Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.A. in English

Department

English

First Advisor

Ivo Kamps

Second Advisor

Joseph Ward

Third Advisor

Karen Raber

Relational Format

dissertation/thesis

Abstract

This thesis attempts to figure witchcraft practices within a larger economic context whereby cursing and maleficent acts in general might be read as a means of political protest against the political and economic destabilization of common rights. By reading cursing and prophecy as epistemological weaponry, the thesis establishes a theory of early modern terror that corresponds to the effects of these tactics on local and national levels. Readings of traditional witchcraft literature and Shakespeare's Macbeth will hopefully allow for an understanding of witchcraft that is heavily concerned over the nature of agency within the period, particularly with regard to the ways in which magic and prognostication stimulated local economies. These "occult economies," in turn, can be read as interactive systems whereby local agents can generate larger effects within a national discourse by utilizing feedback loops generated through local interactions between magic and markets.

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