The Devil in the Shape of a Women focuses its attention on Massachusetts and Connecticut during an eighty-year period of history from to the early eighteenth century. Karlsen pays special attention to the outbreaks of witch hysteria that brought fear to New Englanders from the mid to late seventeenth century. Using the tools of the social historian and the anthropologist, Karlsen painstakingly reconstructs the demography of witchcraft in colonial New England to answer the question of why women were seen as witches in New England Puritan society, a question that Karlsen accuses previous scholars of the period such as John Boyer, Stephen Nissinbaum and John Demos of leaving unasked. Karlsen breaks the work into three main sections.
There was a problem adding your email address. Combing through records surviving from 17th- and early 18th-century Puritan settlements in New England, she describes the lives of accusers and accused.
The first few chapters bog down under an avalanche of names, dates, places, and statistics, but the pace quickens like a bolero as Karlsen begins to unravel and analyze factors of age, gender, economics, historical context, politics, Puritan belief systems, and family and community relationships.
With the patience and skill of a good lawyer building a case of seemingly disparate and complex clues, she shows how careful examination of each factor eventually reveals witchcraft accusations as Puritan reactions to evidence of independence or rebelliousness in women. This is an explanation of witch hunts long proffered in feminist circles, but with little or no solid information to support it.
Karlsen provides the evidence. In fact, once presented, they seem to have been obvious always. An enlightening contribution to US historical studies and to the comprehension of some of the legal and lethal mechanisms of gender stereotyping.There was a higher percentage of landholders in the colonies than in Britain, and thus the colonies had a larger voting population and a higher percentage of people who were politically active than Britain.
Salem Witch Trials in History and Literature An Undergraduate Course, University of Virginia Spring Semester The Devil in the Shape of a Woman by Carol Karlsen () astutely focuses attention upon the female as witch in colonial New England, thus allowing a discussion of broader themes regarding the role and position of women in Puritan society.
The most plausible explanation to date of an implausible aspect of early American history: the witchcraft hysteria in the New England Colonies that led to over public accusations of pacts with the devil and supernatural powers. Excerpts from THE DEVIL IN THE SHAPE OF A WOMAN: WITCHCRAFT IN COLONIAL NEW ENGLAND by Carol F.
Karlsen, pp. , "Old Age in Early New England," in The American Family in Social-Historical Perspective, 2d ed., ed.
Michael Gordon (New York, ), Although this evidence ostensibly supports my .
Women and American History. Description: Books focusing on women and their role in American history, mostly -- but not exclusively -- in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England. by Carol F. Karlsen. members, 6 reviews. The Description of Female Persecutions in Colonial America in "The Devil in the Shape of a Woman"" PAGES 1.
WORDS View Full Essay. More essays like this: persecution of females, the devil in the shape of a woman, accusations of witchcraft. Not sure what I'd do without @Kibin - Alfredo Alvarez, student @ Miami University.