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Tuesday, 1 June 2021, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall

The Astronomer and the Witch: Kepler’s Mother

Ulinka Rublack FBA

In 1615 Katharina Kepler, illiterate mother of the astronomer Johannes Kepler, was accused of being a witch.

At that time in Germany, there was a witch ‘craze’. Over half of the c.50,000 executions in Europe for witchcraft between 1500 and 1700 took place in Germany. During the next 6 years Katharina fought her accusation. The astronomer took over her legal defence in 1620. 

This lecture explores this astonishing story, and asks how the witch craze affected people’s lives.


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Ulinka is a German historian and academic and is a professor in early modern European history and a Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge. She is the founder of the Cambridge History for Schools outreach programme and a co-founder of the Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies.

Her book Dressing Up: Cultural Identity in Early Modern Europe was winner of the Bainton Book Prize in 2011.

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