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The Basque SerorasLocal Religion, Gender, and Power in Northern Iberia, 1550-1800$
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Amanda L. Scott

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501747496

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501747496.001.0001

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The Virgin, the Witch, and the Widow

The Virgin, the Witch, and the Widow

Suspicion and Transgression in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

(p.104) Chapter 5 The Virgin, the Witch, and the Widow
The Basque Seroras

Amanda L. Scott

Cornell University Press

This chapter identifies the challenges to the seroras' existence. When communities vied to define or limit their responsibilities and curb the seroras' influence, they often framed their complaints in gendered terms, expressing uneasiness with a vocation that tested the limits of power afforded to women. The simplest of these attacks expressed basic fears about allowing women such a degree of autonomy, while the more complex ones mixed fantasy with reality, drawing liberally from what actually went on in the seroría as well as what was only rumored. The chapter then studies three of the most common types of gendered fears surrounding the seroría, one of which is witchcraft. The flexibility and freedom of the seroría raised questions regarding what women were doing in the seroría, as well as the suspicion that they could be using the seroría for nefarious sexual purposes.

Keywords:   seroras, women, autonomy, seroría, gendered fears, witchcraft

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