This course asks how belief in supernatural causes shapes societies, relates to religion and idolatry and changes depending on the context. Studying what constitutes superstition from Apuleius to the Virgin of Guadalupe, from Inquisitorial Spain to the Salem Witch Trials, can expose the complexities of a particular society and how racial, gender, class and territorial conflicts can be disguised as manifestation of a spell. Students will develop a critical understanding of the malleability of the concept, focusing in its role in Early Modern Spain the newly discovered Americas and the contemporary world. Course assignments, focused reaction papers, a poster session and a semester-long project are designed to prepare students to meet the complex questions of the term in the most engaging way.

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