seminar: Dr Laura Kounine (Sussex) 'Emotions, Conscience and Selfhood in Early Modern German Witch-Trials'.
Presentation, discussion, refreshments. All are welcome.
Emotions, Conscience and Selfhood in Early Modern Witch Trials
Laura Kounine, University of Sussex
This paper will discuss the ways in which emotions, selfhood and subjectivity can be explored through the lens of early modern witch trials. The crux of a witchcraft trial was premised on the moral question of what kind of person would commit such a crime. Those on trial were asked to give an account of their ‘soul’, were asked to search their conscience and lay bare their heart. In the fiercely Lutheran duchy of Württemberg, the notion of ‘conscience’ was made to matter, and it was a paradigm that both sides – the interrogators and those put on trial – appropriated and made relevant. Through an examination of two witch trials that took place in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Württemberg, this paper will examine the ways in which Lutheran ideas of conscience, sin and moral choice came to bear on the ways in which the accused and their interrogators battled over the identity of the witch.