In the run up to Christmas, I taught for four weeks on Liverpool Hope’s second year witchcraft and witch-hunting course.  It was interesting to look into the subject in more depth than we do on the first year survey course, especially as I had lectures to write as well as seminars and tutorials to run.  I covered aspects of the Lancashire witch trials (very appropriate given how close I live to Pendle!), the East Anglia witch hunt and Matthew Hopkins, witchcraft in North America, the Salem witch trials and finally, the decline of witch beliefs, which meant that I was able to finish with my favourite image – one that serendipitously appeared on Twitter just as I was writing the lectures:


We had some very interesting discussions, most notably about the seventeenth-century belief in predestination and how it would affect the way you lived your life, but also about the nature of evidence that historians use to back up their claims.  The students gave some very good presentations on book chapters that they had read, identifying the key arguments and how they fitted in to wider scholarship.

All in all, it was a great experience.  I even got to pretend I had a ‘proper’ job, as I had an office to disappear to between lectures!