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Why Were Witches Usually Women? Explaining Gender Bias in the English Witch Craze.


17383. Why Were Witches Usually Women? Explaining Gender Bias in the English Witch Craze.

EXPLAINING GENDER BIAS IN THE ENGLISH WITCH CRAZE. Focusing on the witch hunts in 16th and 17th century Elizabethan and Jacobean England, this paper considers explanations for why women comprised the overwhelming majority of those accused and/or convicted of witchcraft. The analysis begins with a brief overview of the central features of the witch craze in England (as distinct from that in continental Europe) and a discussion of the predominantly female “profile” of the English witch. Following this, the analysis explores some of the economic, social, biological, psychological and cultural factors possibly responsible for the gender bias in the English witch craze and reviews the major explanatory theories found in the current and historical witchcraft literature. KEYWORDS: witchcraft women witches gender witch persecutions older women. APA Style. 15 pages, 59 footnotes, 20 bibliographic sources. 4,950 words.
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