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Regular version of the site

190068 Saint Petersburg
123 Griboedov channel, Room 123

Phone:+7 (812)786-92-49 

Postal address: 
190068 Saint Petersburg
123 Griboedov channel

Department Head Adrian A. Selin
Academic Supervisor Evgeniy Anisimov
Remembering the Neoliberal Turn: Economic Change and Collective Memory in Eastern Europe after 1989

Gökarıksel S., Gontarska O., Hilmar T. et al.

L.: Routledge, 2023.

Сholera Riots in Staraia Russa in 1831. People and the Authorities: Actions, Motives, Concerns
In press

Belan M.

Slavonic and East European Review. 2024. Vol. 102. No. 2.

Book chapter
The Stolbovo Treaty and Tracing the Border in Ingria in 1617–1618

Adrian Selin.

In bk.: Sweden, Russia, and the 1617 Peace of Stolbovo. Vol. 14. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2024. P. 99-118.

Working paper
The Image of the Past in Ciro Spontone’s ‘Historia Della Transilvania’

Khvalkov E., Levin F., Кузнецова А. Д.

Working Papers of Humanities. WP. Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2021

Social history of magic

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Delivered by:
Department of History
2 module


Course Syllabus


This course will examine the social history of magic in the broad context of world history. Attention will be focused on social aspects relevant to different regions in the history of magic and witchcraft. For their study, the main concepts in the course will be gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity. With the rise of rationalism and secular tendencies, it is these aspects of identity that have become key to accusations of witchcraft/witchcraft. We will therefore consider how the witch trials changed gender relations in European society; how the perception of non-Europeans was conditioned by rationalizing thinking; how magic became a legal legal argument for discrimination against particular groups; how witches and witches themselves dealt with the new reality in different regions of the world; and in what contexts the social rehabilitation of witches took place in modern times. The course will focus on the history of these transformations, which are not really confined to the realm of magic, witchcraft, and the occult, but which have been totally penetrating and changing social relations, legal concepts, ways of seeing justice, and power structures. Much of the course is a seminar class, and virtually all of the literature for the class is in English. Both Russian and English language skills are required for the course.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • формирование у студентов представлений о потенциальных возможностях методологии социальной истории в области исследования магических практик и представлений различных обществ
  • ознакомление студентов с основными понятиями в области истории магии, а также понимание основных социальных процессов, способствующих её трансформациям в новое и новейшее время
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • be able to discuss the basic concepts and history of the development of magic
  • be able to see the continuity and interdependence between the magical and the scientific
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Witch hunt in Middle Ages: demons, truth and court
  • Magic in Eastern Europe in Modern Period
  • Colonization and the manufacturing of "alienness"
  • Scientific revolutions, Enlightenment, politics and sustainability magic
  • Mimesis, magic and capitalism
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking in-class discussion
  • non-blocking essay
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2023/2024 2nd module
    0.7 * essay + 0.3 * in-class discussion


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Desperate magic : the moral economy of witchcraft in seventeenth-century Russia, Kivelson, V., 2013

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Francis Bacon: from magic to science, Rossi, P., 2009
  • Magic, science, and religion in early modern Europe, Waddell, M. A., 2021