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Study in Salem

From fairy tales, short stories, novels, and plays to primary manuscripts from the Salem 1692 witch hunt — witches are everywhere! Travel to Salem, MA—“The Witch City”—to tour numerous historical sites, visit museums and witch shops, and take night-time ghost tours in this legendary early American village.


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Course: LIT 317 / WGS 317 / ENGL 670
Instructor: Dr. Michele Tarter
Class Meetings: Summer Session 1 – 05/21/2018 – 06/08/2018 – M,T,W,R 10:00am-1:15pm
Travel to Salem, MA  05/29/2018 – 06/01/2018

Course Travel Fee* (in addition to standard tuition/fees): $587.00

Click here to download the Salem Travel Application 2018. Please return this application to Green Hall 111.

The witch has been a 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. Because this course is being offered during Maymester, we will have the enhanced learning opportunity of traveling to Salem, Massachusetts for 4 days, where we will conduct archival research of the 1692 witch hunt, in addition to visiting many museums and living history programs. Ultimately, through our in-depth and on-site study of witch hunts and literary recreations of this figure, we will analyze the cultures which have persisted in creating, recreating, and reviving this timeless, powerful, and equally feared character throughout the ages.

This course fulfills the following requirements: Liberal Learning GENDER requirement; Religious Studies Minor elective; Women’s and Gender Studies elective; and English elective.

This course is available for Graduate Credit, by permission of the professor and the Graduate Coordinator for ENGL 670.

*Student must make their own arrangements to travel to and from Salem. Those expenses are not included in these fees.


Testimonials from students:

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)

Summer registration is currently open. Register today!