So why Salem Village? Twelve of these accused lived in the eastern side of the village. Cowing said that this book represents "an inner-history" of Salem Village, which is known today as Danvers, MA. There have been several theories about how the situation became so out of control. Through such a reconstruction of the factional village of Salem, Boyer and Nissenbaum explain the Salem witchcraft episode from within the larger history of the transformation to a modern capitalist society, and the divisions and conflicts that naturally arose from this change. Boyer and Nissenbaum's almost exclusive focus on the socio-economic dimensions to the witchcraft episode obscures the importance of individuals and of Puritan religious beliefs.
Indeed, the authors manage to trace almost all personal motivation back to the pocketbook. It is difficult to rely on the opinions of others for accurate depictions of what really occurred at that time for many reasons. Twelve of these accused lived in the eastern side of the village.
The opposing faction, led by the Porter family, identified itself with the mercantile town, near which most of the Porter faction lived.
According to Boyer and Nissenbaum, the village split into two factions: one interested in gaining more autonomy for Salem Village and led by the Putnam family, and the other, interested in the mercantile and political life of Salem Town and led by the Porter family. The book is well-organized in an unexpected way.
In the aftermath, the country looked towards a brighter future, one free of demons and hysteria. The authors present findings from the records of the original documents of the Salem Witch Trials. Twelve witches were either residents of the Village or persons who lived just outside the border. Too frequently the true happenings of the Salem Witch Trials are mythicized, distorted to the point where one can no longer separate fact from fiction. Boyer and Nissenbaum's analysis of communal conflict also omits the religious ideas behind the trials - the very ideas which the people of Salem would have believed to be most important.
So why Salem Village? The two professors were offering a course at their college called "New Approaches to the Study of History. Patterns of accusation including status and geography, the quest for community and identity and the role of religion and ministers all contributed to the downfall of Salem Village and its acceptance of the Witch Trials for a prolonged period of time. Cowing, Cedric B.
They argue that previous historians erroneously divorced the tragic events of from the long-term development of the village and therefore failed to realize that the witch trials were simply one particularly violent chapter in a series of local controversies dating back to the s. In his review of Salem Possessed, T. The authors present findings from the records of the original documents of the Salem Witch Trials. Next, the reader is thrown right into the Witch Trial scenario in the prologue. Tituba is a slave of Reverend Parris. This is also true with primary sources, such as narrations.
So, in many, if not most, of the cases the accusers and the accused were unacquainted. One faction, led by the Putnam family, most identified itself with the traditional agricultural activities of the village and consequently supported the village minister, Samuel Parris, and the drive for greater autonomy from Salem Town. Carol Karlsen included Salem Possessed in her critique of histories of Salem which, "note that witches were usually women, most works pass over the fact quickly or conclude that witches were scapegoats for hostilities and tensions that had little to do with sex or gender. Provides an admirable illustration of the general rule that, in Old and New England alike, much of the best sociological history of the twentieth century has only been made possible by the antiquarian and genealogical interests of the nineteenth… This sensitive, intelligent, and well-written book will certainly revive interest in the terrible happenings at Salem. The actual chapters of the book focus on unraveling the mystery of why the trials went on for so long and what provoked it to happen in Salem Village. The preface explains why the authors decided to write the book.
Roach is the president of the Historical Society of Watertown and a member of the Watertown Historical Commission board, she also is an active board member and a curator of the Salem Witch Museum. Pavlac 's Women's History Site. The duet of authors presents us pretty unexpected interpretation of horrible events occurred in , at Salem Village, Massachusetts. The trouble with many of these books, in the past and recently, is that many are not written from a historical perspective. The book is easy to understand and read, provided the reader has somewhat of a background in the Witch Trials or about witchcraft and is capable of reading at different levels ranging from the high school level to the professional. First of all, the physical setting played a major role.
The ability to go against the common idea has made this reading really outstanding and one that belongs to the heritage of American historical literature genre.
America was on the path to modernization, keen on putting aside such old world ideas as witches. The authors set out with the objective of uncovering the social factors that caused such horrific events to occur in Salem Village and by the end of the work proved it. The authors cite that the first three women, Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and Tituba were seen as "deviants," or "outcasts" in their community.
The bitter and contentious disputes between the two factions within Salem Village both before and after the witchcraft outbreak, demonstrate a pattern of communal conflict which transcended the events of