Sarah Ferber

Sarah Ferber is Professor of History at the University of Wollongong, Australia, and an Associate Investigator (2012) with the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions. She is a cultural historian researching in the fields of early modern European religion and modern medical ethics. Sarah is currently writing an overview interpretation of pre-modern European magic, witchcraft and demonology, and is involved in an ARC-funded collaborative project with Professor Vera Mackie and Dr Nicola Marks, preparing a global history of IVF.

University of Wollongong Staff Profile


Worlds Behind the World: The Politics of the Imagination in Early Modern Witchcraft, Demonic Possession and Spirituality

Selected Publications

Ferber, S. ‘The Sabbath of the soul’. In Spirit Possession. European Contributions to Comparative Studies, edited by Éva Pócs and András Zempléni. Central European University Press. Forthcoming.

Ferber, S. ‘The Devil Comes to Town: Magdaleine de Flers and the Picardy Illuminists’. In La sorcellerie et la ville, Witchcraft and the City, edited by A. Follain and M. Simon, pp. 225–38. Strasbourg: Presses universitaires de Strasbourg, 2018.

Ferber, S. ‘Psychotic Reactions? Witchcraft, the Devil and Mental Illness’. In Emotions in the History of Witchcraft, edited by L. Kounine and M. Ostling, pp. 231‒45. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Ferber, S. ‘The Constitution and Conditions of Everyday Magic in Late Medieval and Early Modern Catholic Europe’. In Everyday Magic in Early Modern Europe, edited by K. A. Edwards, pp. 161–79. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 2015.

Ferber, S. ‘Devotional Violence and Emotional Governance in a Seventeenth-Century French Female Religious House’. In Violence and Emotions in Early Modern Europe, edited by S. Broomhall and S. Finn, pp. 111–26. London: Routledge, 2015.

Ferber, S. 'Interview with Charles Zika'. In A World Enchanted: Magic and the Margins, edited by J. Davies and M. Pickering. Melbounre Historical Journal Research Series 2 (2015).

Ferber, S. 'Demonic Possession, Exorcism and Witchcraft'. In The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America, edited by Brian Levack, pp. 575–92. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Ferber, S. Demonic Possession and Exorcism in Early Modern France. London: Routledge, 2004.

Selected Presentations

Panel Discussion following Public Film Screening of Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922), dir. Bernard Christensen, The University of Melbourne, Australia, 26 November 2015. Panel: Charles Zika (Chair), Jacqueline Van Gent, Sarah Ferber, Fincina Hopgood, Alexia Kanas.

Conference paper: ‘Magic, Witches and Demons in Pre-Modern Europe and its Colonies: Current Debates’, ANZAMEMS 10th Biennial International Conference, The University of Queensland, Australia, 14–18 July 2015.

Seminar: ‘Exorcism History’, Centre de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Histoire, Histoire de l’Art et Musicologie, CRIHAM, University of Limoges, France, 28 January 2015.

Invited Presentation: ‘Journée d'études’ in honour of Carlo Ginzburg on the theme ‘la sorcellerie et la ville’, 'Une illuminée en ville : Madeleine de Flers et le problème de l'extase', University of Strasbourg, France, 26 March 2013.

Invited Lecture: 'Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe', Gauhati University, Assam, India, 29 January 2013.

Events Convened

Ferber, S. Symposium co-convenor and discussant, ‘Witchcraft and Emotions: Media and Cultural Meanings’, The University of Melbourne, Australia, 25–27 November 2015.