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The persecution of witches in premodern Asia


Admission requirements

BA in Asian Studies.


This elective will primarily deal with the phenomenon of witchhunts in traditional Asia, since this is the expertise of the teacher. People who wish to address the same issue for the modern period are also welcome, but should be be prepared to inteact with premodern historians well. The first half of the class will focus more on the secondary literature and representative studies in order to get into the topic. Alls tudents are required to write a final paper dealing with primary sources or a substantial analysis of the secondary studies and relevant sources in translation. The precise selection of topics will depend in part on the interests of the participants.

Course objectives

  • analytical engagement with the field that goes beyond empirical study

  • contextualising the use of accusations to further personal goals and the role of the state in the management of false accusations

  • developing academic skills such as oral presentations and writing essays


First semester, two hours per week.
Check the timetable on the departmental website.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Paper, discussion in class, and presentations.


The module will make use of blackboard for course communication, general course proceedings, and information on reading material as well as assessment criteria.

Reading list

Will be decided in class. Any serious scholarly work on witchhunts in medieval Europe or modern Africa and America will do as well in terms of preparation.


Enroll on time via uSis.

Contact information

Barend J. ter Haar