Course Syllabus

  • General Information
    • Professor Information

      Erin Weston
      (305) 348-1329
      DM 322B (MMC)
      Office Hours:
      By Appointment
      Canvas Messages

      Course Time Zone | Eastern Standard Time (EST). Course due dates are according to this time zone.

      Course Description And Purpose

      This course will provide a historical and cultural overview of witchcraft ranging from the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period through to the present. Students will look at several theories about the cause of the European witchcraze.  After providing a historical context, we will explore contemporary beliefs, practices, and theories about Witchcraft and Neopaganism. We will also explore Paganism as a general concept in the context of global religious traditions. 

      Course Objectives

      Students will be able to:

      • identify several key theories about the causes of the European witchcraze and the Salem Witch Trials;
      • analyze the role of gender in historical witch-hunting and in contemporary witchcraft;
      • compare and contrast various pagan religions;
      • recognize and understand different forms of contemporary pagan and earth-centered religions; and
      • review contemporary literature on “Pagan Studies.” 
  • Important Information


        Please review the FIU's Policies and Netiquette webpage. The policies webpage contains essential information regarding guidelines relevant to all courses at FIU, as well as additional information about acceptable netiquette for online courses.

        As a member of the FIU community you are expected to be knowledgeable about the behavioral expectations set forth in the FIU Student Code of Conduct.

        Technical Requirements and Skills

        One of the greatest barriers to taking an online course is a lack of basic computer literacy. By computer literacy we mean being able to manage and organize computer files efficiently, and learning to use your computer's operating system and software quickly and easily. Keep in mind that this is not a computer literacy course; but students enrolled in online courses are expected to have moderate proficiency using a computer. Please go to the "What's Required" webpage to find out more information on this subject.

        Privacy Policy Statements for Partners and Vendors

        Please visit our Technical Requirements webpage for additional information.

        Accessibility and Accommodation

        The Disability Resource Center collaborates with students, faculty, staff, and community members to create diverse learning environments that are usable, equitable, inclusive and sustainable. The DRC provides FIU students with disabilities the necessary support to successfully complete their education and participate in activities available to all students. If you have a diagnosed disability and plan to utilize academic accommodations, please contact the Center at 305-348-3532 or visit them at the Graham Center GC 190.

        For additional assistance please contact FIU's Disability Resource Center.

        Web Accessibility Statements for Partners and Vendors 

        Please visit our ADA Compliance webpage for additional information about accessibility involving the tools used in this course.

        Academic Misconduct Statement

        Florida International University is a community dedicated to generating and imparting knowledge through excellent teaching and research, the rigorous and respectful exchange of ideas and community service. All students should respect the right of others to have an equitable opportunity to learn and honestly to demonstrate the quality of their learning. Therefore, all students are expected to adhere to a standard of academic conduct, which demonstrates respect for themselves, their fellow students, and the educational mission of the University. All students are deemed by the University to understand that if they are found responsible for academic misconduct, they will be subject to the Academic Misconduct procedures and sanctions, as outlined in the Student Handbook.

        Academic Misconduct includes: Cheating – The unauthorized use of books, notes, aids, electronic sources; or assistance from another person with respect to examinations, course assignments, field service reports, class recitations; or the unauthorized possession of examination papers or course materials, whether originally authorized or not. Plagiarism – The use and appropriation of another’s work without any indication of the source and the representation of such work as the student’s own. Any student who fails to give credit for ideas, expressions or materials taken from another source, including internet sources, is responsible for plagiarism.

        Learn more about the academic integrity policies and procedures as well as student resources that can help you prepare for a successful semester.

        Course Prerequisites

        There are no prerequisites for this course.

        Panthers Care & Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

        If you are looking for help for yourself or a fellow classmate, Panthers Care encourages you to express any concerns you may come across as it relates to any personal behavior concerns or worries you have, for the classmate’s well-being or yours; you are encouraged to share your concerns with FIU’s Panthers Care website.

        Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers free and confidential help for anxiety, depression, stress, and other concerns that life brings. Professional counselors are available for same-day appointments. Don’t wait to call 305-348-2277 to set up a time to talk or visit the online self-help portal.

        Proctored Exam Policy





        Textbook Image


        Pagan Theology: Paganism as a World Religion

        Michael York

        NYU Press, 2005

        ISBN-10: 0814797083 

        ISBN-13: 978-0814797082

        You may purchase your textbook online at the FIU Bookstore.



