The study of the persecution of witches is not a new idea – the almost morbid fascination with women’s persecution in the form of witch trials has permeated our imaginations for decades. Indeed, the image of the witch has long been a figure of literature and art: from folkloric tales, to modern day films.
“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” This often-misquoted reflection from Karl Marx on religion’s societal role criticises the masses’ self-generated addiction to religion, as a method of dealing with capitalist society’s brutal inequalities.
In perhaps Sappho’s most quoted fragment, a preoccupation with her reputation to prosperity is immediately and ironically apparent. Most likely addressing a lover, Sappho writes: ‘someone will remember us / I say / even in another time,’ (trans. Carson). Yet the ways in which Sappho’s work has been interpreted and conceptualised throughout time has been anything but straightforward, simultaneously frustrated by her work’s fragmentation and by the complexities of identity politics.
Despite recent efforts to begin a “decolonisation” of British History, historians such as David Olusoga have illuminated ways in which “mainstream” history neglects the story of Black Britons. Looking at data taken from Advance HE’s Equality Challenge Unit for 2017-2018, the “ethnic homogeneity” of who is both writing and teaching British history is revealed.
Olive Elaine Morris (b.1953) was a grass-roots and radical Black feminist, likely known for her constant resistance to racism, sexism, and class oppression. Olive campaigned against racism, and in support of both women’s rights, international rights, and squatters’ rights. It is clear that she sought to unpick the interconnected systems which upheld the discriminatory structures in social, political, and economic arenas.