Federici brilliantly connects this history of witch hunts to western colonialism, racial hierarchies, and slavery; to the continued enclosure of land; and to the exploitation and devaluation of women's unpaid labor in the home.
Real Life Applications
Capitalism runs on making women's labor invisible, just as it runs on racial and class-based hierarchies. Deepening our understanding of these entwined systems help us re-envision anew what a feminist economy could look like, starting with our own communities.
We heal our economy by reimagining what patriarchal racial capitalism has taught us to believe about ourselves and one another. We connect economic justice to our fundamental interdependence with one another, other-than-human life, and the earth.
Study the landmark feminist text, Caliban and the Witch by Silvia Federici—and be guided by our 15 course audio lectures and 105 Meditations Workbook. This self-study class gives you one-year of access to the materials.
Learn a deep feminist analysis for confronting what the pandemic has revealed about capitalism: Namely, it is a system specifically designed, from its inception, to run on invisible unpaid gendered labor and low-paid racialized labor. We will thus ask: What would a truly feminist economy actually look like?
This course draws on Silvia Federici's classic research on the European witch hunts and the development of capitalism in her book,Caliban and the Witch. It is the only required book of the class. While it is a challenging read, the course teachings will walk you through all the key ideas.
This class is also increasingly relevant as abortion rights fall in the United States. What Federici's research reveals is a history of women's autonomy and agency (within medieval Europe) that came to be under attack within the rise of capitalism and control of labor, including reproductive labor.
50% off Regular Tuition of $1297
5.5 hours of teachings, divided into 15 digestible lectures of key concepts + lecture transcriptions (131 pages) for visual learners.
105 Meditations Caliban Course Workbook (122 pages).
Trauma-informed teaching and contemplative writing exercises for holistic feminist learning practices.
For those who are inspired toward more learning: Recommended additional scholarly readings to deepen ideas across fields of study (including religious studies, ethnic studies, Indigenous studies, and Black studies).
Teachings for how to link concepts— as we move between historical study, contemplative reflections on lived and embodied experiences today—and how we imagine and co-create feminist social change.
Understand the relationship between enslaved labor, waged labor, and unwaged labor in the transition to capitalism.
Recognize a long history within Europe of the (patriarchal) church demonizing women's sexuality and seeking to control reproduction.
Unpack how patriarchal Christian religious hierarchies perpetuated colonial racial hierarchies.
Perceive a lost history—i.e. how women resisted patriarchal power; how the poor revolted against enclosures of the commons within Europe; and how the witch hunts inflamed misogyny to suppress and divide movements for change.
Contemplate that to heal patriarchy, capitalism, and white supremacy, we need to feel and analyze how the daily exhaustion these systems perpetuate—especially on women's bodies— impacts our capacity to tear injustice down.
Start to build together the practices to imagine and create new feminist economies for our justice-making that sustain the labors of transformation.
The photos on this course page come from her recent pilgrimage to 13th century beguinages in Europe. Beguinages were intentional spiritual communities that housed beguines, unmarried women who were mystics, contemplatives, herbalists, weavers, writers, theologians, and medical practitioners. As Federici explains and you will learn in Caliban and the Witch, some Beguines would be tried as witches. The Beguines are considered the first feminist movement in Europe; the last Beguine died in 2013.
When we consider why women were targeted in Europe's witch hunts, alongside studying the rise of capitalism and western colonial racial violence, we gain tools to see there was always resistance. In fact, Federici argues the violence of capitalism was actually a counter-revolution to the progressive social and theological revolutions underway.
In the course lectures, you can learn how to defy the values of a capitalist system based on violence, exhaustion, exploitation, class/race/gender/religious hierarchy, and separation from one another. We can name, recognize, and support the forms of invisible labor that sustain life and change the world.