        Textbook Image

        Witchcraze: A New History of the European Witch Hunts

        Anne L. Barstow

        HarperOne, 2nd edition, 1995

        ISBN-10: 0062510363

        ISBN-13: 978-0062510365

        You may purchase your textbook online at the FIU Bookstore.



        Textbook Image

        Seeking the Mystery: An Introduction to Pagan Theologies

        Christine Hoff Kraemer

        Patheos Press, 2012

        ISBN-10: 1939221188

        ISBN-13: 978-1939221186

        You may purchase your textbook online at the FIU Bookstore.



        Textbook Image

        Introduction to Pagan Studies

        Barbara Jane Davy

        AltaMira Press, 2006

        ISBN-10: 0759108196 

        ISBN-13: 978-0759108196

        You may purchase your textbook online at the FIU Bookstore.


        Expectations of this Course

        This is an online course, meaning that most of the course work will be conducted online. Expectations for performance in an online course are the same as for a traditional course; in fact, online courses require a degree of self-motivation, self-discipline, and technology skills that can make them more demanding for some students.

        In addition to the completion of writing assignments and exams, the primary requirement for successful completion of this course will be an open mind. Students are expected to exhibit respect to all religious traditions and peoples at all times. Thus, disrespectful or derisive commentary will not be tolerated in this course. Religion is, after all, a very personal and sensitive subject for many.

        On the other hand, class participants can expect academic freedom to express their views. Although religion can be personal, this is an academic course taken for college credit and thus students are expected to examine the topics rigorously. Religion shall not be exempt from the scrutiny placed on any and all academic subjects. Students will be responsible for all materials covered in class. Exams may include any and all of the aforementioned materials.

        Students are expected to:

        • Review the how to get started information located in the course content
        • Introduce yourself to the class during the first week by posting a self introduction in the appropriate discussion forum
        • Take the practice quiz to ensure that your computer is compatible with Canvas
        • Interact online with instructor and peers
        • Review and follow the course calendar
        • Log in to the course at least 5 times per week
        • Respond to discussion boards, blogs and journal postings by the deadline.
        • Respond to messages within 3 days or sooner.
        • Submit assignments by the corresponding deadline

        The instructor will:

        • Log in to the course 4 times per week
        • Respond to blogs and journal postings within 1 week.
        • Respond to messages within 3 days or sooner.
        • Grade assignments within 2 weeks of the assignment deadline.




  • Course Detail



      Course Communication

      Communication in this course will take place via the Canvas Inbox. Check out the Canvas Conversations Tutorial or Canvas Guide to learn how to communicate with your instructor and peers using Announcements, Discussions, and the Inbox. I will respond to all correspondences within 3 days.



      Discussion Forum

      Keep in mind that your discussion forum postings will likely be seen by other members of the course. Care should be taken when determining what to post.



      In order to mitigate any issues with your computer and online assessments, it is very important that you take the "Practice Quiz" from each computer you will be using to take your graded quizzes and exams. It is your responsibility to make sure your computer meets the minimum hardware requirements.

      All assessments will auto-submit when (1) the timer runs out OR (2) the closing date/time is reached, whichever happens first. For example, if a quiz has a closing time of 5:00 pm but the student begins the exam at 4:55 pm, the student will only have 5 minutes to complete the quiz.

      Assessments in this course are not compatible with mobile devices and should not be taken through a mobile phone or a tablet. If you need further assistance please contact FIU Online Support Services.


      There will be fully online quizzes covering each section. Your quiz scores will be averaged together for a final quiz score worth 15% of your final grade. All quizzes consist of 10 multiple-choice questions, and each question will be worth 10 points. A quiz will be available from Monday 12:00 am till Monday 12:00 noon of the given week. Once you open a quiz, you will have 20 minutes to complete and submit it. You will have two attempts to take a quiz. The highest score will be counted. 

      Final Exam

      The final exam will be cumulative. The exam will consist of 51 questions. Question distribution will be as follows: 40 multiple choice, 10 true/false, and 1 essay question. The multiple choice questions will be worth 2 points, the true/false questions will be worth 1 point and the essay question will be worth 10 points.



      Weekly Blogs

      Blogs are an open communications tool for students to share their thoughts. Here you can post text, images, links and attachments, open for comments.

