a visual talk by Max Dashu of the Suppressed Histories Archives
The witch-hunting Terror was the crucible of modern “Western Civilization.” It had a profound impact on women’s freedom—speech, mobility, professions, bodies, sexuality. Yet witch hunts have become a metaphor without their own significance ever having been understood or digested. Women, the old, poor, disabled, queer, and ethnic minorities were targeted as “devil-worshippers.” (And some victims really were folk healers, midwives, and diviners—or bold and indominable women.) We’ll look at how the witch craze was escalated through torture-trials; who was persecuted; and the role of rulers, churchmen, doctors and professors in propagating misogynist persecution. How did witches’ bridles, sexualized torture, and racist diabolist ideology influence European culture, and get exported as tools of colonization? What are the legacies of this repression today? It’s crucial for us to understand this prehistory of modern patriarchy and empire, which still influences the dominant culture today.