Chapters for a collection: The Ocean of Stories: the philosophical power of fairy tales

deadline for submissions: 
November 7, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Wendy C. Turgeon/ St. Joseph's University-NY
contact email: 

Call for chapter proposals for an edited collection The Ocean of Stories: the philosophical power of fairy tales


Recently I published Philosophical Adventures with Fairy Tales (2021) that introduced ways to do philosophy with 13 European tales, mostly familiar, from the Grimms Brothers collection. Building on that work, this collection examinesfairy tales from around the world from a philosophical perspective.  Each chapter should examine one or more fairy tales from a specific country, culture, or region of the world and invite the reader to reflect on the history and philosophical themes in the chosen tales. Each chapter would include a brief recounting of the fairy tale and its philosophical ideas and address questions such as: What philosophical theme(s) emerges from this story?  Does it invite us to reflect on ethical, aesthetic, or metaphysical questions?  What questions does it raise about human experience?

What are fairy tales? Every country has its own genre of fairy tales and as you know, fairy tales seldom include fairies!  A common theme is magic, a challenge faced by the protagonist, and its resolution; however, not all fairy tales fit this mold. They can transgress social norms or patterns of living but usually are cloaked in ‘long ago and far away” so as to distance them from overt political critique. Stereotypical views of beauty and goodness/good and evil can be present—or challenged.  While we tend to associate them with childhood, fairy tales were originally stories for everyone but are often distinguished from fables (short stories that teach a moral) and myths (stories that explain the world.)

While there is a wealth of material that approaches them from psychological and sociological perspective, this collection would offer ways to mine the stories for philosophical themes: fairness and justice, beauty and goodness, evil, relationships, personhood and agency, change and transformation.

The audience includes instructors of college courses on children’s literature, precollege philosophy, or multiculturalism broadly conceived. The appeal will span teachers, parents, and anyone who enjoys fairy tales and would like to explore the rich “ocean of stories” from our shared globe.

I invite you to submit proposals for a chapter on fairy tales from a specific region or culture, preferably ones that the Euro-American audience may not be as familiar with as they are with the Grimms Brothers and Hans Christian Andersen.  Consider the Celtic, Eastern European, Russian, the rich variety of Asian, African, and indigenous tales from around the world. Fairy tales are found in Iceland, Aboriginal Australia, the vast span of the Americas—everywhere we humans have lived.   

Submissions should include a 500 world abstract in English, a short bibliography of sources, and a short author biography.  Submission deadline is November 1st, and please contact me if you have any questions.