Open Access (free)
Agency and selfhood at stake
Lara Apps
Andrew Gow

victimhood. Witchcraft trials, perhaps paradoxically, have proven to be fruitful sites for finding evidence of women’s resistance and agency. Women accused of witchcraft resisted in various ways, including the recantation of confessions made under torture. This very resistance, particularly recantation, has led to some highly questionable interpretations of witchcraft cases. On one hand, it is necessary to recognise the possibility

in Male witches in early modern Europe
Bert Ingelaere

Introduction The peculiar course of the gacaca process introduced in Rwandan society to deal with the legacy of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi has been thoroughly examined in book-length scholarly studies ( Clark, 2010 ; Ingelaere, 2016 ; Chakravarty, 2015 ; Doughty, 2016 ; Longman, 2017 ). 1 Not only observations of trial proceedings but also survey results and popular narratives collected during fieldwork indicate that testimonial activity – both confessions but especially accusations – was the cornerstone of the gacaca system ( Penal Reform

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
A Congolese Experience
Justine Brabant

Brabant (2011 : 92–3). 20 Cf. above-mentioned interview (note 12): ‘Les lacunes du journalisme font le bonheur des ONG’. 21 See, for example, the collection of articles entitled ‘Secret Aid Worker’ (formerly ‘Confessions of a Humanitarian’), where professionals speak anonymously about subjects like poor management

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Rothenburg, 1561–1652

Given the widespread belief in witchcraft and the existence of laws against such practices, why did witch-trials fail to gain momentum and escalate into ‘witch-crazes’ in certain parts of early modern Europe? This book answers this question by examining the rich legal records of the German city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a city that experienced a very restrained pattern of witch-trials and just one execution for witchcraft between 1561 and 1652. The book explores the factors that explain the absence of a ‘witch-craze’ in Rothenburg, placing particular emphasis on the interaction of elite and popular priorities in the pursuit (and non-pursuit) of alleged witches at law. By making the witchcraft narratives told by the peasants and townspeople of Rothenburg central to its analysis, the book also explores the social and psychological conflicts that lay behind the making of accusations and confessions of witchcraft. Furthermore, it challenges the existing explanations for the gender-bias of witch-trials, and also offers insights into other areas of early modern life, such as experiences of and beliefs about communal conflict, magic, motherhood, childhood and illness. Written in a narrative style, the study invites a wide readership to share in the drama of early modern witch trials.

Open Access (free)
Procedures of conscience and confession
Elwin Hofman

would come up soon. He replied that she could be imprisoned for a long time, as she had denied her presence in the murder. Janssens asked ‘if she had been present, and if she confessed this, would she need to die?’ The prosecutor said that he did not think so. She then confessed that she had been present at the murder scene, but had not been involved and had not been aware of what the others were up to. Two weeks later, however, Janssens retracted this confession. She claimed that she had only confessed because the prison guard had recommended this. Nevertheless

in Trials of the self
Open Access (free)
Alison Rowlands

Introduction This book is a study of the trials involving allegations and confessions of maleficient or demonic witchcraft that took place in the German city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber between c. 1561 and c. 1652. It has two aims. First, it will explain why Rothenburg had a restrained pattern of witch-hunting during this period, with relatively few trials (even fewer of which ended in guilty verdicts against alleged witches); no mass-panics involving large numbers of accused witches; and the execution of only one alleged witch.1 Second, it will offer detailed

in Witchcraft narratives in Germany
Magic, witchcraft and Church in early eighteenth-century Capua
Augusto Ferraiuolo

the secret as ulterior social control, with the purpose of avoiding the growth of denunciations, particularly those motivated by revenge. The analogy with the sacred aspect of the confession is also noticeable. Nothing of what has been said can by definition go beyond the specific place and time of the act of denunciation. In this respect the secular action of denunciation assumes the aspect of the sacramental.22 In the above example the formalisation of the explicit reaches its maximum degree, but often it is not so elaborate. Some explicits are basically signatory

in Beyond the witch trials
Ralph Keen

indictment of traditional ecclesiastical authority. Within a year Luther would become the pole around which, negatively or positively, Western Christendom would orientate itself. Within three years Luther himself would be condemned and excommunicated by the Roman church; and before his death the dividing lines that demarcate the Western confessions to this day would be firmly in place. To 1530 One of the more fascinating historical questions is whether the youthful Greek instructor knew enough about Luther to want to join him in his work in Wittenberg. Records from

in Luther’s lives
The idioms and risks of defiance in the trial of Margaretha Horn, 1652
Alison Rowlands

patriachal elite’, whose statements and confessions were simply forced rehashings of that elite’s demonology.1 On the contrary – and despite the fact that power over the trial process lay ultimately with the council – alleged witches were capable of contributing to and of shaping the course of interrogations in idiosyncratic ways. At the same time, however, the trial of Margaretha shows that it was becoming increasingly problematic for women accused of witchcraft in early modern Rothenburg to articulate defiance against their accusers and the council without this defiance

in Witchcraft narratives in Germany
The auteur as an ekphrastic ghost
Maaret Koskinen

to conceiving yet more narratives, namely the novels based on his parents— Den goda viljan (1991)/ The Best Intentions (1992), Söndagsbarn (1992)/ Sunday’s Children (1994), and Enskilda samtal / Private Confessions (1996). 2 The present chapter focuses on precisely this kind of detailed linguistic description of photographs in some of Bergman’s writings. In this instance, however, my aim is to demonstrate that the uses and functions of such ekphrases extend well beyond their role in

in Ingmar Bergman