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The witch stereotype formation and its reframing in contemporaneity: nuances of a dysphoric alterity

Grant number: 17/02150-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2017
Effective date (End): September 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics
Principal Investigator:Elizabeth Harkot-de-La Taille
Grantee:Ana Carolina Lazzari Chiovatto
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):18/13695-0 - Witch stereotypes in England and Scotland: the discursive crystallization of dysphoric figures, BE.EP.DR


From the perspective of discursive studies, this project aims to investigate the image of the witch in two historical moments, as a transgressive figure that epitomises a dysphoric alterity. In order to reach our goal, the image of the witch is going to be discursively analysed in three consequential historic works on the delimitation of this stereotype in England: the treatise The Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584), by Reginald Scot (1538?-1599); the treatise Daemonologie (1597), by King James VI from Scotland and I from England (1566-1625); and the tragedy Macbeth (c. 1603-1607), by William Shakespeare (1564-1616). The first step of our research will refer to history studies and literature reviews about these three works, in the perspective of French semiotics. Secondly, our primary results are going to base the analysis of the image of the witch in contemporaneity, in light of its enduring stereotype, by observing the way the contemporary analysed works reframe it, and the effects such reframing has on shaping its meaning. Hence the following works and characters have been pre-selected: 1) Minerva McGonagall, Hermione Granger, Narcissa Malfoy, and Bellatrix Lestrange, from Harry Potter book series (1998-2007), by J.K. Rowling (1965-); 2) Elphaba and Glinda, from the novel Wicked, by Gregory Maguire (1954-); and 3) Gothel, from animated feature film Tangled (2010), directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, and produced by Disney Studios. By means of contrastive analysis, it is our intent to identify how the witch image (as a trangressive female figure) currently subsists, as well as gauge the dysphorization of this historical figure through the discourse of female conformity and non-conformity therein.