This collection of essays is a thorough and enlightening presentation of what has been and what continues to be the state of the powerful woman in American society. Women and Criminal Justice Spellbound is the first serious attempt to trace the history of the witch and analyze the politics of witchcraft at diverse cultural moments in American history. Experts present compelling arguments for the gendered, racialized nature of witch persecutions and finely illuminate contemporary appropriations of magic and witchcraft. This admirable volume is a significant contribution not only to the comparative study of witchcraft but to the historians, ethnographers, and general readers alike. -- R. Marie Griffith, author of God's Daughters: Evangelical Women and the Power of Submission From the very beginning of American history, people have used the term 'witch' to identify particular groups in society, usually women, sometimes in fun, but more often with intent to do harm. Americans have wielded it to isolate, denigrate, demonize, and ultimately destroy those whose ideas and/or actions threaten, or are perceived to threaten, conventional wisdom. Spellbound helps us better understand this phenomenon. Essays by leading scholars show how changes in our definition of 'witch' reflect changes in our perception of women's roles in American society. Spellbound is an excellent addition to the literature on the role of gender in American history. -- Bryan F. Le Beau, Creighton University, author of The Story of the Salem Witch Trials This is an important collection for scholars interested in women's, religious, and Native American history, as well as American history in general. Journal of Women's History
Spellbound: Women and Witchcraft in America is a collection of twelve articles that explore crucial events in the history of witch-hunting and its demonization of women in American and American women's own use of witchcraft as a source of identity and strength, as well as the complicated relationship between the two. Beginning with the accused 'witches' of colonial America, Spellbound extends its focus through the nineteenth century to explore women's involvement with alternative spiritualities, and culminates with examinations of the contemporary feminist neopagan and Goddess movements.