Hooh boy. There’s a lot to catch everyone up on so let me just jump right into it.
My research advisor recommended that I take a look at the introduction to the introduction of Sarah Vowell’s The Partly Cloudy Patriot. Now, this collection of essays is not even remotely about witches; it is a collection of essays about American history and the author’s thoughts/perceptions concerning different issues. However, the introduction is very thought provoking. In it, Vowell lays out the issue surrounding modern day Salem: how do you atone and respect what happened while also capitalizing on it so much so that even the cop cars have a witch on a broom decal? Vowell’s central argument in the introduction is that people have an odd way of dealing with history, especially segments in history that we think we still need to feel guilty for. How do you keep the memory alive in a way that is dignified? Should you? I think that this introduction would actually be a very nice piece to have the class read for the very first day. As starting pieces go, it is easy to digest, but would really help facilitate the discussion on what the class is going to look at and some of the issues we will encounter.
In terms of other sources, I have been doing a lot of waffling. I think that this is mostly due to not having read/watched all of them yet. I currently possess an incomplete picture of all of the information I could use, so I do not know what information I want to use quite yet. That being said, I think that I am going to forgo using Norman Prentiss’ collection of short stories, Four Legs in the Morning. I think that the collection is excellent, but the more I think about the stories, the less I believe that they will fit nicely into the syllabus. In addition, I have decided not to formally add either Good Omens or The Wee Free Men to the syllabus. After sitting on both texts for a while, I think that I am not truly interested in using either story as part of the class, but a few specific quotes that I find to be provocative and insightful. I recorded these for use as free-write prompts to get the students thoughts moving at the beginning of class periods. Now, not all of the prompts will come from these two texts. I have a list (one which I will post here at some point) that contains various passages from different sources.
Most recently I watched episode three of Penny Dreadful season two and started reading The Witch in History by Diane Purkiss. I do want to address the fact that while having read Conjure Wife I do not yet have anything more than a brief paragraph up about it. Being an entire novel, it is taking longer to get the full analysis up and that post will probably be added after the one about the Penny Dreadful episode. More to follow on those sources and course assignments later this week or very early next week.