      1.  Within the Module 1 folder you will find information on how to upload a video to YouTube and how to upload a video through Video Everywhere into the Introduce Yourself blog. Students will upload all course videos to their personal YouTube channel and then into the assignment's particular blog due date noted in course schedule of this syllabus:

      • Introduce Yourself Video Blog

      2.  Blogs can be found in the Blog portion of the course menu or within the content area of the course.

      • There will be eight course blog topics. The topics will be posted on "Course Blogs" folder in the Course Content. Students must post well thought-out comments based on the required work throughout the semester. Participation is required and represents 15% of your final grade. Both the quantity and the quality of your posts will contribute to your grade. All students are required to participate in all the five topics (at least 200 words). Please see the blog samples and the blog rubric to see what components are expected. Blogs must be posted during the period they are assigned and are due by 11:59 pm on the Monday which ends that particular lesson.
      • Once you have composed your original posting, take some time to carefully review other postings within your discussion group. Pick two that are most interesting to you and provide meaningful, detailed, and constructive feedback.
      • Keep in mind that your course blog postings will likely be seen by other members of the course. Care should be taken when determining what to post.

      Witchcraze Wiki

      'Students will work together in groups of 4 students on theories of witch hunts. Students must self-enroll in a group during the first week of the module. 

      Students will be able to sign up for available groups from week 1 - week 4 in the groups section of the course. If you do not choose a group in time, you will be assigned to a group.  

      For class we have read Anne Llewellyn Barstow’s book Witchcraze: A New History of the European Witch Hunts where she writes about the role of gender in the witch hunts. However, historians do not all agree about what were primary causes of the witch hunts in Europe and in the United States.  Now you will do your own research and explore other possible theories.  In groups of four, students will create wiki pages to explore a theory.  Each page will consist of a summary of their theory, problems or criticisms of the theory, examples of the theory and a conclusion.  Additionally, wikis should include relevant sources either as a bibliography or in text url links, as well as relevant pictures, videos, and related resources.

      Summary of :

      1. theory,
      2. problems and criticisms of the theory,
      3. examples of theory,
      4. conclusion


      Adapted from James Howe. 21A.211 Magic, Witchcraft, and the Spirit World. Fall 2003. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare,  License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 

      For critiques and one historian’s analysis also see Ten Common Errors and Myths about the Witch Hunts

      Game - “A Witch Hunt: Germany 1628 



      • You will need to do research; your textbook and required readings will not have enough information about the topic. You will need to consult a minimum of three outside sources and one must be a book reference. You will also need notes in your paper, and a Bibliography/Works Cited page in MLA style.
      • Do not use Wikipedia as an internet source. You may use internet sources, but use only academic sources from the internet. (Academic sources list individual authors, name their sources, and have institutional affiliations.) Points will be deducted for infractions of these rules. 
      • The  wiki tool allows the professor the ability to see each students contributions to the group wiki.  Group members are encouraged to equally contribute content to the wiki, as group participation will be factored into your final grade.
      • Furthermore, students will have the ability to evaluate their group members' contributions to the final project utilizing the iPeer evaluation tool.  This group evaluation assignment is worth 50% of the wiki total grade and must be completed by the wiki due date.  

      Paganism as World Religion - Student Debate

      During week 2 students will be randomly assigned to a group. Each group will consist of 4 students and students within each group must respond to each other. Students will use this group and its corresponding video blog in order to participate in the course debate. Each group will represent a specific debate topic and within the first blog post for each group, students will be able to identify their specific debate position (i.e. pro, or con). Students will be expected to post their debate video on the appropriate date for their assigned position. 

      In this book Pagan Theology: Paganism as World Religion, Michael York argues that Paganism is really the root of religion. He breaks his argument down to three main factors: religion, behavior, and theology.  Do you agree with York? Is his argument successful, or does he fall short? Why or why not? Provide examples to support your answer.

      Students will choose between:

      • Student 1 -  Paganism as Religion - Pro or Con
      • Student 2 -  Paganism as Behavior - Pro or Con
      • Student 3 -  Paganism as Theology - Pro or Con
      • Student 4 -  Summary / Conclusion - Which argument was the most persuasive, and why? 

      Each original video should be around 2 to 3 minutes and no more than 5 minutes in length. After each person has presented their initial video, group members should post short response videos around 1 minute in length. 

