Something Wicked!

Submitted by Michael Neininger on
Museum Project
Museum project
Museum project drawing by Eli Noble Pasco
Museum project drawing by Eli Noble Pasco

For the students of German 298: Witchcraft: From History to Pop Culture, the haunted season began early this year. For ten weeks, the students explored the history of witchcraft, with a special focus on a 17th-century trial that took place in Germany and the representation of witches in pop-culture. Exploring the transcultural fascination with witches, students shared in teams their own reading experience of classical witches depicted in literature, from Yama-Uba to Circe to La Segua to Lilith – which often led to heated debates about the portrayal of women and discussions about why some of these characters are regularly referred to as witches while others are not. Another project required students to envision a special exhibit on witches for Seattle MoPOP and thus they had to critically evaluate what a contemporary audience learns from museum exhibitions. The final session took us to modern British cinema, represented by I Am Not A Witch, a well-received 2017 movie by the Zambian-born Welsh director Rungano Nyoni. Through powerful images and enchanting storytelling, this intriguing movie brings together the transcultural fear of witchcraft and our timeless fascination of witches. Therefore, the film was the perfect point of discussion to tie the quarter up.