feminism and fairy tales course syllabus

Anna Z Skarzynska theania at freeuk.com
Tue Jan 28 19:37:48 EST 2003

Where is Angela Carter? She is, surely, the first person to come to mind
when feminism and fairy tales are mentioned in one sentence! You cannot
possibly leave her out!
----- Original Message -----
From: jackie e stallcup <jstallcup at juno.com>
To: <dwj at suberic.net>
Sent: Wednesday, January 29, 2003 12:32 AM
Subject: feminism and fairy tales course syllabus

Hi everyone,

I promised to post my syllabus for the feminism and fairy tales course
that I am teaching this semester as soon as I had it done.  So, here it
is!  Just had the first class today and it went well.  I'll let you know
how it goes with Fire and Hemlock, which isn't scheduled until later in
the semester.

Jackie S.

Oh, by the way, this is at California State University, Northridge, and
the course is a senior seminar...

Jackie Stallcup Syllabus
Office: Sierra Tower, Room 716 English 495FF
Phone: (818) 677-3412 Feminism and Fairy Tales
Email:  jackie.stallcup at csun.edu Spring 2003
Office Hours: M: 2-5, T and Th:  12:30-2:30 TTh 9:30-10:45

Objective:  In this course, we will be examining traditional folk and
fairy tales such as Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, and Little Red Riding
Hood, juxtaposing them with cross-cultural and modern variants.   Class
discussion will focus around such questions as: What constitutes a
"feminist" fairy tale?  What gender roles are offered to both female and
male characters in these tales?  How are traditional gender
representations reified?  Deconstructed?  What new representations are
offered?  And how are all of these issues played out in the often
lavishly illustrated children's books now available?  What gender
roles-new and old-are these books displaying/ creating/disseminating for
the child reader?  Discussions will include issues of illustration as
well as cultural and textual concerns.

Course Requirements:
Critical Response Journal (8-10 pages total): 25% Term Paper (10-15
pages): 40%
Mid-term:  25% Participation and Quizzes: 10%

Required Texts:
Reader available at ASAP
Tatar, Maria  The Classic Fairy Tales:  Texts, Criticism
Cole, Babette  Princess Smartypants
Munsch, Robert  The Paper Bag Princess
Stanley, Diane  Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter
Yolen, Jane  Sleeping Ugly
Jones, Diana Wynne, Fire and Hemlock

Other picture books:  Buy as few or as many of the following as you like.
 All are available on reserve at the TCC.  You are responsible for
reading them and for being prepared to discuss them, but you do not have
to purchase them.
Red Riding Hood Tales:
Grimm Brothers  Little Red Riding Hood (illustrated by Trina Schart
Young, Ed Lon Po Po
Ernst, Lisa Red Riding Hood: A New-Fangled Prairie Tale
Mayer, Mercer Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp
Emberley, Michael Ruby (only available at the TCC, not at the bookstore)
Perrault, Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (only available at the TCC, not at the
Cinderella Tales:
Perrault, Charles  Cinderella (illustrated by Marcia Brown)
Jackson, Ellen  Cinder Edna
Huck, Charlotte Princess Furball
Tam Lin
Yolen, Jane Tam Lin (only available at the TCC, not at the bookstore)
Snow White:
Grimm Brothers  Snow White (illustrated by Nancy Burkert)
Kimmel, Eric Rimonah of the Flashing Sword (only available at the TCC,
not at the bookstore)
"Boy" Tales:
Myers, Bernice Sidney Rella and the Glass Sneaker (only available at the
TCC, not at the bookstore)
Scieszka, Jon The Frog Prince Continued
Cole, Babette Prince Cinders

