Second International Feminist Encounter on the Witch-hunt
Colonialism, Extractivism and Violence Against Women
Led by the Church and certain sectors of civil society, the “witch-hunt” was a way to discipline women in Europe and the Americas from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. As evinced by Silvia Federici in her book Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation (Autonomedia, 2004), this process was a foundational element of modernity and capitalist society, denoting the break-up of communal relations that had hitherto existed and making women accept their new role as invisible workers in a new production system and as carers of labour.
Today, these mechanisms of submission linger in the criminalisation of ways of life that counter the advance of capitalism and colonialism, such as those upheld by women participating in anti-extractivist movements and defending territories in Latin America and India.
Three years on from its first edition, the Second International Feminist Encounter on the Witch-hunt. Colonialism, Extractivism and Violence Against Women continues by retrieving the memory of women accused of being witches and hounded and murdered in the Early Modern Period, and analysing mechanisms used for such purposes which persist today.
Zoe Abán is a dancer who has trained, since 2018, in contemporary dance, dance-theatre and improvisation with Marian Villanueva Alcañiz. She is part of the youth section of the dance-theatre collective Colectivo CulGest.
Sashiprava Bindhani is a researcher and an activist against witch-hunts in Odisha (India). With a degree in Legislative Law-making, she has worked as the state director of the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) from Odisha and has participated in drafting the Law for the Prevention of Witch-hunting in this state since 2013. Her studies are based on witch-hunts in contexts of land conflicts, gender and health.
Marisa Cortés is a composer, poet and folk singer with a keen interest in pre-Columbian music from the Andes mountains. Trained in classical and modern music, she combines her art work with teaching. Her latest work, Mula-pájaro, combines her music and poetry to reflect upon the transformation of women over the past fifty years.
Lucía de las Casas Flórez holds a degree in Art History and an MA in Art Education (with a thesis on decolonial feminist art). She is an Italian-to-Spanish translator and a secondary school teacher. Since 2018, she has been part of Grupo de Madrid, which looks to retrieve the memory of women accused of witchcraft.
Silvia Federici is an Italian-American writer and a professor of Political Philosophy and Women’s Studies. She participated in founding the International Feminist Collective, an organisation that started the international campaign Wages For Housework (WFH) to advocate salaries for housework. For a number of years, she taught and lectured in Nigeria and is a professor emerita at Hofstra University in New York. Both trajectories come together in her two best-known works Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation (Autonomedia, 2004) and Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle (PM Press, 2012).
Sonia Ludd holds a degree in Geography from the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM). She currently works as a History and Art History teacher in state schools in Spain. Since 2018, she has been part of Grupo de Madrid, which looks to retrieve the memory of women accused of witchcraft, and is also co-creator of the Factoría Luddita podcast for Ágora Sol Radio and Radio Almaina.
Alice Markham-Cantor is a writer, journalist and doula who is part of the Feminist Research on Violence collective in New York. In recent years, she has studied witch-hunts throughout history, giving lectures and participating in research projects on the economic context of these persecutions and their link to land appropriation.
Esther Musgo (Esther Moñivas Mayor) holds a PhD in Art History, and is a conservator-restorer of cultural heritage and an education professional in museums and cultural institutions. She is currently a lecturer and researcher in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Complutense University of Madrid. She has also developed research projects around contemporary art mediums and materials and has worked to develop education and cultural management projects in a number of Spanish institutions. Furthermore, she is an exhibition curator and founder of the Acción C cultural association and participates in different projects with performance and multimedia pieces, for instance A Witch Story (2022).
Marta Pinilla is a multidisciplinary artist and performer with studies in Art and Science. She has shown her work in countries such as China, Switzerland and Sweden, among others, and collaborated with different institutions like Wellcome Collection, Tate Modern, Lumen, MediaLab Matadero, Surge Madrid and La Juan Gallery.
