Fairy Tales Formed and Transformed (Honors Course)

The American College of Greece

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Fairy Tales Formed and Transformed (Honors Course)

  • Host University

    The American College of Greece

  • Location

    Athens, Greece

  • Area of Study

    Art History, Classics, Film Studies, Literature

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    WP 1010 Introduction to Academic Writing

    WP 1111 Academic Writing and Ethics

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview


    The course will investigate retellings of classic fairy tales in various art forms and media (i.e., text, image, film, music, theatre). Students will explore the purpose and means through which artists mine the cultural unconscious to produce the transformations of well-known bedtime stories. Informed by the practices of cultural studies, this interdisciplinary course will approach the subject holistically, encouraging students to place the works within their socio-historical context and to analyze the ways in which meaning is produced both in the classic tales and in their transformations.


    Traditionally viewed as tales deriving from folklore and conveying moral lessons, fairy tales, such as Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast, have entertained and instructed generations of children in the Western world since the 18th century. More recently these classic stories have also been re-imagined, re-invented, and re-told for various purposes and to startling effect by a diverse array of modern and contemporary artists and image makers: poets, cartoonists, movie producers as well as advertisers. Whether new versions of these traditional tales recycle familiar thematic elements (such as the rags-toriches plot of Cinderella) or reference iconic imagery (such as the girl in red), these retellings produce new versions, serious or satirical, subversive or approving of societal mores. Through this course students will learn to appreciate the diversity of cultural production, assess the uses of tradition in art and in the marketplace, and contribute orally and in writing to the creative and critical debate on the uses of fairy tales in post-modernity.


    Upon successful completion of this course, the students should be able to

    1. Analyze diverse works, ranging from classic fairy-tale texts to tales transformed through a variety of media;

    2. Discuss, orally and in writing, complex thematic interrelations among a variety of texts and media;

    3. Develop a fairy-tale transformation in a creative medium;

    4. Explain cultural variations of fairy tales which result from differences in genre, period, scope and medium;

    5. Identify and assess theories of fairy-tale production and consumption, ranging from feminist readings to cultural-materialist analyses.


    In congruence with the teaching and learning strategy of the college, the following tools are used:

    • Textual analysis, class discussion, workshop-style pair work and group work during class meetings;
    • Active student-centered teaching approach in the presentation of course material to engage learners;
    • Critical-thinking exercises and learning activities designed to help students acquire confidence and benefit from independent study;
    • Student presentations of learning material to encourage involvement in the learning process;
    • Co-curricular activities, ranging from collaboration with student clubs and societies to debates and event organizing, to encourage students’ creative engagement with the material;
    • Extensive instructor feedback on assignments and activities;
    • Individualized assistance during office hours for further discussion of lecture material, additional reading, and assignments;
    • Additional print and audiovisual educational material posted on the Blackboard course template;
    • Other relevant educational material placed on reserve in the library.

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