Fall 2019 - FASS 101W D005

STT - FASSFirst Special Topics Seminar (Inactive) (3)

Disney Adaptations and Cultural Ideology

Class Number: 8014

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu, Th 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
    AQ 5014, Burnaby



Students choose one of 10 FASSFirst Special Topics seminars open only to first-year FASS students by invitation from the Dean’s Office. Top ranked professors from across the Faculty work with students to discover the surprising, profound and interdisciplinary reach of the arts and social sciences. Students will learn to draw connections between values, ideas and evidence while developing core academic skills, from reading to research, writing and dialogue. Students with credit for FASS 101 may not take this course for further credit. Writing/Breadth-Hum/Soc Sci.


Did you grow up seeing Disney films? How did that affect the ways you see the world? Did you grow up never or rarely watching Disney films? Does that make you different from people who did? The Walt Disney Company is in the business of making money by re-making cultural materials such as fairy tales and historical narratives (among other activities), but it also promotes particular worldviews and social values, e.g. gender roles, race relations, capitalism. This course explores five Disney “Princess” films from 1950 to 2009: Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and The Princess and the Frog. We will compare them to their source texts and discuss them in relation to their cultural contexts, looking at what they tell us about North American culture and how it has changed (or not). Students will develop skills in using research databases, collecting evidence from film and print sources, and creating academic essays that take a stand. There will be built-in peer review processes and opportunities to revise work both before and after it is marked the first time.


This course will help you learn to
1/ interpret literature and film, gathering and evaluating evidence from both,
2/ write persuasive arguments supported by evidence from academic sources (articles, reviews, historical documents)
3/ write clearly and concisely,
4/ revise and proofread your writing, seeing your strengths and weaknesses, and
5/ give feedback to your peers in concise, specific, and helpful ways.


  • Comparison essay, 15% of final grade for first handed-in version of essay (after drafting and oral peer review), and 10% for a revised version based on instructor feedback: (<1200 words) 25%
  • Analysis essay, 20% of final grade for the posted version, and 10% for a revision based on both peer feedback and instructor feedback: (<1500 words) 30%
  • Jedi journal on the readings & viewings, handed in 5 times over the term, 5 x 5% 25%
  • Written peer feedback on analysis essay (in Canvas), 2 x 5% 10%
  • Participation, in-class and online 10%


Note: there is no final exam in FASS101.



Note: students should source the films on their own (not in bookstore)
Required Reading/Viewing list =
- the French and German Cinderellas: “Cendrillon” by Charles Perrault (1698) & “Aschenputtel” by the Brothers Grimm (1812-57), in English translation (in SFU’s Learning Management System Canvas or online)
- Disney’s Cinderella (1950)
- Hans Christian Andersen’s “Den lille havfrue,” “The Little Mermaid” (1837), in English translation (in Canvas or online)
- Disney’s The Little Mermaid (1989)
- Antoine Galland's Aladdin (1709), in English translation by Yasmine Seale (2018) in bookstore
- Disney’s Aladdin (1992)
- excerpts from John Smith’s writings, including The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles (1624) (in Canvas)
- Disney’s Pocahontas (1995)
- the Brothers Grimm’s Der Froschkönig,” “The Frog Prince” (1812-57) in English translation (in Canvas or online)
- The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker (2002), note: should be available in the bookstore--but students could also buy a used copy, purchase on kindle from Amazon, or find a copy on a friend's bookshelves 
- Disney’s The Princess and the Frog (2009)


The Frog Princess, by E.D. Baker (Bloomsbury, 2002)
ISBN: 9781619636170

Aladdin: A New Translation, Yasmine Seale & Paulo Lemos Horta (Liveright, 2018) ISBN 978-1631495168

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html