Rowan University Students Bewitched by Course

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Glassboro, NJ--It's taking students in Dr. Judith Lancioni's Special Topics Honors Seminar more than a twitch of the nose to make the grade. Actually it's taking a lot of serious work. Lanci
Glassboro, NJ--It's taking students in Dr. Judith Lancioni's Special Topics Honors Seminar more than a
twitch of the nose to make the grade.

Actually it's taking a lot of serious work.

Lancioni is stirring up interest among her 17 students in <+>Bewitched by Witches<+> by using a brew of pop
culture and literature as vehicles to study the serious aspects of witches and witchcraft, including historical
context, class and gender.

Students are using <+>The Crucible,<+> <+>The Witches of Eastwick,<+> and <+>Salem Possessed: The Social Origins
of Witchcraft<+> as texts and analyzing such material as the 1960s' sitcom <+>Bewitched,<+> the classic <+>The
Wizard of Oz,<+> and the vintage <+>Bell, Book, and Candle.<+>

<+>The witch, in history, in literature, and in popular culture has served as a mechanism for exploring, and in
some cases exploiting, womanhood,<+> Lancioni noted. Through rigorous textual and contextual analysis of
fiction, film, and television programs -- both the serious and the ridiculous -- she is working with students to
examine the witch as a celebration of and reaction against the power of the female imagination, female
sexuality, and feminist politics.

<+>Bewitched by Witches<+> follows Lancioni's fall semester senior seminar <+>American Culture: A Trek
Through Time and Space,<+> which examined American culture as reflected in the various <+>Star Trek<+> series.

Said Lancioni of the two courses, <+>Popular culture is a product of the society which consumes it. It
embodies those attitudes, values, and interests that, presumably, will appeal to the widest possible audience.
It is that overt commercialism that leads many of us to discount the value of popular culture as an object of
academic study. High culture is about eternal truths; pop culture is about what sells. But for that very reason,
popular culture offers a wonderful opportunity to explore the particulars of a given time and place and often,
in the process, to discover how a particular culture constructs its own responses to recurring themes like
misogyny, greed, power, sexuality, spirituality, the essence of what it means to be human.<+>

(NOTE: <+>Bewitched by Witches<+> meets on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Upcoming classes are:

Feb. 24 <+>Bewitched<+> Discuss popular culture representations of

witches. Report: social context of the series

and assorted other series.

March 3 <+>Bell, Book, and Candle<+> Reports: social context of film; witches and

their familiars; warlocks and wizards.

March 10 <+>The Witches of Eastwick<+> Report: witches and sexuality.

March 24 <+>Rosemary's Baby<+> Report: witches in horror films.

March 31 <+>Snow White<+> Report: witches in fairy tales and folklore.

April 7 <+>The Wizard of Oz<+> Report: contemporary versions of witches in

children's literature.

April 14 <+>The Witches<+> Discuss children's literature.

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