"The Crucible": The Meaning of a Witch

Ithaca College Theatre will present a pre-show discussion with special guest Vivian Bruce Conger, Associate Professor at Ithaca College Department of History. The informational session, entitled "The Meaning of a Witch" will provide a critical and valuable historical look into the society of Salem, Massachusetts during the witch trials of 1692. The event is free and open to the public. It will begin at 12:45pm in Dillingham Studio 2, preceding the 2pm performance of "The Crucible" on Sunday, April 27th. We hope you will join us for this exciting discussion.

What is the true definition of “witchcraft”? Is, or was there ever, one? Join us as we unravel the many meanings of what it means to be a witch in 1692, 1952, 2014, and beyond!

Prof. Conger’s specialty is in Early American History (Colonial, American Revolution, Early National) and American Women’s History. A graduate of LeMoyne College, she received her M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University, where she completed her thesis “Being Weak of Body But Firm of Mind and Memory,” focusing on Widowhood in Colonial America, 1630-1750. She has taught courses at Cornell University, Kenyon College, St. Michael’s College, Queen’s College, UNC Charlotte, and was previously the Chair of the History Department and Coordinator of Women’s Studies at Ithaca College. Prof. Conger is the author of "The Widows’ Might: Widowhood and Gender in Early British America", which analyzes gender identity in early American society. In addition to publishing various academic articles and papers, she organized a panel entitled "Husbands and Wives, Widows and Spinsters: The Formation of Gender in Colonial America" at the First Annual Institute for Early American History and Culture Conference at the University of Michigan.

Currently, she is an Associate Professor of History at IC and has taught various courses relating to themes seen in "The Crucible", such as “Witchcraft in a Cross-Cultural Perspective: Witches in History, Myth and Fiction” (Honors seminar) and “From Witches to Warriors: Women in Colonial and Revolutionary America” (seminar). The pre-show discussion, with audience Q&A, will provide an insightful look into the complex topics that caused anarchy in Salem 1692, and that served as inspiration for Arthur Miller’s adaptation and reconstruction of these issues in "The Crucible". 

Performances of The Crucible will take place in the Hoerner Theatre at 8 p.m. on April 22, 24, 25 and 26. A 2 p.m. matinee will take place on April 26 and 27.

Ticket prices range between $5.50 and $11 and may be purchased at the Ithaca College Theatre Box Office located in Dillingham Center. Please call (607) 274-3224 or visit for more information.

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Dillingham Center accommodates all patrons. Individuals with special needs are asked to contact (607)-274-3224 to request accommodations as soon as possible.

Originally published in Intercom: "The Crucible": The Meaning of a Witch.

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