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Wayne State professor Anne Duggan reveals the truth about fairy tales

Wayne State professor Anne Duggan reveals the truth about fairy tales

Associate French Professor Anne Duggan's "Understanding the Fairy Tale" course often surprises students accustomed to the image of a princess anxiously awaiting a handsome prince.

Women writers in 17th century France were part of an early feminist movement of sorts, telling stories of maiden warriors - not passive damsels in distress. Parisian salons were hotbeds for intellectual conversation and women's issues were discussed among both women and men.

"The discussion [of women's rights] been going on for centuries," says Duggan, director of WSU's Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program. "This was a significant time for women writers."

Duggan has studied the work of numerous French female writers, including Marie Catherine d'Aulnoy, who coined the term "fairy tale." Her interest came after taking a class taught by Jack Zipes at the University of Minnesota.

"He's one of the world's biggest fairy tale scholars," she says. "I realized I wanted to work more with the genre."

As part of Women's History Month, the President's Commission on the Status of Women will host screenings of the documentary Miss Representation on March 8 and 27 at Purdy-Kresge Library, featuring panels and Q&A sessions following each screening. Duggan will be among the panelists on March 27. For more information, visit www.cosw.wayne.edu.