This Seminar has been Postponed.
Tituba’s Eighteenth Century, SJ Zhang, University of Chicago
“Do you goe through the trees or over them?” asked Tituba’s interrogators in Salem Village. Her reply: “We see nothing but are there presently.” It is true of both 1692 and the present day that an especially mobile woman might be accused of witchcraft. With an eye for Tituba’s representational flights, this paper analyzes the narratives of Tituba written in the years immediately following the trials. Tituba recurred as a figure of intrigue or sympathy in some unexpected places, including the work of Benjamin Moseley, MD., Robert Calef and John Neal. Part of my larger project connects these historical concerns with and interpretations of Tituba to the more recent scholarly desires to confirm Tituba’s race or ethnic identity. What sparked this genre of inquiry? This desire to know whether “Tituba, the Indian” was Black, Native, both or something else? And how might we trace the desire back to the eighteenth-century?