BA Art History and English Literature

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Fairy Tales and Other Utopias in Modern Art

Unit code AHCP32402
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Art History and Cultural Practices
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

Fairy tale readings will range from the stories of the Brothers Grimm to Lewis Caroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass to J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan to Hans Christian Andersen's tales of magic and morality. Visually, students will analyze photographs taken by Carroll and Barrie and the paper cut-outs constructed by Andersen, as well as a range of modern and contemporary artists who have been drawn to the fairy tale, including: Joseph Cornell, Jim Dine, Walt Disney, Bernard Faucon, Chris Marker, Ron Mueck, Hagop Sandaldjian, Kiki Smith and Miwa Yanagi

Aims

The course aims to acquaint students with how works of modern art (painting, especially photography, sculpture and film) can be interpreted and analysed in relation to the fairy tale. The connections between the utopian novel and the fairy tale will be understood. Careful attention will be paid to issues of class, hope, race and beauty.

Learning outcomes

Students will become familiar with the history of the fairy tale as a utopian structure. Students will understand how and why the fairy tale has been visualized within the context of modern art and culture. Students will have a critical knowledge of how and why the photograph, in particular, is inherently utopian and magical.

Syllabus

Fairy tale readings will range from the stories of the Brothers Grimm to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan to Hans Christian Andersen’s tales of magic and morality. Visually, students will analyze photographs taken by Carroll and Barrie and the paper cut-outs constructed by Andersen, as well as a range of modern and contemporary artists who have been drawn to the fairy tale, including: Joseph Cornell, Jim Dine, Walt Disney, Bernard Faucon, Chris Marker, Ron Mueck, Hagop Sandaldjian, Kiki Smith and Miwa Yanagi.

Teaching and learning methods

1 x 3 hour lecture/seminar per week.

Knowledge and understanding

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Critically interpret works of visual culture.
  2. Demonstrate familiarity with the different and shared vocabularies used in describing the colour of fairy tale and utopian narrative in painting, film and photography.
  3. Demonstrate strong oral and written skills.
  4. Carry out basic university-level research  (including footnotes, bibliography and library research, as well as an awareness of the appropriate use of electronic databases).

Intellectual skills

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Critically interpret works of visual culture.
  2. Demonstrate familiarity with the different and shared vocabularies used in describing the colour of fairy tale and utopian narrative in painting, film and photography.
  3. Demonstrate strong oral and written skills.
  4. Carry out basic university-level research  (including footnotes, bibliography and library research, as well as an awareness of the appropriate use of electronic databases).

Practical skills

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Critically interpret works of visual culture.
  2. Demonstrate familiarity with the different and shared vocabularies used in describing the colour of fairy tale and utopian narrative in painting, film and photography.
  3. Demonstrate strong oral and written skills.
  4. Carry out basic university-level research  (including footnotes, bibliography and library research, as well as an awareness of the appropriate use of electronic databases).

Transferable skills and personal qualities

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Critically interpret works of visual culture.
  2. Demonstrate familiarity with the different and shared vocabularies used in describing the colour of fairy tale and utopian narrative in painting, film and photography.
  3. Demonstrate strong oral and written skills.
  4. Carry out basic university-level research  (including footnotes, bibliography and library research, as well as an awareness of the appropriate use of electronic databases).

Employability skills

Group/team working
Innovation/creativity
Research
Written communication

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 50%
Written assignment (inc essay) 40%
Oral assessment/presentation 10%

Feedback methods

  • oral feedback on presentation
  • written feedback on essay
  • additional one-to-one feedback (during office hour or by making an appointment)

Recommended reading

1.The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales, edited with an introduction and notes by Maria Tatar

2.J. M. Barrie, Peter and Wendy

3.Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales

4.Lewis Carroll, The Annotated Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

5.E.T.A. Hoffmann, The Sandman

6. Carol Mavor, Pleasures Taken: Performance of Sexuality and Loss in Victorian Photographs

7. Carol Mavor, Reading Boyishly: Roland Barthes, J.M.Barrie, Jacques Henri Lartique, Marcel Proust and D.W. Winnicott

8. Thomas More, Utopia

9.Susan Stewart, On Longing

10.Jack Zipes, Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tale

11.Jack Zipes, Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales, Children and the Culture Industry

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 165

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Carol Mavor Unit coordinator

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