Piecing Together Perspectives on Witch Hunting: A Review of Literature

110 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2015

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Partners for Law in Development (PLD)

Date Written: 2013


From the European witch-craze in the 16th century to modern day African witchcraft beliefs and contemporary cases of violent witch-hunting in India, history has been witness to witch-hunting across time and place. Why have witch-hunts taken place in the past? What makes them endure to the present? How are witchcraft beliefs different from place to place? Why are women targeted as witches? What is the role of gender in witch-hunting? How can we make sense of how witch-hunts play out in today’s world? This review of diverse materials including scholarly articles and NGO reports tries to answer these questions and more from a feminist perspective, and attempts to piece together varied understandings on witch-hunting so as to find ways forward in which to respond to ongoing attacks on women in the name of witch-hunting.It particularly explores the value of moving beyond discourses of culture, illiteracy, superstition and irrationality, to investigate the structural reasons that explain the gendered nature of witch hunting. The review is a second publication by PLD on witch hunting, and part of a larger ongoing initiative for creating evidence and a knowledge base on the targeting of women as witches.

Suggested Citation

in Development, Partners for Law, Piecing Together Perspectives on Witch Hunting: A Review of Literature (2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2660710 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2660710

Partners for Law In Development (Contact Author)

Partners for Law in Development (PLD) ( email )

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