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Cursed Cities: Witches and Sorceresses in the Alcarría de Guadalajara between the years 1527 and 1630

Grant number: 20/16367-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - Modern and Contemporary History
Principal Investigator:Rui Luis Rodrigues
Grantee:Nara Barrozo Witzler
Host Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):22/16035-7 - Cursed cities: witches and sorceresses in the Alcarria of Guadalajara between the years 1527 and 1630, BE.EP.DR


The Early Modern period was a time of intense changes in all aspects of society. Perhaps one of the most intriguing phenomena experienced during those years was the great persecution of witches, and all kinds of superstitions, which took place in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. During this period, major religious reforms were taking place and the way in which each individual should relate to their own religiosity became a key point of debate. Driven by confessional reforms, self-control and the act of peering into one's soul for undue behavior has completely changed interpersonal relationships. In this context, the Province of Guadalajara, belonging to the Bishopric of Cuenca in the Kingdom of Castile, was experiencing the height of these transformations. After the Council of Trent, several reformist priests and bishops found practices and beliefs in the region, often coming from the clergy themselves, that had little to do with the doctrines imposed by Catholicism, several of which would surely be treated as superstitious practices. This research, therefore, aims to study sixteen inquisitorial and the Ecclesiastical Court of Cuenca cases related to superstitious practices, focusing on cases judged by witchcraft and sorcery, carried out in the Province of Guadalajara between the 16th and 17th centuries. Looking at a particular case of a small but important region, we hope with this research to contribute to advances in studies about the phenomenon of witchcraft and a greater understanding of these events.

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