As you can see from the notations above, several of the picture books are
only available on reserve at the TCC because they are either too
expensive or out of print.  Molly Bang's book on graphic design theory is
also on reserve at the TCC. (Check for the call number of Molly Bang's
book under my course listing for English 428)   So there won't be a
pile-up in reserve on the day we discuss these books, please try to get
to the library early on in the semester to look them over.
 Class Policies
This class will require intensive reading as well as engaged
participation in classroom projects and discussion; you will be learning
from and teaching each other as well as learning from me, and so your
participation in the class is of great importance.  The critical response
journal will consist of your thoughtful and reasoned exploration of two
children's texts and two critical works exploring feminism and/or fairy
tales.  Each response should be 2-3 pages apiece for a total of 8-10
pages.  See the attached sheet for further information.  This will also
help ease you into your term paper, which will be on a subject related to
our discussions of feminism and fairy tales, to be discussed in advance
with me. Your journal and the term paper must be typed.  The mid-term
will be in class, requiring a blue book.  More information on all these
assignments will be forthcoming as the quarter progresses.
Attendance: It is imperative that you attend class (on time!) on a
consistent basis.  Much of the learning in this course will come out of
class discussions that cannot be duplicated. Also, your input is valuable
and necessary for the learning experience of all the students.  More than
three unexcused absences will affect your grade adversely.
Late papers and assignments will be lowered one full grade for each
class period they are late.  Please discuss with me any problems you are
having with a project-before its due date!
Plagiarism is a serious academic offense.  See Student Conduct Code in
the university catalog, and the handout on plagiarism in your course
reader.  Penalty for academic dishonesty can be a "lower or failing grade
[on] the assignment, examination, or the entire course." The student may
also be "expelled, suspended, [or] placed on probation" (1998-2000 CSUN
catalog 551-552). I *will* pursue these options if I discover plagiarized
material in any of the course assignments.  The definition of "cheating"
in the student conduct code includes turning in a paper written by the
student for two different courses or assignments.  Do not turn in
anything to me that has not been written expressly for this course. If
you have any questions about what constitutes plagiarism or cheating,
please see the catalog, see the handout in the reader, or ask.

Course Outline
Week 1:  Introduction and Miscellaneous Tales
Jan. 28 Introduction to course

30 Munsch, Paper Bag Princess; Cole, Princess Smartypants; Stanley,
Daughter; Yolen, Sleeping Ugly

Week 2:  Folktales
Feb. 4 Picture books:  Munsch, Cole, Stanley, Yolen
Tatar:  General Introduction; Propp, "Folklore and Literature"

6 Reader:  Zipes,  "Don't Bet on the Prince"
First Critical Response Journal Due on February 6th. This entry must be
on a text
created for children

Week 3: Children and Fairy Tales; Feminism and Literature
11 Picture books:  Munsch, Cole, Stanley, Yolen
Tatar:  Bettelheim, "The Struggle for Meaning";  Haase, "Yours, Mine, or
Reader:  Nodelman, "The Other:  Orientalism"

13 Picture books:  Munsch, Cole, Stanley, Yolen
Tatar:  Warner, "The Old Wives' Tale"
Reader:  Schweickart, "Reading Ourselves";  Morris, excerpt from
Literature and Feminism

Week 4:  Feminism and Visual Arts
18 Picture books:  Munsch, Cole, Stanley, Yolen
Reader:  Nodelman, Words about Pictures (excerpt)
On reserve:  Molly Bang, Picture This

20 Picture books:  Munsch, Cole, Stanley, Yolen
Reader:  Devereaux, "Oppressive Texts, Resisting Readers";  Chicago and
excerpt from Women and Art; Nochlin, "Women, Art, and Power"
Second Critical Response Journal Due on February 20th. This entry must be
on a
critical text about children's literature
 Week 5:  Red Riding Hood Tales
25 Tatar:  Little Red Riding Hood section (pp 3-24); Shavit, "The
Concept of Childhood"

27 continue discussion

Week 6: Red Riding Hood Tales, continued
March 4 Picture books:
Grimm/Hyman, Little Red Riding Hood
Young, Lon Po Po
Ernst, Red Riding Hood A New-Fangled Prairie Tale
Mayer, Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp

6 continue discussion

Week 7: Red Riding Hood Tales, continued and Midterm
11 Reader:  Garcia, "Little Red Baseball Cap"
On reserve:  Emberley, Ruby;  Perrault/Moon, Le Petit Chaperon Rouge

13 Mid-term exam

Week 8:  Cinderella Tales
18 Tatar:  Cinderella section (pp 101-137)

20 continue discussion

Week 9:  Cinderella Tales continued
25 picture books:
Jackson, Cinder Edna
Perrault, Cinderella (Marcia Brown, illustrator)
Huck, Princess Furball

27 continue discussion

Week 10:  Tam Lin
April 1 on reserve:  Yolen, Tam Lin

3 Jones, Fire and Hemlock

Week 11:  Tam Lin continued
8 continue discussion
Complete Critical Journals due on April 8th

10 no class (library research)

