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Name: Natalie Grace

PhD: History

Thesis Title: Publications, Popular Opinion and Gender in the Context of Witchcraft in the Holy Roman Empire, 1480-1560 


Thesis Description:

My research seeks to examine how publications influenced popular perceptions of witchcraft as a feminine crime in German-speaking lands of the Holy Roman Empire between 1480 and 1560. It aims to address the relative lack of scholarly attention that this period has received in studies of the European 'witch craze', which reached its peak in many European countries between 1560 and 1660 and resulted in the execution of approximately 50,000 people. Although the overwhelming majority of those executed for witchcraft across Europe were women, witchcraft was not always associated with women. During the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries in the Empire, the proportion of men and women accused was roughly equal. Drawing on a range of German and Latin documents including demonological treatises, witchcraft pamphlets, trial records and sermons, I am investigating how and why witchcraft came to be considered a feminine crime by 1560, and how elite and popular interest in prosecuting witchcraft altered between 1480 and 1560. 


Supervisors and Institution(s): 

Dr David Gehring (University of Nottingham, Department of History

Dr Simone Laqua-O'Donnell (University of Birmingham, Department of History


Other Research Interests:

  • The value of sermon literature as a historical source (subject of my MA dissertation Witchcraft, Reformation and Sermons in Early Modern Germany 1530 - 1630)
  • Reformation and Counter-Reformation in Germany
  • The Devil and his power in early modern German culture 
  • The relationship between 'elite' and 'popular' culture in the early modern period 
  • 'popular' magical practices in the late medieval and early modern period 


University email address:


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