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Study in Salem

Salem Summer 2011

LIT 317/WGS 317/ENGL 670: “The Witch in Literature”

1 Unit (4 Credits) undergraduate, 3 credits graduate

Summer 2017 Session 1 (May 22 –  June 6, 2017)

Trip to Salem: Tuesday May 30th – Friday June 2nd 2017

The witch has been aPeabody Essex Museum figure in literary history since the beginning of time. Who is she, and what does she embody? Who creates her, and to what end?

This course will explore the socio-historical constructions of this figure and trace her through a wide spectrum of literary texts, including legal and historical treatises, fairy tales, short stories, drama, film, children’s literature, poetry and even cartoons. In addition to the Maymester course, students will have the enhanced learning opportunity of traveling to Salem, Massachusetts for 4 days, where they will conduct archival research of the 1692 witch hunt at the Peabody Essex Museum (in addition to visiting many museums and living history programs). Through in-depth and on-site study of witch hunts and literary recreations of this figure, students will analyze the cultures which have persisted in creating, recreating and reviving this timeless, powerful and equally feared character throughout the ages.

 See video from “The Witch in Literature”

This course is worth 1 Unit (4 credits) and will fulfill the following undergraduate requirements:witchcraft grave marker

  • Liberal Learning (Gender)
  • Religious Studies Minor Elective
  • Women’s and Gender Studies Elective
  • English Elective

The cost of the trip portion of the course is $567* and is paid in two installments:

first half – April 11th

second half – April 25th

This payment is due to the Office of Student Accounts (Green Hall 119) by check or cash or through PAWS. Please note that you will not be able to pay this trip fee until you are billed for the course. Summer billing will occur around/about early April. You will receive a reminder regarding this fee schedule at that time. Your submission of this application is a commitment to pay this fee and partake in the program. The cost of the trip portion of the course will include the following:

Danvers Library
Students archiving in Phillips Library
  • visits to the Phillips Library (where students will conduct archival research of the 1692 manuscripts) and Danvers Library
  • tours of the Witch House, the Witch Dungeon and the Witch Museum
  • private trolley ride to the Rebecca Nurse Homestead and Parris parsonage in Danvers
  • walk with a private guide on an evening “ghost tour” of the Witch City
  • lodging in the elegant Hawthorne Hotel, situated in the town center

    Historian Richard Trask
    Historian Richard Trask
  • guest lectures by Richard Trask and Marilynne Roach: two important historians/ scholars of the Salem 1692 period who have published many important books on the topic

* Please note that transportation to/from Salem is NOT included in this cost. Students must pay for their own transportation to/from Salem independently. This cost also does not include tuition/TCNJ student fees, meals, books, or other personal items. Subject to change.


Students who have registered for the Summer 2017 LIT 317/WGS 317/ ENGL 670: “The Witch in Literature” course should complete the Salem Travel Application by April 11th. There is no additional fee for this Salem application. The application should be returned to the Office of Summer and Winter Programs (Green Hall 203 or by email to

*The trip portion is mandatory and students MUST ATTEND in order to complete the course*

Testimonials: LIT/WGS 317: The Witch in Literature (Maymester)

This course gave me the opportunity to physically touch history… Handling documents through archival research made all the information real.  No longer were these women just characters in a textbook.  Names, dates, signatures and real documents from Salem 1692 taught me just how important it is to study history.  We truly are doomed to repeat it if we do not understand it…Discoveries I made through this course will last a lifetime.

Bridget LaPlante (Senior, Special Education and English Major)

…Holding the original documents from the Salem Witch Trials in my hands during my archival research is something I will never forget. I truly felt connected to my country’s past and, as a result, I came to crucial realizations about the individuals and events of the Salem Witch Trials—realizations that never would have come to me without conducting archival research and experiencing all that Salem is and used to be. I am most thankful for the experience I will now be able to share with my future students so that their country’s past is never forgotten nor misunderstood. 

 —Stephanie Pilipshen (Senior, English and Secondary Education major)

I consider this course one of the best courses I have taken at TCNJ in both my Undergraduate and Graduate programs, and because of this interactive learning experience I now have a new field of interest and focus of study.  As a scholar with an interest in English literature and historical events, I would highly recommend this class to any student interested in getting a thorough and interactive learning experience with a wholly knowledgeable professor.

Nicole Dittmer (MA, English)

 The Rebecca Nurse Homestead     Spiral of the Innocents      students in front of the Witch HouseSalem 2016 xiv