One of the reasons why the Salem witch trials of 1692 still resonate today is the quest to understand why it happened. Plenty of theories abound to answer that question. Yet we’re still trying to learn the lessons today.
On June 10, 2017, the 325th anniversary of the first witch trials hanging, people gathered for a special symposium, Salem’s Trials: Lessons and Legacies of 1692, sponsored by Salem State University’s history department, the Salem Award Foundation, and the Essex National Heritage Area. Fortunately, C-SPAN recorded four sessions. If you didn't attend this great symposium, here's your chance to learn from a stellar group of speakers.
⏯ Emerson Baker, Salem Witch Trials 101 (includes symposium opening remarks)
A professor of history at SSU, Tad Baker is the author of A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience.
⏯ Margo Burns, The Capital Crime of Witchcraft: What the Sources Tell Us
Project manager for the Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, Margo is a popular speaker, particularly in October.
⏯ Panel Discussion, The Making of Witch City
Emerson Baker; Donna Seger, professor of history, SSU; Bethany Jay, associate professor of history, SSU; Steve Matchak, professor of geography, SSU; and Marilynne K. Roach, author of The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege.
⏯ Kenneth Foote, Salem Witchcraft in American Landscape and Memory
A professor of geography at the University of Connecticut, Ken Foote is author of Shadowed Ground: America’s Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy.
Two other breakout sessions were not recorded: Teaching the Trials with Brad Austin, Amanda Prouty, and Jacqueline Robichaud; and The European Context for Salem 1692 by Donna Seger. (Amazingly enough, Donna packed a lot of information into one hour. I've got several pages of notes.)