Budapest, Hungary

Magic and Witchcraft: Belief and Persecution in Global Perspective

when 8 July 2024 - 12 July 2024
language English
duration 1 week
credits 1 EC
fee EUR 300

Beliefs in witchcraft, the power of humans to intervene in the flow of life events and to harm others by supernatural means, is widely distributed both geographically and chronologically. How in European history the accusations were developed and put together with the elaboration of a sufficiently coherent framework of reference can be the focus of historical attention. This is indeed part of a wider process of formation of scapegoat images through time and on different social targets, from the heretics to the lepers, and from the Jews to ultimately witches. All this, along with the late medieval construction of the concept of the diabolic witches’ Sabbath, constitute a historical issue, the discussion and the understanding of which demand the involvement of a multidisciplinary way of approaching historical inquiry as well as an open-minded sight.

Course leader

Fabrizio Conti, Department of History and Humanities, John Cabot University, Rome, Italy

Gabor Klaniczay, Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Vienna, Austria

Target group

We invite applications from graduate/post-graduate students/scholars as well as advanced undergraduate students who have adequate prior study or engagement experience on the subject and make a compelling case in their application/statement of interest.

Course aim

This course aims to lay out the rise and downturn of witch-beliefs in medieval and early modern Europe, tracing the multifaceted roots leading to their construction, from the Classical Greek and Roman literary traditions to medieval lore and popular beliefs, up to the outburst of the “witch-craze” in early modern Europe. We would dedicate this time more attention to the shaping of beliefs and their role in igniting witchcraft prosecutions both within and beyond the paradigmatic West-European persecution waves: Central and Eastern Europe, modern witch-hunts in the global South, and neopagan revival activities will be studied in a comparative way. Discussing belief in magic and witchcraft as well as persecution from a global perspective will bring us to issues that can help us understand modern witch-hunting waves, the dangerous social psychological mechanisms leading to scape-goat persecutions, and the persistence of beliefs in magical dangers and remedies for problems in health, environment, and human communities in general.

Credits info

1 EC
Upon successful completion of the course, a certificate of attendance is also awarded.

Fee info

EUR 300: payable until May 28


The Open Society University Network is offering scholarships on a competitive basis for currently enrolled students and employees of OSUN member institutions. If admitted, fee waivers are available for students of CIVICA institutions.