This panel takes the productive tension between heritage and utopia to discuss scholarly tales on fairy tales. On the heritage side, we ask: What sorts of tales about fairy tales have been accepted? On the utopian side, we challenge participants to spell out their own tacit assumptions and agendas.
This panel proposes a particular angle on the general issue of how utopian visions and heritages materialize. Fairy tales, while being a crucial component of heritage, have been deemed a utopian genre (by, e.g., Jack Zipes). This panel proposes to take the same productive tension between heritage and utopia to discuss scholarly tales on fairy tales. On the heritage side of our probe, we ask: For what purposes have scholars been using fairy tales? What sorts of tales about fairy tales have been accepted, what kinds have been dismissed? On the utopian side, we would challenge practicing fairy-tale scholars to explain the benefits of their approaches, and to specify the potential convergences and synergies with other points of view. We would wish practicing scholars to spell out their assumptions as fully as possible for the benefit of each other, and to discuss those assumptions and the scholar's own intellectual heritage so as to get some clarity -- and, hopefully, some cross-pollination -- in the field. Our utopian vision for this panel would be to build a discussion in which scholars would point out the limitations of their own approaches and would seek out the benefits of hearing out their peers' meta-tales.