The 2012 Kore Award for Best Dissertation in Women and Mythology has been award to Dr. Shannan Palma, a recent graduate of Emory University in Atlanta. Her dissertation, “Tales as Old as Time: Myth, Gender and the Fairy Tale in Popular Culture” takes the reader on a surprising journey through the theory of myth and an analysis of three very familiar fairy tales.
Driving Palma’s research is the question, “How and why do women become invested in stories, symbols, and ideas that are not in our own best interests?”
She chooses for analysis “Sleeping Beauty,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Cinderella,” but instead of the typical analysis of the texts as a folklorist might do, Palma leads us on a journey through the tales in popular culture: novels, poetry, television series, advertising, photography, graphic arts and film. And her conclusions are surprising. She finds in “Sleeping Beauty” the working through of trauma narratives; in “Beauty and the Beast,” issues of visibility and community, and in “Cinderella,” thinking about fairy tales themselves, and the possibility of happily ever after.
The Kore Award Committee appreciated Palma’s “strong theoretical and methodological structure and unique analyses that remained firmly grounded in the realm of women’s studies and women’s concerns.” We congratulate Dr. Palma and wish her the best in her scholarly career.