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Michael Ostling

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Honors Faculty Fellow
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 1612
Lect Sr RMY+Hon Fac Fellow
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 1612
Faculty Affiliate
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 1612
Biography: 

Michael Ostling is a religious studies scholar focusing on the history, historiography, and representation of witches and witchcraft. His published works include a general history of witchcraft in early modern Poland, an edited volume on Christian understandings of goblins and fairies globally, and work in the history of emotions, the ethnobotany of witchcraft, the demonization of Jews and witches, and the millenarian roots of religious toleration. He also writes on theories of religion, often by way of pop culture studies, with work on Harry Potter (and secularization theory) and the Wizard of Oz (and theories of myth). Ostling's current work is taking him in a new direction: critical pedagogy, with an emphasis on the educational philosophy of the 20th-century Polish dissident Jacek Kuron.

Education: 
  • PhD Religious Studies, University of Toronto 2008
  • MA Religious Studies, University of Toronto 2000
  • BA Religious Studies, Reed College 1998
Research Interests: 

Witches and Witchcraft, Anthropology of Religion, History of Christianity, Goblinology, Polish Studies, Critical Pedagogy

Publications: 
  • DATABASES
  • Editor, The Polish Witch-Trial Database. Beta-version at https://dev-witchtrials-new.ws.asu.edu/
     
  • BOOKS and EDITED VOLUMES
  • Michael Ostling ed. (2017). Fairies, Demons and Nature Spirits: “Small Gods” at the Margins of Christendom. Palgrave Macmillan (Palgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic).
  • Laura Kounine and Michael Ostling eds. (2016). Emotions in the History of Witchcraft. Palgrave Macmillan (Palgrave Studies in the History of Emotions).
  • Michael Ostling ed. (2016). Magic, Ritual, & Witchcraft (Special Issue on Witch Flight), vol. 11 no. 1.
  • Michael Ostling (2011). Between the Devil and the Host: Imagining Witchcraft in Early Modern Poland. Oxford University Press.
     
  • PEER-REVIEWED ARTICLES and BOOK CHAPTERS
  • Michael Ostling (2020). "'Accuser of Brothers’: A Polish Anti-Demonological Tract and Its Self-Defeating Rhetoric.” Reformation & Renaissance Review. Forthcoming.
  • Michael Ostling (2017). “Where’ve All the Good People Gone?” In M. Ostling ed., Fairies, Demons, and Nature Spirits. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Michael Ostling (2017). “Imagined Crimes, Real Victimes: Hermeneutical Witches and Jews in Early Modern Poland.” In E. M. Avrutin, J. Dekel-Chen, and R. Weinberg eds., Ritual Murder in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Beyond: New Histories of an Old Accusation, pp. 18-38. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Michael Ostling and Laura Kounine (2016). “‘Unbridled Passion’: Witchcraft in the History of Emotions”. In L. Kounine and M. Ostling eds., Emotions in the History of Witchcraft. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Michael Ostling (2016). “Speaking of Love in the Polish Witch-Trials.” In L. Kounine and M. Ostling eds., Emotions in the History of Witchcraft. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Michael Ostling (2016). “Anti-Anti-Culturalism: A Response to Edward Bever’s ‘Culture Warrior.’” In Preternature vol. 5 no. 237-241.
  • Michael Ostling (2016). “Introduction to the Special Issue: How (and Why) Do Witches Fly?” In Magic, Ritual, & Witchcraft vol. 11 no. 1 pp. 1-5.
  • Michael Ostling (2016). “Babyfat and Belladonna: Flight Ointment and the Contestation of Reality.” In Magic, Ritual, & Witchcraft vol. 11 no. 1 pp. 30-72.
  • Michael Ostling (2015). “Secondary Elaborations: Realities and the Rationalization of Witchcraft (Review Essay). Preternature vol. 4 no. 2 pp. 203-210
  • Michael Ostling (2014). “Myth, Religion, and the Man Behind the Curtain.” Journal of Religion and Popular Culture vol. 26 no. 3 pp. 275-286.
  • Michael Ostling (2014). “‘Goblins Owles and Sprites’: Discerning Early Modern English Preternatural Beings through Collocational Analysis” (with Richard Forest). Religion vol. 44 no. 4 pp. 547-572.
  • Michael Ostling (2014).  “Witches’ Herbs on Trial.” Folklore vol. 125 no. 2 pp. 179-201.
  • Michael Ostling (2013). "Witchcraft in Poland: Milk and Malefice.” In B. Levack ed., The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America, pp. 318-333. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Michael Ostling (2013). “The Wide Woman: A Neglected Motif in the Malleus Maleficarum.” Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft vol. 8 no. 2 pp. 162-170.
  • Michael Ostling (2013).  “‘Poison and Enchantment Rule Ruthenia.’ Witchcraft, Superstition, and Ethnicity in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.” Russian History / Histoire Rus vol. 40 no. 3-4 pp. 488-507.
  • Michael Ostling (2005). “Konstytucja 1543 r. i początki procesów o czary w Polsce” [The parliamentary decree of 1543 and the beginnings of witch-trials in Poland]. Odrodzenie i Reformacja w Polsce [Renaissance and Reformation in Poland] vol. 49 pp. 93-103.
  • Michael Ostling (2005). “Nieznany proces o czary i świętokradztwo w Lublinie, 1643” [An unknown trial for witchcraft and theft of the Eucharist in Lublin, 1643]. Lud [Folk] vol. 89 pp. 191-204.
  • Michael Ostling (2003). “Harry Potter and the Disenchantment of the World.” Journal of Contemporary Religion vol. 18 no. 1 pp. 3-24.
  • Michael Ostling (2001). “Be Kind to the Antichrist. Millenarianism and Tolerance in the Edict of Pskov.” Studies in Religion / Sciences Réligeuses vol. 30 no. 3-4 pp. 261-276.
     
