Punishing Remains: Performing Witch Archives, Decriminalizing Witchcraft


The 1618 trial of Leonora Galigaï, along with her husband’s memory, was accompanied by fantastical political defamation. This talk on damnatio memoriae and the blurred borders of the witch trials investigates performing arts archives alongside literary defamation and the destruction of monuments. Combining allegations of witchcraft, Judaism, and defamations of female political leadership, this talk offers analyses of a hybrid trial in baroque Paris disclosing performative uses of print deployed in the destruction of political legacies and influence.

VK Preston is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and University College at the University of Toronto. She works at intersections of performance theory and history with a focus on seventeenth-century French and trans-Atlantic baroques. As an early-career research fellow with the History of the Emotions Project in Melbourne, Australia, VK’s work on intersections of performativity and witch studies grapples with historiography, authority, and judicial abuse as well as histories of dance, theatre, and defamation. She is a research affiliate of Early Modern Conversions Project and participant in a number of international research communities, including, most recently, as a fellow at the John Carter Brown Library in Providence.

PDF iconVK Preston Punishing Remains Poster.pdf