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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Time as a Misty Window Seminar - Fairy Tales and Phylogenetics

23rd January 2013, 13:00 to 14:00, Seminar Room, Institute of Advanced Study, Dr Jamie Tehrani (Durham University)

Fairy Tales and Phylogenetics

Since the time of the Brothers Grimm it has been known that many of the most popular European fairy tales have cognates in non-western oral literatures. The stability and modification of these tales in different cultural and historical contexts provide potentially rich materials for studying universal and variable aspects of human experience. However, tracing their diffusion and development in the absence of a written record has proved to be a complex challenge. In this talk Dr Jamie Tehrani will discuss a novel approach that uses powerful techniques of phylogenetic analysis that were originally developed to reconstruct the evolutionary relationships among biological species, and which have recently been used to shed new light on the histories of languages,  medieval manuscripts, and material culture traditions. He will demonstrate the utility of this approach to oral traditions by presenting the results of a case study of one of the most famous and controversial tales in the fairy tale literature - Little Red Riding Hood.

Lunch commences at 12:30 and the seminar commences at 1.00pm.

Contact for more information about this event.