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Saint Joseph’s College of Maine Hosts National Endowment of the Humanities Summer Program on New England Gothic Literature


Saint Joseph’s College of Maine is honored to host a three-week residential institute, “Place, Race, and Gender in New England Gothic Literature” for 25 higher education faculty members from across the country. The prestigious program, funded through a $120,926 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), features works by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Sally Wood, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Morgan Talty, Shirey Jackson, Stephen King, and more. The institute runs through July 5 and is co-directed by Dr. Wendy Galgan and Dr. Chris Fuller.

Saint Joseph’s College is one of only nine institutes for higher education that received this highly competitive funding by the NEH this year, underscoring the college’s commitment to academic excellence and its role as a leader in humanities education. Annually, NEH conducts more than 200 review panels, involving nearly 1,000 outside experts, in its evaluation of approximately 5,700 applications across 40 grant programs. In most programs, the applicant success rate varies from about 6 percent to 40 percent.

“Few locations are better suited to explore this genre than Maine with its complex history and rich literary tradition. It is particularly fitting to host our first institute this summer, as 2024 marks the 50th anniversary of Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie,” said Galgan. “We look forward to offering our guest scholars a truly immersive learning experience with King’s work serving as a connecting thread throughout our exploration.”

The institute will enhance college-level humanities research and teaching by focusing on the seldom-studied genre of New England Gothic literature and the cultural influence of the Puritans on horror. Participants will examine the intersections of place, race, and gender, contributing to our understanding of American literature, history, and religion in civic life. It will also delve into the impact of place on our self-understanding as a country, and how the past treatment of indigenous and enslaved populations continues to haunt our present, evolving gender roles in American life and the artistic merits of popular culture. The program will also include visiting scholars such as historians, folklorists, and authors, as well as field trips to Salem, Massachusetts, and locations in Rhode Island.

“It is our hope that our visiting faculty will gain a deeper appreciation for New England and its contribution to American literature,” said Fuller. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to explore this genre in its authentic setting, bringing the chilling and thought-provoking tales that inspired so many of us to life.”

For more information about the NEH Summer Program at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, please visit www.sjcme.edu.

About Dr. Wendy Galgan
Galgan is an associate professor of English at Saint Joseph’s College, and brings in-depth experience with public, interdisciplinary scholarship. She has taught extensively on Gothic literature in general and on Stephen King’s work in particular.

About Dr. Chris Fuller
Fuller is the Vice President of Mission, Sponsorship, and Planning at Saint Joseph’s College.  He possesses an extensive interdisciplinary academic background that has blended historical studies, literary theory, and cinema studies.