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Witchcraft article published in the Canadian Journal of History

My article “Witchcraft Pamphlets at the Dawn of the Scottish Enlightenment” was recently published in the Canadian Journal of History as the winner of the Linda F. Dietz Graduate Essay Prize.

I initially wrote the article as a term paper for Dr Elizabeth Ewan’s excellent class on Scottish archival research at the University of Guelph. I very much thank her, the anonymous peer reviewer, and my current supervisor, Dr Alison More, for their remarks and suggestions on how to improve the paper.

I’m grateful to past and current professors who have encouraged me and my work, and while this is a subject where I’m not an expert, I did have lot of fun researching and working on this paper-turned-article.

Academia is weird, in that I don’t know if this counts as a first published article, because it’s as a gradate prize rather than just an article on its own, and I suspect that these distinctions matter, somehow. (Or, for that matter, whether the article I published during my undergrad in an undergraduate journal counts. Though doubt it for that one.) Either way, I’ll keep working and writing and hope that it all goes somewhere useful.

The abstract in English and French:

In 1563, witchcraft was established as a secular crime in Scotland and it remained so until 1736. There were peaks and valleys in the cases that emerged, were prosecuted, were convicted, and where people were executed for the crime of witchcraft, although there was a decline in cases after 1662. The Scottish Enlightenment is characterized as a period of transition and epistemological challenge and it roughly coincides with this decline in Scottish witchcraft cases. This article looks at pamphlets published in the vernacular between 1697 and 1705, either within Scotland or elsewhere, that focused on Scottish witches, witchcraft, or witch hunting. Often written anonymously, these popular pamphlets about witches, witchcraft, and witch trials reveal the tensions at play between various factions and serve as a forum for ongoing debates about what was at stake in local communities: chiefly, the state of one’s soul and the torture and murder of innocents.
Entrée en vigueur en 1563 et révoquée en 1736, la loi écossaise sur la sorcellerie considère cette pratique comme étant un crime séculaire. Les affaires de sorcellerie connurent des hauts et des bas ; des personnes furent poursuivies, condamnées et parfois executées pour ce crime. Cependant, le nombre de procès diminue après 1662. Les Lumières écossaises, qui représentent une période de transition et de défi épistémologique, coïncident à peu près avec le déclin des procès de sorcellerie. Le présent article examine les pamphlets publiés en langue vernaculaire entre 1697 et 1705, en Écosse ou ailleurs, portant sur les sorcières écossaises, la sorcellerie ou la chasse aux sorcières. Parfois rédigés anonymement, ces pamphlets populaires sur les sorcières, la sorcellerie et les procès de sorcellerie révèlent les tensions à l’œuvre entre les diverses factions, et servent de forum pour les discussions en cours concernant ce qui constituait les enjeux au sein des communautés locales, principalement l’état de son âme, la torture et le meurtre d’innocents.

You can find the article’s DOI page here:

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