Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2022
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture per week (48 total per quarter)
Advisory: One of the following: ENGL 1A, 1AH, 1S & 1T, or ESLL 26 strongly recommended.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area I: Humanities
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss the similarities and/or differences regarding the representation of a fairy tale theme and/or character (i.e. Cinderella) within three different cultures.
  • Examine the cultural values being communicated through adaptations of a fairy tale in two different genres or two different forms of media (i.e. television, film, gaming, graphic novels, and/or visual arts).
  • Synthesize critical thinking, imaginative, cooperative and empathetic abilities as whole persons in order to contextualize knowledge and make meaning.


Interdisciplinary exploration of the origins, structure and function of fairy tales and their enduring influence on contemporary art, film, and gaming. Examines how the fairy tale and its multi-cultural variants dynamically give voice to the universally shared human experience. Interdisciplinary strategies are employed to trace the impact of fairy tales on science fiction, fantasy, dystopia, and horror.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. communicate varied definitions of the fairy tale and the reasons for fluidity in defining the genre in relation to global interdisciplinary scholarship
  2. articulate personal knowledge of classic Western and major global fairy tales as foundational building blocks of learned analysis, conversation, and education
  3. analyze fairy tale themes as reflections of cultural mores, class distinctions, gender roles, and markers of national, ancestral, and personal identity
  4. examine fairy tales and their modern film and media adaptations with awareness and sensitivity to ethnic, gender, and sexual orientation and self-identification
  5. identify fairy tale elements in film and gaming as universal, archetypal characters, landscapes, themes, and/or events
  6. investigate the strategies filmmakers use to adapt fairy tales to depict and shape the contemporary human experience

Course Content

  1. Fairy tales, authors, collectors, and cultures (including, but not limited to):
    1. Apuleius's "Cupid and Psyche"
    2. The Brothers Grimm
    3. Charles Perrault
    4. Hans Christian Andersen
    5. Giambattista Basile
    6. Marie-Catherine D'Aulnoy
    7. Laura Gonzenbach
    8. Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont
    9. Angela Carter
    10. Anne Sexton
    11. African American ("The Talking Eggs")
    12. Native American ("The Girl Who Married a Ghost")
    13. Middle East (Tales from One Thousand and One Nights)
    14. Scandinavia ("East of the Sun and West of the Moon")
    15. Russia ("Vasilissa the Beautiful")
    16. China ("Yeh-hsien")
    17. Japan ("The Mirror of Matsuyama")
  2. Theories, definitions, and interpretations of fairy tales (such as):
    1. Interdisciplinary definitions of the fairy tale
      1. Jack Zipes
      2. Marina Warner
      3. Alan Dundes
      4. Maria Tatar
    2. Fairy tales as narratives with inherent structure
      1. Mircea Eliade
      2. Vladamir Propp
      3. Joseph Campbell
    3. Symbolism within fairy tales relating to the individual
      1. Marie Louise von Franz
      2. Clarissa Pinkola Estes
      3. Bruno Bettelheim
      4. N.J. Girardot
    4. Role of women within fairy tales as reflection of cultural values
      1. Mary Douglas
      2. Ruth K. MacDonald
      3. Kathleen Ragan
      4. Kay Stone
      5. Karen E. Rowe
  3. Genres of adaptation
    1. Fantasy
    2. Science fiction
    3. Dystopia
    4. Horror
  4. Representations of fairy tales beyond the text
    1. Films/television
    2. Gaming (video and role playing)
    3. Graphic novels/comics
    4. Visual arts

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

1. LCD projector.
2. When taught via Foothill Global Access: on-going access to computer with internet browsing software, media plug-ins, and relevant computer applications.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Evaluation of contributions to class discussions
Formal essay

Method(s) of Instruction

Lecture presentations
In-class discussions

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Tartar, Maria. The Classic Fairy Tales, 2nd ed.. 2016.

Although this text is older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, it remains a seminal text in this area of study.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. Weekly assigned readings of 25-50 pages drawn from both primary and secondary sources
  2. Brief analytical and literary critical readings designed to familiarize students with fairy tales and theoretical interpretations of the genre
  3. Weekly one- to two-page essays requiring summary, interpretation, analysis, and synthesis of both original and secondary texts, films, gaming walk-throughs, television shows, and/or internet resources