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2008/09 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL3213 Narratives of Witchcraft and Magic

20 creditsClass Size: 40


Module manager: Dr Alfred Hiatt

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2008/09

This module is not approved as an Elective


On completion of this module, students should be able to:

- display an awareness of the history of European witchcraft before 1500

- engage with methodological questions concerning the use of historical evidence, particularly records of legal trials

- develop interdisciplinary approaches to issues of social and literary history

Learning outcomes
Students will have developed:
the ability to use written and oral communication effectively;
the capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse;
the ability to manage quantities of complex information in a structured and systematic way;
the capacity for independent thought and judgement;
critical reasoning;
research skills, including the retrieval of information, the organisation of material and the evaluation of its importance;
IT skills;
efficient time management and organisation skills;
the ability to learn independently.

Skills outcomes
Skills for effective communication, oral and written.
Capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse.
Ability to acquire quantities of complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way.
Capacity for independent thought and judgement.
Critical reasoning.
Research skills, including information retrieval skills, the organisation of material, and the evaluation of its importance.
IT skills.
Time management and organisational skills.
Independent learning.


Before Cornelius Fudge and the Ministry of Magic . . . this module traces the rise of the concept of the witch in medieval thought and literature. The module begins with the history of magic in the Middle Ages and its association with witchcraft; introduces students to the vexed question of the use of evidence in cases of alleged witchcraft; and examines the emergence of the witch as a specifically female category. Seminars will address the Christian concepts that lay behind the persecution of witchcraft, and above all explore the connections between literary narrative and medieval historical records of witches and sorcerers, including Joan of Arc, Eleanor Cobham, and the Irish noblewoman Alice Kyteler, all of whom were accused of witchcraft. The terminus date for this module is 1486, when the discourse of European witchcraft was codified in the text Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of Witches), but one week of seminars will be dedicated to a discussion of modern narratives of witchcraft and magic typified by the work of J.K. Rowling.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours185.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Teaching will be through weekly seminars (10 x 1 hour) plus up to 5 additional hours (content to be determined by the module tutor). The 5 additional hours may include lectures, plenary sessions, film showings, or the return of unassessed/assessed essays.

Private Study: Seminar preparation, reading, essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student presentations, contribution to seminars.

1st assessed essay (Week 7)

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1700 words33.30
Essay2750 words66.70
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 24/04/2008


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