Event—Scholarly Seminars

SJ Zhang, University of Chicago


Tituba’s Eighteenth Century

SJ Zhang

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?


This event is free, but all participants must register in advance below. Space is limited, so please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.

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About the Eighteenth Century Seminar

The Newberry Library Eighteenth-Century Seminar, sponsored by the Center for Renaissance Studies, is designed to foster research and inquiry across the scholarly disciplines in eighteenth-century studies. It aims to provide a methodologically diverse forum for work that engages ongoing discussions and debates along this historical and critical terrain. Each year the seminar sponsors one public lecture followed by questions and discussion, and two works-in-progress sessions featuring pre-circulated papers.

The seminar is organized by Timothy Campbell (University of Chicago), Lisa A. Freeman (University of Illinois at Chicago), Richard Squibbs (DePaul University), and Jason Farr (Marquette University).


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