Witch Hunt: A Traveler's Guide to The Power + Persecution of The Witch

Witch Hunt: A Traveler's Guide to The Power + Persecution of The Witch

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Part history, part “armchair” travelogue, Witch Hunt is a captivating guide to the historic witch hunts and how their legacy continues to impact us today.

A confluence of political, economic, and religious factors in the early modern era inspired witch hysteria to ignite like wildfire in Italy, France, England, and northern Europe, which would then go on to follow early colonists into America. At the heart of these accusations were warped ideas about the supposed evils of female sexuality and the female body. Women were often named as the driving force behind the influx of “witches” in these communities, and they were disproportionately punished for it.

The European and American witch hunts between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries are usually glossed over in American schools, although this time period greatly informs our ideas about who and what witches are. This lineage of oppression remains an important and often overlooked reference point through which we can contemplate women’s rights—and human rights—in the Western world and beyond.

In Witch Hunt, Kristen Sollee, a second-generation witch herself, retraces the steps of the famed witch hunts of Europe and America, taking the reader on a journey that is grim and yet empowering, even joyful. This heathen’s guide to history, often irreverent and playful, is written with reverence for those who suffered through the darkest of times.

Witch Hunt isn’t only an exploration of the horrors of history but also surveys how the archetypal witch has been rehabilitated.

Kristen J. Sollée is a writer, curator, and educator exploring the intersections of art, sex, and occulture. She is the founding editrix of Slutist, a sex positive feminist website, and lectures at The New School and across the US and Europe. Sollée’s signature college course, "The Legacy of the Witch" follows the witch through history, pop culture, and politics. Her critically-acclaimed book inspired by the course, Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive, was published in 2017.