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The Supernatural in Early Modern Britain (HI2E5-15)

Witches and the Devil riding on broomsticks above a landscape


Module Convenor
: Dr Martha McGill

Seminars 2021-22: Term 1, Mondays 11-1, OC0.04

Office hours 2021-22: Mondays 1-2, in person, H1.07; Tuesdays 10-11, online, via Teams

This module will focus on British conceptions of the supernatural from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Topics will include miracles, witchcraft, possession, astrology, angels, ghosts, fairies and the impact of the Reformation, Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment. The module will consider geographical differences within Britain, and students will be encouraged also to reflect on the broader global framework. We will draw on a wide range of source materials, including church and court records, pamphlets, religious or philosophical treatises, material objects, artwork, literary sources, parliamentary acts, manuscript letters and antiquarians’ accounts.

Comments from previous students:

'The module has been my favourite in this term and has been very engaging and fun to study'

'I had a lot of fun during this module'

'it was the best module I have ever done'

'The teaching has been done in an exciting way, looking intensely at both primary and secondary sources'

'The group project was absolutely fascinating'

'The wide variety of seminar questions ensured that there were many things for me to discuss and consider'

'the support I have received from the tutor has been massively helpful to my writing skills'

'Martha has been a great tutor and I appreciate the amount of work that she has put into the construction of the module - from the weekly sources to the readings themselves. I thought the discussions were engaging, despite being online, and the content was fascinating - overall I am glad I opted for this module and I would highly recommend it to second years next year.'