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Committee Members

Ava Chamberlain (Committee Co-chair), Kirsten Halling (Committee Co-chair), Marie Hertzler (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Humanities (MHum)


The project looks at violence as a social norm during the French massacres of 1572, causing widespread violence at a popular level, at the heart of which was religious group identity. The work examines outbreaks of fighting between Catholics and Huguenots starting in Paris with the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre and spreading to provincial cities in the following months. Rather than viewing hostility as instigated from the top levels of society, this works aims to verify that there existed within France an acceptance of aggression that, encouraged by inflammatory religious rhetoric, resulted in the popular violence of the massacres. The work examines shared values contributing to a mind-set amongst urban commoners that tolerated and even valorized expressions of violence and led to the enthusiastic approval of brutality during the massacres of 1572. Expanding beyond a simple explanation of mob mentality, this paper is meant to expose patterns of thoughts and behaviors that created an opportunity for the masses to express themselves violently.

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Year Degree Awarded