Thinking with Stories in Times of Conflict: A Conference in Fairy-Tale Studies
Where: Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
When: August 2-5, 2017

Co-sponsors: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Partnership Development Grant (890-2013-17 Fairy Tale Cultures and Media Today) and the following Wayne State University units: The Office of the Vice President for Research; Wayne State University Press, The Academy of Scholars; The Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; The College of Liberal Arts and Humanities; The Department of English; and The Humanities Center



Registration for Presenters

  • $30  students
  • $60 faculty with institutional affiliation

Registration for General Admission

  • $10  students
  • $20 general public


Click here for the Conference Program

Click here to register by June 15th!

Lodging and Transportation

Explore Detroit!

Sessions begin Wednesday August 2nd. For tentative program, click here

Wednesday Keynote Address:

Jack Zipes, "Speaking the Truth with Fairy Tales: The Power of the Powerless"

Plenary Speakers and Workshop Leaders: Pauline Greenhill, Dan Taulapapa McMullin , Veronica Schanoes, Kay Turner, and Jack Zipes,.

Conflict can give rise to violence but also to creativity. In the 1690s, French fairy-tale writers imagined through their fairy tales ideal resolutions to political conflict (Louis XIV’s absolutism), as well as conflict in conceptions of gender and marriage practices. The German tale tradition was transformed by the migration of French Huguenots to Germanic territories after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, which prohibited the practice of Protestantism in France. The German Grimm Brothers drew from the tale tradition to create a cohesive notion of Germanic traditions and to contest French domination in the nineteenth century. Postcolonial writers such as Salman Rushdie, Patrick Chamoiseau, Nalo Hopkinson, and Sofia Samatar draw from wonder tale traditions in ways that disrupt Western narrative traditions. And multimedia storytelling that dips both into history and the fantastic has advanced decolonial and social justice projects. These are only a few examples of the ways in which authors think with stories in times of conflict.

With this conference we hope to bring fairy-tale scholars together to reflect upon the genre in relation to questions that include but are not limited to: migrants and migration in different geographical locations and historical periods; political and social upheaval; and transformations with an eye to alternative futures. One of our goals is to encourage a dialogue between creative and scholarly thinking with wonder tales in times of conflict.

The conference will consist of plenary talks, workshops, panels with papers, and roundtables.

Papers for panels: Please send us a 300-word abstract along with your institutional affiliation for papers of no more than 20 minutes.

Roundtables: If you would like to propose a roundtable, please include a 150-word abstract of the topic and a list of participants with their institutional affiliations; each presentation by roundtable participants should be no more than 10 minutes.

Cristina Bacchilega ( and Anne Duggan (



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