Abstract and Keywords
This article addresses the following questions: Why was the overall majority of those prosecuted for witchcraft in early modern Europe female? Was it because women were linked more readily than men with negative beliefs about the practice of harmful magic and association with the devil, or because systems of power in communities and courts worked against women rather than men? What sorts of women were accused and why, and did other factors – age or marital and socio-economic status – influence their vulnerability to accusation? Why did witch-hunting claim a significant proportion of male victims, and why did the gendering of witchcraft prosecutions vary geographically? The article explores answers to these questions in the context of debates about witchcraft and gender, which have been shaped in particular by the influence of feminism on witchcraft historiography.
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