Witches, Witch-Hunting, and Women
We are witnessing a new surge of interpersonal and institutional violence against women, including new witch hunts. This surge of violence has occurred alongside an expansion of capitalist social relations. In this new work that revisits some of the main themes of Caliban and the Witch, Silvia Federici examines the root causes of these developments and outlines the consequences for the women affected and their communities. She argues that, no less than the witch hunts in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe and the “New World,” this new war on women is a structural element of the new forms of capitalist accumulation. These processes are founded on the destruction of people’s most basic means of reproduction. Like at the dawn of capitalism, what we discover behind today’s violence against women are processes of enclosure, land dispossession, and the remolding of women’s reproductive activities and subjectivity.
As well as an investigation into the causes of this new violence, the book is also a feminist call to arms. Federici’s work provides new ways of understanding the methods in which women are resisting victimization and offers a powerful reminder that reconstructing the memory of the past is crucial for the struggles of the present.
“It is good to think with Silvia Federici, whose clarity of analysis and passionate vision come through in essays that chronicle enclosure and dispossession, witch-hunting and other assaults against women, in the present, no less than the past. It is even better to act armed with her insights.”
—Eileen Boris, Hull Professor of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
“Silvia Federici’s new book offers a brilliant analysis and forceful denunciation of the violence directed towards women and their communities. Her focus moves between women criminalized as witches both at the dawn of capitalism and in contemporary globalization. Federici has updated the material from her well-known book Caliban and the Witch and brings a spotlight to the current resistance and alternatives being pursued by women and their communities through struggle.”
—Massimo De Angelis, professor of political economy, University of East London
About the Author:
Silvia Federici is a feminist writer, teacher, and militant. In 1972 she was cofounder of the International Feminist Collective that launched the Wages for Housework campaign. Her previous books include Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation and Revolution at Point Zero. She is a professor emerita at Hofstra University, where she taught in the social sciences. She worked as a teacher in Nigeria for many years and was also the cofounder of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa.