Intro to Lit: Culture & Lit

Mapping Wonder: Folktales and Adaptations 

“My first stories were learned by my grandmother, who told them as she rolled her lauhala into big rolls to be used later for mats…The stories were told when no others were around. After two or three nights had passed, she would have me re-tell them to her…It didn’t matter whether it was told interestingly, but it did matter that it be told correctly.” (Mary Kawena Pukui, 1940). 

In this course, we will be engaging in discussions of wonder in relation to different folktales and their adaptations across time, cultures, communities, and in different mediums (i.e. song, film, art).We will examine what is wonder in relation to various myths, legends, folk/fairy tales, and adaptations. How are folktales and adaptations used and recreated and what are the stakes in doing so? How do these narratives and their adaptations strengthen communal and/or national ties? What are the varied purposes and functions of folktales in these communities? In what ways do they educate, entertain, and reinforce specific ideologies? How, why, by, and for whom are folktales being adapted today?

Required Texts (Tentative):

Folk & Fairy Tales by Martin Hallett and Barbara Karasek, 4th edition

Folktales of Hawaiʻi by Mary Kawena Pukui

Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue

The Gift is in the Making: Anishinaabe Stories by Leanne Simpson

Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera

Class Films (Tentative)

Ever After, 1998

Whale Rider, 2002

Stop Motion films by Metis filmmaker Amanda Strong




All other readings will be uploaded to the class Laulima site.

For any questions please email instructor at