Witches, Part 1

It being Halloween season (ah, the favorite holiday of atheists and queer people — one that defies the religious/prescriptive/normative relations of other holidays), my mind has been on witches.

This from one of my students:

Federici, S Caliban and the Witch: Women, The Body and Primitive Accumulation (Brooklyn: Autonomedia, 2004). Federici argues that primitive accumulation must incorporate the disciplining of women through a campaign of terror in the witch-hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries. The medieval woman gradually became domesticated, her labour mystified, pivotal for her husband to be put to work by capital. ‘Primitive accumulation’ not only forges the preconditions for capitalism but accumulates sexual divisions between proletarian women and men. Federici  critiques the orthodox idea of the transition as being progressive-rather, as Federici describes, it could only “destroy the possibilities that had emerged from the anti-feudal struggle”.


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