I am applying to present on this research at both my university’s undergraduate research symposium and to the Southern Regional Honors Conference. The abstract below will be on both applications, and I feel that it summarizes this course much better than anything else I have written. Please note that rather than talking about fantasies, I am now talking about fascinations. After discussing this project with a very respected peer, I decided that fascinations worked better rather than fantasies as you will see below.
The witch archetype is one of the most important in literature and film as it fully embodies society’s perceptions of womanhood. Both genders project their fears and fascinations concerning women onto the witch, and as such witches express most prominently the duality between what people want women to be and what they fear they can become. This project aims to create an Honors course that examines how our fears and fascinations influence the portrayal of witches in film and literature. Students will discuss how these portrayals reveal the hidden biases of society towards women and how various forms of media, including novels, films, and graphic novels, determine audience perceptions. In addition, students will place representations of witches in their historical and scholarly context in order to better understand society’s changing fears and fascinations concerning powerful women. Finally, the course questions if the archetype can reinvent itself for today’s society.