Cristina Bacchilega


Having retired from her position as Professor and Graduate Director in summer 2020, Cristina Bacchilega continues to be coeditor with Anne E. Duggan of Marvels & Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies and to be an active scholar and researcher.

Bacchilega's research and teaching focus on fairy tales and their adaptations, the translation and adaptation of traditional narratives in colonial and decolonial projects, gender and fairy tales, mo‘olelo in translation, and the realities of the fantastic. In Fall 2015, Bacchilega co-organized the symposium, “Creating Futures Rooted in Wonder: Bridges between Indigenous, Science Fiction, and Fairy Tale Studies,” at UHM. In Spring 2016, she was a Fulbright Fellow teaching at the Universita' L'Orientale in Naples, Italy and conducting research on the 2015 film The Tale of Tales. In summer 2017, she was the co-organizer of an international conference at Wayne State University, "Thinking with Stories in Times of Conflict." Companion special issues of the Journal of American FolkloreNarrative Culture, and Marvels & Tales that Bacchilega and Duggan coedited drawing on this conference were published in 2019. Among Bacchilega's recent publications is the collection Inviting Interruptions: Wonder Tales in the 21st Century, coedited with Jennifer Orme; and the essay "Fairy Stories and the World’s Wonder Tales.” 

Professional Service: An editorial board member of the journal Foklore (UK) since 2009, Bacchilega more recently joined the editorial board of Childhood: Literature and Culture (Dzieciństwo: Literatura i Kultura, University of Warsaw, Poland), Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts (USA), Gramarye (journal of the Sussex Centre for Folktales, Fairy Tales and Fantasy, UK), Estudis de Literatura Oral Popular/Studies in Folk Oral Literature (a multilingual electronic journal published in Catalonia, Spain), and Narrative Culture (USA). Bacchilega has long been involved in the International Society for Folk Narrative Research, and is an elected Fellow of the American Folklore Society. She has been a reviewer of SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship Applications .

Bacchilega's service to the department has included being Department Chair for two terms (2001-2007); Acting Graduate Program Director in Spring 2013 and Fall 2014; and Graduate Program Director (2015-2020).

What now? The collection of essays, creative writing and visual artwork An Ocean of Wonder: The Fantastic in the Pacific coedited by kuʻualoha hoʻomanawanui, Joyce Pualani Warren, and Cristina Bacchilega is out in May 2024 Bacchilega continues to write about contemporary fairy-tale adaptations; to reflect on the cognitive and social possibilities that wonder and the fairy-tale web may enable; and to research historical and current practices of adaptation and translation of traditional narratives in relation to gender, social justice, and retraining the imagination. She also continues to try to learn ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i in spite of her poor memory for vocabulary.


Books. An Ocean of Wonder: The Fantastic in the Pacific, coedited by kuʻualoha hoʻomanawanui, Joyce Pualani Warren, Cristina Bacchilega (University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2024)

Inviting Interruptions: Wonder Tales in the 21st Century, coedited with Jennifer Orme (Wayne State UP, 2021)

The Penguin Book of Mermaids, coedited with Marie Alohalani Brown (Penguin, 2019)

Fairy Tales Transformed? 21st-Century Adaptations and the Politics of Wonder (Wayne State UP, 2013)

Legendary Hawai‘i and the Politics of Place: Tradition, Translation, and Tourism (U of Pennsylvania P, 2007 and 2013)

Postmodern Fairy Tales: Gender and Narrative Strategies (U of Pennsylvania P, 1997); and the co-edited Angela Carter and the Fairy Tale.

Bacchilegaʻs work is excerpted in The Classic Fairy Tales: A Norton Critical Edition (2017). Other recent essays appear in Monstrous Beings and Media Cultures: Folk Monsters, Im/Materiality, Regionality (Amsterdam UP, 2023), Realms of Imagination: Essays from the Wide Worlds of Fantasy (British Library 2023), Imagining the Impossible: International Journal for the Fantastic in Contemporary Media (2022), Re-Orienting the Fairy Tale (Wayne State UP, 2020), The Fairy Tale World (Routledge 2019), Teaching Fairy Tales (Wayne State UP 2019), Routledge Companion to Media and Fairy-Tale Culture (2018), Folktales and Fairy Tales: Traditions and Texts from around the World (ABC-Clio 2016), Fairy Tale Films Beyond Disney: International Perspectives (Routledge 2015), and The Cambridge Companion to the Fairy Tale (2015) as well as in journals such as the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts (2017), Narrative Culture (2015).

Bacchilega has written about Margaret Atwood, Angela Carter, Italo Calvino, Robert Coover, Nalo Hopkinson, Maxine Hong Kingston, Dacia Maraini, Toni Morrison, Trung Le Nguyen, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, Sofia Samatar, Italian fairy-tale films, and fairy tales in Hawai`i. With historian Noelani Arista and Sahoa Fukushima, she has studied nineteenth-century translations of The Arabian Nights into Hawaiian. With Bryan Kamaoli Kuwada and Donatella Izzo, Bacchilega co-edited “Sustaining Hawaiian Sovereignty,” a special issue (14.2) of Anglistica, a journal of international interdisciplinary studies (2010); see for the full text.

Also available at Folktales and Fairy Tales: Translation, Colonialism, and Cinema co-edited by ku‘ualoha ho‘omanawanui, Noenoe Silva, Vilsoni Hereniko, and Cristina Bacchilega (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Library, 2010).

Areas of Interest

Fairy-tale studies, folklore and literature, gender and fairy tales, translation and adaptation studies, narrative studies, feminist theory and literature, folkloristics and colonialism, Hawaiian mo‘olelo in translation


Awards: Fulbright Teaching/Research Fellowship, 2016; Distinguished Scholarship Award, International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (IAFA), 2016; Chicago Folklore Prize, 2007; Guggenheim Fellowship, 2001.

UHM awards: College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature Senior Faculty Excellence in Scholarship & Research Award, UHM, 2017; Board of Regents' Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1991; College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature Excellence in Teaching Award, 1988.


BA, University of Rome (Italy) MA, PhD, State University of New York at Binghamton