Spring Break:  April 14-18

Week 12:  Snow White tales
22 Tatar:  Snow White section (pp 74-100); Gilbert and Gubar, "Snow
White and her Wicked
Stepmother";  Zipes, "Breaking the Disney Spell"

24 picture books:
Grimm, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Nancy Burkert, illustrator)
  On reserve: Kimmel, Rimonah of the Flashing Sword

 Week  13:  "Boy" tales
29 picture books:
Cole, Prince Cinders
On reserve:  Myers, Sidney Rella and the Glass Sneaker
Scieszka, The Frog Prince Continued

May 1 continue discussion

Week 14: Hans Christian Anderson
6 Tatar:  section on Anderson (pp 212-245)
Disney:  The Little Mermaid (to be shown in class)

8 continue discussion
Term Paper due on May 8th

Week 15: Hans Christian Anderson continued and concluding discussion
13 continue discussion

15 continue discussion

Final:   Tuesday May 20, 8:30-10 a.m.  We will meet for a concluding

Thoughts on feminism, fairy tales and children's literature:
"The more a girl assumes her status as feminine, the more she takes
herself to be fragile and immobile, and the more she actively enacts her
own body inhibition. At the root of these modalities. is the fact that
the woman lives her body as object as well as subject. An essential part
of the situation of being a woman is that of living the ever present
possibility that one will be gazed upon as a mere body, as shape and
flesh that presents itself as the potential object of another's
intentions and manipulations, rather than as a living manifestation of
action and intention."
Iris Young, "Throwing Like a Girl:  A Phenomenology of Body Comportment
Motility and Spatiality"

"My own resistance began very early on, when I was a child.  From the
time that I was five, I began the practice of studying art, visiting the
Art Institute of Chicago to take classes, and to wander through the
galleries where my ambition was shaped..  But when I looked at, for
example, Degas' sensuous images of women, I could not relate to them or
to many other male artists' depictions of the female, primarily because
too many of those pictured seemed content to just lie around being gazed
at, something I myself had no intention of doing..  I set myself against
these images because they did not have anything to do with me.  Even
then, I knew that I did not wish to become the object of the male gaze.
Rather, I wanted to be the one who did both the gazing and the painting.
Later, I came to understand that some of the confusion I felt as a female
child was the consequence of an art system that privileges male artists."
Judy Chicago,  Women and Art

"As folkloristic research reveals to us, there is no such thing as an
'authentic' folk tale.  All tales are merely versions, all versions are
equal to each other if not in value then at least in authenticity; and in
a very real sense, then, the interpretations provided by the commentators
are also merely versions, new ways of telling the same old story. [.]
Once we realize that there is no original form, no form with priority,
then we must learn to be more honest, and to attack versions we dislike
on more legitimate grounds:  our lack of agreement with the values they
consciously or unconsciously espouse and express."
Perry Nodelman, "The Hidden Meaning and the Inner Tale:  Deconstruction
and the Interpretation of Fairy Tales"

"Ultimately, the male fantasies of Perrault and the Brothers Grimm can be
traced to their socially induced desire and need for control-control of
women, control of their own sexual libido, control of their fear of women
and loss of virility.  That their controlling interests are still
reinforced and influential through variant texts and illustrations of
Little Red Riding Hood in society today is an indication that we are
still witnessing an antagonistic struggle of the sexes in all forms of
socialization, in which men are still trying to dominate women."
Jack Zipes, "A Second Gaze at Little Red Riding Hood's Trials and
 English 495
Feminism and Fairy Tales
Dr. Stallcup
Critical Response Journal

In your critical response journal, you will have a total of four
entries: two on texts created for children or young adults that reflect
issues discussed in the course and two on books, articles, or periodicals
written for adults about feminism and/or children's folktales.

Just to be absolutely clear about the order in which these are to be
turned in, here are the due dates.  They are also listed in the course
February 6:  1 journal entry on a text created for children
February 20:  1 journal entry on a text written for adults about
feminism and/or children's folktales
April 8: 4 journal entries: The two that were graded and returned to
you, one new entry on a text
created for children and one new entry on a text written for adults
about feminism and/or
children's folktales.

All of the texts you discuss must come from outside the course reading
list.  You have a broad range of material to choose from as our class
discussions will cover such issues as feminism and literature, feminism
and art, feminism and fairy tales, and the ways in which all of these
topics dovetail with children's picture books.  The assignment will give
you an idea of the wide range of opinions that have been offered on these
topics and should get you started on your term paper, in which you must
incorporate at least two critical sources.  Additionally, this will help
you sharpen and develop your research skills as you utilize various
databases and indices to uncover works that address topics in which you
are interested.