  • OTHER PUBLICATIONS
  • Michael Ostling, trans. (2015). “A Polish Trial for Witchcraft at Lublin, 1644.” In Brian P. Levack, ed., The Witchcraft Sourcebook, 2nd ed., pp. 226-229. London: Routledge.
  • Michael Ostling (2013). “Teaching Trends: A Guide for the Perturbed.” Commissioned in-house report, Philosophy and Religion Department, CMU. Online at: https://www.cmich.edu/colleges/chsbs/conferences/TLC/Documents/Teaching-Trends--A-Guide-for-the-Perturbed.pdf .
  • Michael Ostling (2009). “In the Year of Whose Lord?” History Today vol. 59 no. 10 pp. 6-7.

 

Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 272The Human Event
HST 590Reading and Conference
Fall 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 272The Human Event
HON 394Special Topics
HON 499Individualized Instruction
HST 590Reading and Conference
HST 790Reading and Conference
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 171The Human Event
HON 394Special Topics
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 171The Human Event
HON 499Individualized Instruction
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 272The Human Event
HON 394Special Topics
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 171The Human Event
HON 394Special Topics
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 272The Human Event
HON 394Special Topics
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 171The Human Event
HON 381Science and Social Worlds
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 272The Human Event
HON 394Special Topics
HST 499Individualized Instruction
Fall 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 171The Human Event
HON 394Special Topics
Honors / Awards: 
  • American Academy of Religion Collaborative International Research Grant, 2020.
  • Institute for Humanities Research Subvention Grant, 2020.
  • Melikian Center Research Grant, 2020.
  • Drescher Award, 2019, 2018, 2016.
  • Honorary Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Queensland, 2015-present.
  • Governor General's Gold Medal (Canada), 2008.
  • Fulbright Fellow, 2003-2004.
Editorships: 
  • Co-Editor, Magic, Ritual, & Witchcraft
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Gods and Monsters
Professional Associations: 
  • American Academy of Religion
  • Societas Magica
  • United Campus Workers of Arizona