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The Demonic Seminar

  • 2012-01-26
  • 2012-06-24
  • Oriel College, University of Oxford
The Demonic Seminar

An Interdisciplinary Research Seminar on Witchcraft, Demonology and the Occult in the Early Modern Period


Jan Machielsen and Thibaut Maus de Rolley



26 January | Early Modern Ghost Stories

TIMOTHY CHESTERS is a Senior Lecturer in French at Royal Holloway, University of London. He will be presenting on his recently published book Ghost Stories in Late Renaissance France: ‘Walking by Night’ (Oxford University Press, 2011), a study at the cross-roads between literary criticism, intellectual history and the history of the book.

9 February | The Gendering of Witchcraft in Intellectual Thought

LAURA KOUNINE is a PhD student in History at Clare College, Cambridge. Her PhD on ‘The gendering of witchcraft in early modern Germany’ is supervised by Dr Ulinka Rublack. Laura is particularly interested in gender, personhood, and the process of being on trial in early modern Germany. She will discuss her current work on the gendering of witchcraft, using the Demonolatry (1595) of the Lorraine judge Nicolas Rémy as a case study.

23 February | Demonology in the Age of Cosmography

THIBAUT MAUS DE ROLLEY is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in Modern Languages at Oriel College, Oxford. His paper will discuss his current postdoctoral project, entitled Demons on the Move: Conceptions and Representations of Space in Early Modern Demonology, with a special focus on the interactions between demonological and cosmographical discourse in the Renaissance.

8 March | An Introduction to Islamic Demonology

TOBIAS NÜNLIST is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Oriental Studies at the University of Basel. He will be presenting his current postdoctoral project on Islamic demonology (Dämonen im Islam: Vermittler oder Widersacher des Menschen?), based on Arabic and Persian written sources from 600 to 1500 CE.


3 May | The Early Modern Devil as Burlesque

ANTHONY OSSA-RICHARDSON is a Research Associate for the forthcoming edition of Thomas Browne's Complete Works, based at Cambridge University; he is currently editing Browne's manuscript notebooks held in the British Library. His paper will explore the Devil and his minions as figures of burlesque in early modern English literature and polemics, focusing on Canidia, or, The Witches (1683), an enormous, bizarre, and now forgotten Hudibrastic satire attributed to the royalist clergyman Robert Dixon (1614-88).

17 May | The Life of a Demonologist: Jan Wier (1515-1588)

VERA HOORENS is Professor of Social Psychology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. She was previously a research fellow in psychology at Wolfson College, Oxford, and recently obtained a second doctoral degree in history from the University of Groningen. She will be presenting on her recent book: Een ketterse arts voor de heksen. Jan Wier (1515-1588) (Amsterdam: Bert Bakker, 2011), a biography of the Dutch physician and witchcraft sceptic Jan Wier (Johannes Weyer).

31 May | Early Modern Vampires

KOEN VERMEIR is a Senior Research Fellow in History of Science at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, Paris). He will present at the seminar his research on ‘Vampires as “creatures of the imagination” in the Early Modern Period’, recently published in the collective volume Diseases of the Imagination and Imaginary Disease in the Early Modern Period, ed. by Y. Haskell (Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2011).

14 June | The Witch of Endor and the Apparition of Samuel

FRANÇOIS LECERCLE is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the Sorbonne (Paris IV). He will be presenting on his recent book entitled Le Retour du mort (Geneva: Droz, 2011), which traces, in a compa- rative and interdisciplinary perspective, the history of the early modern debates surrounding the evocation of the prophet Samuel by the witch of Endor (I Samuel/Kings, 28) – the only instance in the Old Testament of contact between the living and the dead.


Dr Jan Machielsen
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in History
Balliol College, Oxford

Dr Thibaut Maus de Rolley
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in Modern Languages
Oriel College, Oxford

The Demonic Seminar is sponsored by the British Academy.

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