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SOAN 2111 Lecture Notes - Reproductive Rights, Middle Ages

Sociology and Anthropology
Course Code
SOAN 2111
Linda Hunter

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October 17, 2012
The Serpent’s Kiss
- wants to made order out of chaos the garden
- women had leeches over her back to “suck out the evil” – what was
considered evil was her wanting to read about other cultures
- “the power of nature” – when all hell was breaking loose in the garden
- psychiatrist controls the daughter she was accused of witchcraft
- age of reason
o just hundreds of years ago
o witchcraft transition to capitalism in Europe
- broad range of pre-capitalist kinds of practices were criminalized because
they were antagonistic to the new organization of worth
- witch hunts became profit making interprises
o women healers, crafty, or midwives were accused of witchcraft
o it was functional to redefining people’s relationships to work and the
- witchcraft received support from Hobbes (the persecution of women… it’d be
social control)
- female midwives were marginalized (they were not trustworthy)
o they had some control over possible abortion, etc.
- all doctors were men
- the power of male and the church was incredible
- adultery was equated with witchcraft, just for the women
- a virgin could not be a witch and preggo women rarely charged with
- swearing, talking back, no crying during torture = witches
- while one is burning, women are learning to be better there’s a way to be in
- men couldn’t save them – all kinds of men who profited as witch-hunters
o you had to pay people to convince them you were not a witch
o broke solidarity that existed between men and women in the middle
o men were opposed to women basically
- inquisitors during witch hunt feared their loss of authority
- sexually active women represented a social danger for she could undermine
men’s social control, undermine is responsibility and his work – she could
make him lose himself and this was a problem
o witch was functional to an attack through erotic power of men
- for women, witch hunt first step to march of banning any kind of
reproductive rights, no midwives
o attempt to reduce women to reduce contraception
o repulsion of female sexuality was big at the time
- gender stereotyping and discrimination was huge
- 2/3 of women and 1/3 of men were accused of witchcraft (possibly 2 million
put to death)
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