Appel à publication : « Becoming a Witch. Women and Magic in Medieval Europe (ca. 500-1400) », date limite le 31 mars 2021

Becoming a Witch. Women and Magic in Medieval Europe (ca. 500-1400)

Edited by Andrea Maraschi (University of Bari)

Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen, Saul and the Witch of Endor, 1526, oil on panel, Rijksmuseum

In the fifteenth century, through the treatises by Jean Gerson, Johannes Nider, Alphonso de Spina, Heinrich Kramer and others, a new conceptualization of women’s involvement in magic took shape, which led to crafting an idea of the “witch”. The aim of this volume is to publish original research exploring the slow and complex path leading to such a turning point. On the basis of recent emic approaches to the anthropological magic-religion-science categorical triad, the book is meant to answer questions such as: in what types of “magical” practices were women especially involved between the 5th and the 15th centuries? Which ordinary and extra-ordinary issues did they address? Were there either “religious” or “medical” elements in said practices and, if so, what did their “magical” features consist of? These are only a few questions to which this collection wants to answer. The volume is open to contributions which will address conciliar legislation, archaeological evidence, narrative sources (within their socio-cultural contexts), chronicles, philosophical and theological debates on the role of women – sometimes seen as vetulae – in folk medicine, penitentials, exempla, etc. The intention is to analyze in depth the specific features of feminine magical knowledge and practice in medieval Europe, if and how those were transmitted, and how different were earlier female practitioners of magic from the later stereotypical idea of the woman as a “witch”. Interdisciplinary and innovative approaches are particularly welcomed.

All submitted papers will undergo a double blind peer review process.

Submission deadline and information

Abstract submission: Please send us your titles and abstracts, accompanied by a short author bio by March 31st, 2021. Please e-mail the editor at

Once your abstract is accepted, you will be informed about the full paper submission deadline.

Publication information

The volume will be published in the series Advances in the History of Magic, Witchcraft and Religion (ISSN 2732-1673), edited by Fabrizio Conti

You can download here the call for papers in PDF format.


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