Englisches Seminar

Ambiguous Representations - Women, Witches, and Power in Literature and Critical Theory

International Summer School

Tübingen University, Germany

12.-13. April 2019.


Keynote speakers: 

Prof. Dr. Marion Gibson (Exeter University/ Renaissance and Magical Literatures) 

PD. Dr. Miriam Wallraven (Würzburg/ English Literature and Cultural Studies)

This two-day summer school will address the perpetuity of the figure of the witch in popular culture, literature, and critical theory, through workshops, seminars and lectures. 

The witch is an entirely familiar, utterly unknowable archetype, hideous but desired, feared but needed, alone but always vital to a community. Historically, they have been both mystified and abhorred; celebrated and persecuted: throughout antiquity, through the witch trials of the early modern era and into the present day.

Our obsession with witches can be seen to expose faultlines in culture and society relating in particular to gender and sexuality, and to how we perceive the “other”. Nowhere is this more present – or the subject of inquiry – than in literary and artistic representations of witches: from Goya’s Witches Sabbath (1798) to Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Lolly Willowes (1926); from Benjamin Chirstensen’s Häxan (1922) to Princess Nokia’s Brujas (1992) and more recently in Robert Eggers’ The Witch (2015), the reimagined Suspiria (2018) and Ignota Press’s occult poetry book, Spells (2018). Stories of the witch have informed our childhoods – Monica Furlong’s Juniper (1990) and Wise Child (1987), Otfried Preußler’s Die Kleine Hexe (1957) – and have formed the canon, from Shakespeare’s Macbeth (1606) to John Updike’s The Witches of Eastwick (1984). 

Over the course of this two-day summer school the well-known but always uncanny figure of the witch will provide the framework for our discussions of issues of sexuality, gender, space and place, spiritualism, and normativity. We will look at histories and herstories in representations of witches and witch culture across a diverse range of periods and environments – keeping our third eye on the current treatment of powerful women and the seemingly irreducible ‘problem’ of the vocal, knowledgeable woman. 

Please register by sending an email to summerschool.witchesspam prevention@es.uni-tuebingen.de

Information for undergraduate and postgraduate students: 

Students from any institution, who wish to have their attendance confirmed, must state this by 4 April 2019 by email to summerschool.witchesspam prevention@es.uni-tuebingen.de ein order to receive an attendance certificate. 

Students from Tübingen University will receive 2 ECTS points if they attend the conference on both days, participate in the workshops, and submit an essay or portfolio. 

Preliminary Summer School Schedule (TBC)