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International Conference Explores Economies of Fairy Tale Literature PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Contact Tearanny Street - 601.266.6823   

The University of Southern Mississippi Department of English will host the “Fairy Tale Economies” conference Oct. 1-2, presented as part of the College of Arts and Letters semester-long humanities showcase titled “The World of Words.” 

Conference topics include the cultural and material history of fairy tales and the oral adaptation of stories and folklore across cultures. Internationally renowned faculty will present from a variety of fields on a wide range of subjects, such as literature, print culture and anthropology. Events will include a workshop on how to teach a fairy tale, a reception at the Saenger Theatre and presentations by fairy tale scholars from around the world.

It is the fourth in a series of international colloquia focused on fairy tale studies and hosted by the Group for International Fairy Tale Studies (GIFTS) at various institutions throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Assistant professor of English Dr. Molly Hillard, a member of GIFTS and principal organizer of the event, said the current economic situation inspired the conference theme. “The fact is that fairy tales have always been used as a fanciful way to talk about very real concerns in a given society,” she said.

“How to teach a fairy tale” is a workshop designed for high school and college teachers who want to incorporate fairy tales into their classrooms. Seminar leaders will discuss tales they like to teach and share perspectives on how and why to teach fairy tales.

Ellen Ruffin, curator of the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at Southern Miss, has developed an exhibit of fairy tale artwork titled “The Alphabet of Fairy Tales” for viewing during the reception, which Hillard said will be a “feast for the senses.”

“We have an amazing collection of fairy tales in the de Grummond collection, so we’re delighted to have notable scholars come teach about these timeless stories,” Ruffin said.

Keynote speaker Dr. Jennifer Schacker, author of National Dreams: The Remaking of Fairy Tales in Nineteenth Century England, will deliver a highly visual presentation about Victorian fairy tale pantomime theatre. Schacker is an associate professor and director of undergraduate studies at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

Graduate students from the Southern Miss Center for Writers will present creative poetry and fiction on fairy tale studies. “My poem, ‘Donkey Cabbages,’ is named after one of the Grimms’ fairy tales,” said Ann Shivers McNair, a second-year creative writing master’s student from Jackson.

Conference sponsors are the Mississippi Humanities Council; the College of Arts and Letters; University Libraries; VISITHattiesburg; the Department of English; the Committee on Services and Resources for Women; Honors College; and the English Graduate Organization.

All conference events are free and open to the public. To view the complete schedule, visit

About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities.  In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world.  Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at

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