Lola Martínez Rojo is a journalist and radio broadcaster. She started her career in Radio Exterior de España as assistant director of the programme Hora América, and in 2014 created the programme Artesfera, a sociocultural laboratory on Spain’s Radio 5. Five years later, she and her team received the Award for Journalism Against Gender Violence from the Grupo Norte Foundation for their radio adaptation of El quejío de una diosa (The Groan of a Goddess). In 2021, she became part of the project Amapolas, the aim of which is to grant women artists visibility in the rural environment. She currently combines her work as an editor of Artesfera with directing RadioActivas on Radio 5, a radio project which gives a voice to people and collectives transforming society by championing the commons and self-management.
Yolanda Pividal is an audiovisual narrator and cultural manager in Madrid and New York. Her documentaries, which spotlight the exploration of the impact of geopolitical frontiers on the lives of women and children, have received awards at different international film festivals. Moreover, her work has gained recognition from the International Documentary Association and the Arts Council in New York, among others. As a cultural manager, Pividal has set in motion innovative projects in institutions like the Jacob Burns Film Center and the Matadero’s Cineteca.
Beatriz Tejero holds a degree in History and Library Science and Documentation. She has carried out studies on Corporal Expression with Marta Schinca and Theatre in the Sala Cuarta Pared. Furthermore, she is a founding member of the cultural project La libre de Barrio, and combines her activity as a feminist and activist with her passion for performing arts.
Amanda Tüz is an art historian, musicologist, singer and poet who has carried out different studies in Contact Improvisation, Authentic Movement, Laban Dance and Creative Dance. She has combined teaching and the coordination of the education project Lóva with music projects such as Magara and, currently, Alma de Tüz.
—Moderated by: Lucía de las Casas Florez and Sonia Ludd. Participants: Sashiprava Bindhani, Silvia Federici and The Campaign for the Memory of Women Persecuted for Witchcraft
Processes to accumulate capital in the Early Modern Period were traversed by witch-hunts in Europe, with the loss of land and common property for farmers, and the Americas, with forced indigenous servitude and African slave work. On both sides of the ocean, the accusations of witchcraft were used to censor, discipline and kill women who opposed land privatisation, the rupture of community relations and the control of reproduction and sexuality by ecclesiastical and civil powers. Today, these same accusations are used against women farmers who, from Latin America to India, defend their land and communities from present-day capitalist accumulation: extractivism.
Nouvel Building, Auditorium 400, Auditorium 200 (simultaneous streaming) and online platform
free, until full capacity is reached, with prior ticket collection at the Museo’s Ticket Offices or on the Museo Reina Sofía website from 10am on 25 October. A maximum of 2 per person. Doors open 30 minutes before the activity. Once the capacity is reached, Auditorium 200 will be opened to follow the event via live streaming
How was the figure of the witch constructed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries? Who was behind it, and what is its legacy today? What narratives are currently being constructed, what is the reason for them and what are the consequences? This session seeks to explore these and other issues from a case study: the Salem Witch Trials (USA, 1699), in which more than one hundred and fifty women were accused of witchcraft, nineteen of them executed.
11am A Witch Story
Presentation of the documentary film (in progress) directed by Yolanda Pividal and starring Silvia Federici and Alice Markham-Cantor
12:30pm Vosotras, raíces
Performance-ritual by Grupo TIAMAT, directed by Esther Musgo (Esther Moñivas Mayor)
—Participants: Zoe Abán, Marisa Cortés, Esther Musgo (Esther Moñivas Mayor), Marta Pinilla, Beatriz Tejero and Amanda Tüz
Vosotras, raíces (Women, Roots) is a song to inter-generational relations, the mutual care between women and the healing of historical wounds. In the old roots eradicated from the earth, felled and burnt, we encounter a tangible ancestral memory which is bursting with emotion and enables us to cross through pain, dignify it, and build from the solidarity of new presents.
—Moderated by: Lola Martínez Rojo. Participants: Silvia Federici, Alice Markham-Cantor, Esther Musgo (Esther Moñivas Mayor) and Yolanda Pividal
Nouvel Building, Auditorium 400