English | Projects In Reading and Writing: Once Upon a Time, and Right Now
W170 | 16415 | Peebles


ENG W170 PROJECTS IN READING & WRITING

16415    1:25P-2:15P    SY 200    Katie Peebles

TOPIC: Once Upon a Time, and Right Now: Fairy Tales in American
Culture

Fairy tales are frequently dismissed as sentimental, simplistic, and
irrelevant to modern American life. Yet their presence in
adaptations, parodies, and modernized forms persists. They even
offer an interpretive frame for sports, politics, current events,
and reality television shows. This course takes up the questions of
how American culture uses fairy tales and what significance
different uses hold, in different contexts, for different purposes
and audiences. Out of these questions grow many others: how do we
define and identify fairy tales, especially fairy tales in non-
traditional forms like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (recently
filmed in Indiana)? What happens when a modernized fairy tale
becomes in some way believable? What roles do acknowledged and
unacknowledged fairy tale elements play in efforts to shape cultural
understandings? How and to what degree do fairy tales shape - and
are reciprocally shaped by - imaginative interpretations of reality?

We will read several major fairy tales in multiple versions, study
film and television transformations, and analyze these forms through
several influential critical perspectives. Because this course
satisfies the English Composition requirement, we will concentrate
on developing analytical skills that will be useful to you
throughout your education in regular discussion, reading, thinking,
and writing activities. There will be frequent exploratory writing
activities and formal assignments.