Dr Michael Ostling (Postdoctoral Research Fellow)
BA (Reed), MA (Toronto), PhD (Toronto).
Michael Ostling earned his PhD in Religious Studies from the Centre for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto, in 2008. His doctoral dissertation, founded on research undertaken through a Fulbright Fellowship Poland, forms the basis for his first book: Between the Devil and the Host: Imagining Witchcraft in Early Modern Poland (Oxford, 2011). Michael has also published articles on ritual desecration, the Antichrist, and Harry Potter. In recent years undergraduate pedagogy has become a secondary focus of Michael’s research and activism; while teaching at Central Michigan University (2008-2012) he was an active member of that institution’s Union of Teaching Faculty and its Teaching and Learning Collective.
Michael joined the Centre as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in July 2012, and is working on a book project tentatively titled Small Gods: Goblins, Fairies, and Demons at the Margins of Christendom. The book will explore goblins (and allied fictive preternatural beings) as creatures uniquely “good to think” about tradition, superstition, and paganism.
Telephone: (07) 334 69496
- Between the Devil and the Host: Imagining Witchcraft in Early Modern Poland (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).
Recent Articles and Book Chapters
- “Imagined Crimes, Real Victims: Hermeneutical Witches and Jews in Early Modern Poland.” In E. M. Avrutin, J. Dekel-Chen, and R. Weinberg eds., The Worlds of Ritual Murder: Culture, Politics, and Belief in Eastern Europe and Beyond (Bloomington: Indiana University Press [forthcoming 2016]).
- “‘Goblins Owles and Sprites’: Discerning Early Modern English Preternatural Beings through Collocational Analysis” (with Richard Forest), Religion 44:4 (Winter 2014).
- “Myth, Religion, and the Man Behind the Curtain,” Journal of Religion and Popular Culture 26:3 (Fall 2014).
- “Witches’ Herbs on Trial,” Folklore 125:2 (Spring 2014)
- “The Wide Woman: A Neglected Motif in the Malleus Maleficarum.” Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft vol. 8 no. 2, Winter 2013.
- "'Poison and Enchantment Rule Ruthenia,' Witchcraft, Superstition, and Ethnicity in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth," Russian History 40:3-4 (Fall/Winter 2013).
- "Witchcraft in Poland: Milk and Malefice," in Briain Levack (ed), The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America, ed. Brian Levack (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).
- "Teaching Trends: A Guide for the Perturbed," Philosophy and Religion Department, Central Michigan University (July 2013).
- "Konstytucja 1543 r. i początki procesów o czary w Polsce," Odrodzenie i Reformacja w Polsce 49 (2005).
- "Nieznany proces o czary i świętokradztwo w Lublinie, 1643," Lud, 89 (2005).
A full CV is available here