      Students will be expected to review the debate video blogs of other groups after the end of the module. Students will be expected to comment on other groups videos and give suggestions, constructive criticisms, and commendations on their debate videos.

      Research Paper

      There will be one essay assigned throughout the semester, which is aimed at assisting in the comprehension and synthesis of the concepts presented throughout the course. 

      There will be four main choices for the paper topic.

      1. Extensive Analysis into the Witch Hunts – In this option, you may choose to extend your research from the earlier part of the semester and go in depth into one of theories on the Witch Hunts. Please make sure that your research extends beyond the cursory presentation expected in the group wiki project.  (Historical or Sociological Perspectives)
      2. Theological Analysis of a Contemporary Religious Group – In this option, you choose a particular group or denomination and analyze their specific beliefs. You can utilize the ideas in Michael York and Christine Hoff Kraemer’s books to explore the specific theological beliefs and structures in a particular group. (Theological Perspective)
      3. Historical Analysis of a Contemporary Religious Group – In this option, you will choose one Neopagan group and write a historical analysis tracing the group’s development. This analysis should clearly illustrate the theological and philosophical changes that occurred over time. Students must clearly address the relationship between the new group, the parent group, and the local society out of which it developed. In other words, what factors, both external and internal, caused the need for the development of the new form of Neopaganism or Witchcraft, and what is distinct about their teachings. (Historical or Sociological Perspectives)
      4. Participant Observation –In this option, students will observe and analyze a local coven or group’s ritual. This will probably not be easy to find, but if you can find a group willing to allow you to come, then I wanted to give you this option. Your paper will include background information about the particular group, as well as description and analysis from your experience. (Anthropological Perspective)

      You must utilize at least three academic sources.

      This essay will be at least 1500-2000 words long (6 pages double-spaced) and will be worth 20% of your grade. This is a formal academic essay and students must cite their sources. MLA is the preferred citation style in Religious Studies. 

      Submission: Students must submit their essays to the Turnitin Assignment Dropbox

      This assignment requires three separate submissions in order to receive full credit for this assignment.

      1. The first requires you to submit your complete paper to the “Initial Research Paper Submission” in the Turnitin Assignment Dropbox so that your paper can be sent your classmates for Review.  It is imperative that you submit this assignment on-time, since if you do not you will be unable to complete the second portion of this three part assignment (5%).
      2. In the second portion of this assignment you must access the “Research Paper Peer-Review” link in the Turnitin Assignment Dropbox area of the course.  You will be directed to review three of your classmate’s papers.  In order to receive full credit for this portion of the activity you must answer all questions presented to you for each paper (5%).
      3. Lastly, you will evaluate your reviewed paper and make any necessary edits to it.  You will then submit your final version to the “Research Paper Final Submission” link in the Turnitin Assignment Dropbox area of the course (10%).

      Late Papers: Late papers are only accepted under extreme and verifiable conditions. Papers are deducted 1 letter grade per calendar day and are only accepted within the first 3 days late. 

      Students are responsible for reading their messages and all announcements posted by the instructor. The instructor also reserves the right to make changes to the syllabus by means of announcements or messages with ample time allowed for students to respond and adjust appropriately.

      Plagiarism: Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Plagiarism, or attempting to pass off another's work as your own, falls into three different categories:

      1. A written work that is entirely stolen from another source;
      2. Using quotations from another source without properly citing them; and
      3. Paraphrasing from another source without proper citations.

      Students are expected to understand the definition of plagiarism. See the University Code of Academic Integrity  if you need further clarification. Offenders will receive a grade of F for the plagiarized assignment, and possibly the course

      You will need to do research; your textbook and required readings will not have enough information about the topic. You will need to consult a minimum of three outside sources and one must be a book reference. You will also need notes in your paper, and a Bibliography/Works Cited page in MLA style. 

      Do not use Wikipedia as an internet source. You may use internet sources, but use only academic sources from the internet. (Academic sources list individual authors, name their sources, and have institutional affiliations.) Points will be deducted for infractions of these rules.

      If you have questions regarding how to cite or what to cite, ask me BEFORE you submit your essay. If you turn in your paper and you "accidentally" plagiarize parts of your essay, you will fail the assignment and possibly the course. Better safe than sorry! To reiterate, ask me before the due date if you are unsure about how to cite your sources.

      **Students may not submit work from a previous semester or from another class for this assignment or any other assignment in this course. It will be flagged for plagiarism by Turnitin.

