MyAmericanFuture

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

September 1, 2016: Fall 2016 Previews: Stories of Salem



[The Fall semester is just around the corner, so this week I’ll preview some of the courses and plans for which I’m excited as a new semester gets underway. I’d love to hear your own upcoming courses, plans, work, or whatever else has you excited for Fall 2016!]
For my next Adult Learning in the Fitchburg Area (ALFA) course, this time linked to a fall ALFA field trip to Salem, I’ll be sharing a series of stories and histories linked to my favorite Massachusetts city. Here are some of the many, many many, posts and series that demonstrate why I feel that way and feature many of the subjects I’ll share with the great ALFA students:
1)      The Post of the Seven Links: One of the most fun parts (at least for me!) of keeping this blog for nearly six years is the chance to see how my ideas and perspective have evolved over that time. A case in point is this post, which reflects the first moment when my interests in Salem and its many stories and histories (and spaces) began.
2)      Series on the 2012 NEASA Colloquium: Choosing to hold our second NEASA Colloquium at the House of the Seven Gables both deepened my interest in Salem and helped bring together a wonderful group of AmericanStudiers to consider the city and its contexts. That hyperlinked concluding post illustrates both those effects, as well as the many questions I still had and have about this complex American place.
3)      Bad Memories, Part One: It was in this post, that kicked off a series on how we Americans remember some of our darkest histories, that I really began to articulate why I love Salem’s Witch Trials Memorial (my favorite public site) as much as I do—and really began to plan my fourth book, on which more tomorrow, as well!
4)      House Histories: Salem and the East: It was with this series, inspired by both Hawthorne’s novel and the House that bears its name (or, y’know, vice versa), that I really collected the body of Salem stories and histories that I hope to include and have us talk about in the course of this fall’s ALFA class. The students will have visited the House on their field trip, so they’ll have lots of great starting points of their own as well!
5)      New NEASA Books: A History of Spiritualism and the Occult in Salem: I’d be remiss if I concluded a Salem post without mentioning Maggi Smith-Dalton, the public scholar, educator, and musician whose work and voice—along with those of the equally multi-talented Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello of Salem State University—have been guiding lights for me in my SalemStudying. I’ll make sure to mention them and their work to my ALFA students too!
Last preview tomorrow,
Ben
PS. Thoughts on this course? Other previews or plans you’d share?

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