So I gave my talk about witch trials in Essex on Friday, and I think it went not badly. Once again, however, I was struck by my feeling of … inadequacy on the topic. I have done the reading you’d expect of me, I hope: I’ve read the major histories, I’ve read many of the primary texts, from demonology books to pamphlets to the relevant laws, and I have a pretty good grasp of the broader historical context, since 17th-century England is one of the topics I tutor.
In short, I’m not a specialist in this subject, but I have a pretty good grasp on the generalities and I’m good at doing the right kind of research quickly. I would never, say, teach an entire class on the subject but I definitely know enough to do an hour’s presentation on it, and hopefully make it entertaining.
And yet I can’t shake this feeling of being a faker. I think it’s part of the fox’s curse I’ve talked about before. For example, I probably teach, oh, 30 minutes of Thirty Years War stuff in my history class. I definitely know enough about the war to teach it in half an hour, but I still feel like a fraud every time I talk about it.
Anyway, as I mentioned in the last post, I took an audio recording, and while it’s a wee bit fuzzy (because the audio jack on my phone is broken so I couldn’t plug in a mic) I think it’s not bad, so I’ll aim to put the recording up this week if possible.