Mapping magic beliefs and superstitions: the attitude of Catholic Church towards exorcists, healers and physicians in modern Italy
My project will deal with healers and magic practitioners, relevant figures in folk medicine as well as in folk religion. Even though very popular in the past centuries, they are still active in our societies. Taking in consideration specific categories of contemporary folk medicine figures (henceforth FM figures) in the Italian alpine area and in the area of Campania. This project will examine their beliefs, rituals, practices and behaviours and will launch a long term perspective on the changes and continuities by comparing them to the ones of the late medieval and early modern period. In particular, the comparison will deal with the early modern age, the epoch mainly affected by the witch hunt. It is coherent with the research field Christianity as it draws attention to magic beliefs, folk medicine and to the attitude that Catholic Church had adopted to limit them.