Bewitchment, Possession, and the Diabolical Arts: Daily Life in New France


In this podcast episode, Greg Marchildon interviews Mairi Cowan, the author of The Possession of Barbe Hallay: Diabolical Arts and Daily Life in Early Canada, a microhistory of bewitchment and demonic possession in New France. This account of the possession of Barbe Hallay serves as an example of the social and religious history in and around 17th-century Quebec. With these stories, Cowan illustrates the daily fears and anxieties of people of New France and details how this case of possession compares to others of the period. She provides a social and religious history that delves into beliefs about witchcraft, demonology, religion, Catholicism, power of the church, accepted social behaviours, and the overall precarious position of the colony during this era. Mairi Cowan is Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, at the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga with a cross appointment to the Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy. She is a historian of the late medieval and early modern world, with specializations in the social and religious histories of Scotland and New France. She is also an officer of the Champlain Society. This podcast was produced by Jessica Schmidt.

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Greg Marchildon

Gregory P. Marchildon is the Ontario Research Chair in Health Policy and System Design with the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto.

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