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GM401G: FAIRY TALES AND FEMINISM (2019-2020)

Last modified: 25 Sep 2019 09:58


Course Overview

Germanic literature is famous for its fairy tales. From the brothers Grimm to contemporary re-imaginings of traditional tales, fairy tales have undergone continual revisions, reflecting changing social norms. We examine tales from the early 19th century to the present day, with attention to the gender roles that these tales reveal or perhaps challenge. As we learn more about changing perspectives on gender in German culture, we can reflect upon the challenges that we still face today.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Ms Tara Beaney

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • German (GM)
  • Programme Level 4
  • Any Undergraduate Programme

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?

No

Course Description

The brothers Grimm may have called their collection of fairy and folk tales the Kinder- und Hausmärchen, but the violence and dubious morality of some of these tales may make us hesitate to recommend them for children today. Yet while some tales have dropped out of favour, other fairy tales are told and re-told, often adapted to suit different times and places. As such, fairy tales provide insight into the values and expectations of particular societies, sometimes in a drive to reassert or to challenge those values. In this course, we trace attitudes towards gender in tales from the early 19th century to the present day. The course will introduce students to the historical context surrounding oral traditions and early written collections of fairy tales, with focus on the brothers Grimm in the early 19th century. We will address the reasons for the Grimms’ repeated editing and re-writing of the tales. Focusing on gender and the portrayal of women and men, the course will address some problematic aspects of gender inscription in the tales. As a response to this, we will consider ways in which tales have been re-imagined in later periods, particularly through feminist perspectives. The course will address issues such as women’s subjection to violence, including domestic violence (e.g. in ‘Bluebeard’); the association between women and uncontrolled natural forces (e.g. in tales of mermaids or water nymphs); women as objects of a male gaze, as well as the glorification of passivity, and even beauty in death (e.g. in ‘Snow White’). During the course we will seek to understand the powerful hold that fairy tales have over our imaginations.


Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Seminar during University weeks 7 - 17

More Information about Week Numbers


Summative Assessments

Essay

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 70
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Feedback Word Count 3500
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Oral Presentation: Individual

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 30
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Feedback
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualUnderstandStudents will be able to interpret the social and cultural values inscribed in German fairy tales.
ProceduralApplyStudents will be able to apply their understanding of feminist theory to interpreting German texts.
ProceduralAnalyseStudents will develop their ability to analyse German literary texts with close attention to language, style and meaning.
ProceduralEvaluateStudents will develop their ability to engage appropriately with other people’s ideas and arguments, both in class discussion and in written assignments.
ReflectionEvaluateStudents will be able to reflect upon changing gender roles in society.
ProceduralCreateStudents will develop their ability to conduct independent research and to assemble an argument for presentation in oral and written work.

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