a culturally legitimate cunning-person such as a physician or minister or exorcist acted as curative.

Despite the skepticism about witches that followed Reginald Scot’s assertions and the decline of legal examinations trials, the early modern witch has remained a vital force in the cultural imagination. Witchcraft remain the focus of academic articles, scholarly volumes, digital resources, archaeological digs, children’s and teenage fiction, popular media and museum studies.

This issue of Preternature, in association with the “Capturing Witches” conference, invites contributions from any discipline that highlight the cultural, literary, religious, or historical significance of the early modern witch.

Preternature is edited by Dr. Kirsten Uszkalo and published by The Penn State University Press. The guest editors of this themed edition are Professor Alison Findlay and Dr. Liz Oakley-Brown, who are also organizers of the Capturing Witches conference. For submission details/logistics, please see the complete call for papers.

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