Ph.D., University of New Hampshire
At TTU since 2002, Professor Adams teaches courses on the early national period of U.S. History, topics in History and Memory, and Historical Methods and Historiography. She was tenured and promoted in 2008, and has published numerous articles and encyclopedia essays related to her research. Her most recent major publications is The Specter of Salem: Remembering the Witch Trials in Nineteenth-Century America (University of Chicago Press, Fall 2008).
In The Specter of Salem, Gretchen A. Adams reveals the many ways that the Salem witch trials loomed over the American collective memory from the Revolution to the Civil War and beyond. Schoolbooks in the 1790s, for example, evoked the episode to demonstrate the new nation’s progress from a disorderly and brutal past to a rational present, while critics of new religious movements in the 1830s cast them as a return to Salem-era fanaticism, and during the Civil War, southerners evoked witch burning to criticize Union tactics. Shedding new light on the many, varied American invocations of Salem, Adams ultimately illuminates the function of collective memories in the life of a nation.
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