Tips on analyzing fiction:
Do NOT use the word "cute" in referring to a book-it may indeed be cute
but I expect far more specific and analytical responses in your writing.
(We can all use it while speaking, just not in your writing).
Absolutely, positively do NOT say that a book is "great for all ages"-or
any variation of such an idea.  As you will soon see in our class
discussions, even if children and adults of varying maturity levels can
all enjoy a book, they will all have different kinds of responses to that
book depending on a multitude of factors.  Finally, make sure to use
plenty of very specific examples to support your points.  Don't just say
"the plot is well-constructed."  SHOW how it is well-constructed by
discussing examples and details from the text.  Make note of the criteria
by which we evaluate texts in class and apply these to the texts that you
read for the journals.

Tips on analyzing criticism:
Each entry should start with a summary of the main argument of the
work-this should be NO MORE THAN a half to three-quarters of a page.  The
rest of the entry will be your analysis of the work.  Be careful not to
simply summarize the work without analyzing it.
Just as when you are evaluating a piece of fiction, an analysis of
someone else's argument should contain three basic features:  a clear and
even-handed summary of the subject, a well-balanced judgment, and a
convincing argument that demonstrates how you came to the judgement.  For
example, if you were to analyze Perry Nodelman's essay "The Other:
Orientalism, Colonialism and Children's Literature," you would first want
to summarize his argument regarding adult/child power relationships.
This would take about half to three quarters of a page.  Then you would
offer your opinion about his argument-you may totally agree, totally
disagree, or agree with parts and disagree with other parts.  Finally,
you would offer an argument for your position, using both specific
examples from your own experience and quotes from his argument.  Of
course, the structure does not have to be exactly like this, but make
sure that the three elements are all in your entry somewhere.
You should examine the article or book to find out what is being
analyzed, what argument is made based on this analysis, and on what
criteria the analysis is based.  In other words, what is being used as a
basis for judgment? Discerning these criteria is very important, because
it will help you decide what criteria you want to use when you write your
own analyses in your mid term and term paper.  It will also indicate what
kinds of assumptions that the writer is working under (consciously or
unconsciously).  In turn, this will help you determine your response to
and analysis of the overall argument.
   We will be discussing these journals further as we review and apply
the articles assigned for class, which should provide models of what to
look for and how to discuss it.  For useful examples of how not just to
summarize, but to critically evaluate a scholarly article or book, take a
look at the book reviews in journals such as Signs, Ariel, Children's
Literature Association Quarterly, Eighteenth-Century Studies, English
Language Notes, Journal of Child Language, Victorian Studies, Melus,
Hispanic Journal or Artforum, all of which are available at our library,
along with other, similar scholarly journals that will also have useful
examples of such reviews.

You will be presenting one of your critical response journals to the
class as a whole.  You will make copies of the relevant journal entry,
which you will pass out to your classmates, and then you will speak to
the class NO MORE THAN ten minutes altogether.  In this time, you should
show us the book or article, tell us what we need to know about it, and
field questions from me and your classmates.  Please do NOT just read the
journal entry to us.  You should be able to just tell us about the book,
working, if necessary, from notecards or a list.  Reading from the
journal will be extremely boring and put us all to sleep.  Think of this
as practice in speaking before groups without a prepared piece of
writing. And if you are presenting a children's book, definitely DO NOT
read the entire book to us.  At most, read a few key pages or passages.

I will be sending around a sign up sheet for the presentations so that we
can have them evenly spaced out.

Critical resources:
Children's Literature
Children's Literature Association Quarterly
Children's Literature in Education
Horn Book Magazine and Horn Book Guide
Interracial Books for Children Bulletin
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
www.oyate.org (information on books by and about Native Americans)
www.carolhurst.com (reviews of children's books)
www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/index.html (the children's literature web

And one last thought ..
"Children's stories are almost invariably prescriptive, to a greater or
lesser degree; they present the approved values of society to children.
This is true of even the least realistic, least didactic of fiction.
Alice plainly represents those English qualities of character Charles
Dodgson admired:  self-possession, pleasant manners and an unshakable
independence of mind."
Anne Scott MacLeod, A Moral Tale:  Children's Fiction and American
Culture 1820-1860

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