      Review the detailed Turnitin Instructions. on how to submit your assignments and how to review the Grademark comments (feedback) from your professor.


      After completion of the paper, students will do a virtual presentation for the class. Class presentations may take a variety of forms, including: videos posted on to YouTube, or a PowerPoint. I am open to other possibilities, but you must obtain permission from me before proceeding. Students are expected to review their classmates' presentations.



      Notes about grading...

      Course Requirements Number of Items Points for Each Weight
      Introduce Yourself Video Blog 1 10 2%
      Witchcraze Wiki 2 100 10%
      Paganism as World Religion - Student Debate 1 100 10%
      Blogs 8 10 15%
      Quizzes 8 100 15%
      Final Exam 1 100 15%
      Research Paper (5% Initial submission/ 5% Peer-Review/10% Final submission) 3 100 20%
      Presentation 1 100 13%
      Total 25 N/A 100%


      Letter Range (%) Letter Range (%) Letter Range (%)
      A 95 or above B 83 - 86 C 70 - 76
      A- 90 - 94 B- 80 - 82 D 60 - 69
      B+ 87 - 89 C+ 77 - 79 F 59 or less





  • Course Calendar
    • Module Weekly Schedule

      Module 1: Paganism as World Religion

      Weeks 1-3 (January 7- 28)


      • Paganism as Religion
      • Paganism as Behavior
      • Paganism as Theology
      • Supplementary readings


      • Introduce Yourself Video Blog
      • Pagan Theology Blog
      • Pagan Theology Quiz
      • Student Debate

      Module 2: The European Witchcraze

      Week 4-6 (January 28- February 18)


      • Textbook: Witchcraze, Chapters 1 - 8
      • PDF: Demon Lovers, Chapter 1


      • Students must sign up for Witchcraze wiki group
      • Witchcraze Blog
      • Witchcraze Quiz
      • Witchcraze Wiki
      • iPeer Group Evaluation

      Module 3: Contemporary Witchcraft and Neopaganism


      Weeks 7-8: February 18 - March 4

      Topic: Beliefs


      • Textbook: Seeking the Mystery, Chapters 1 -2
      • Textbook: Introduction to Pagan Studies, Chapters 1 - 2
      • PDF: New Age and Neopagan Religions in America – Early Varieties of Alternative Spirituality in American Religious History


      • Beliefs Blog
      • Beliefs Quiz

      Weeks 9-10: March 4 - 18

      Topic: Magic and Rituals


      • Textbook: Seeking the Mystery, Chapters 3 - 4
      • Textbook: Introduction to Pagan Studies, Chapters 3 - 4
      • PDF: Ritual is My Chosen Art Form: The Creation of Ritual as Folk Art Among Contemporary Pagans


      • Magic and Rituals Blog
      • Magic and Rituals Quiz

      Weeks 11-12: March 18- April 1

      Topic: Historical and Literary Influences


      • Textbook: Introduction to Pagan Studies, Chapters 5 - 7


      • Research Paper Draft
      • Historical and Literary Influences Blog
      • Historical and Literary Influences Quiz

      Week 13: April 1 - 8

      Topic: Denominations


      • Textbook: Introduction to Pagan Studies, Chapters 8
      • PDF: Contemporary Paganism - Druidry, Contemporary Paganism - Heathens, and Contemporary Paganism - Goddess Spirituality


      • Denominations Blog
      • Denominations Quiz
      • Research Paper Peer-Review

      Week 14: April 8 - 15

      Topic: Ethical and Current Issues


      • Textbook: Seeking the Mystery, Chapter 5
      • Textbook: Introduction to Pagan Studies, Chapters 9 - 10


      • Ethical and Current Issues Blog
      • Ethical and Current Issues Quiz
      • Research Paper Presentation

      Week 15 April 15 - 22

      Topic: Literature Review


      • Textbook: Introduction to Pagan Studies, Chapter 11
      • PDF: Practitioners of Paganism and Wiccan Spirituality in Contemporary Society: A Review of the Literature


      • Literature Review Blog
      • Literature Review Quiz
      • Research Paper Final Draft

      Module 4: Presentations

      Week 16: April 22 - 27


      • PDF: Practical Strategies to Engage your Audience and Enhance your Presentations


      • Final Exam


Course Summary:

Date Details Due