Prior Undergraduate Courses

SPRING 2017


ITAL UA 161/ITAL GA 2192.002 (SECTION 2) Dante's Divine Comedy:  Inferno & Purgatorio


Casa Library, 2nd Floor, Room 203

Wednesdays,  3:30 - 6:10

Ardizzone


The first of a sequence of two semesters, the course approaches The Divine Comedy both as a poetic masterpiece and as an encyclopedia of medieval culture. Through a close textual analysis of the Inferno, and the first half of Purgatorio, students learn how to approach Dante’s poetry as a vehicle for thought, an instrument of self-discovery, and a way to understand and affect the historical reality Dante utilizes the scientific-philosophical encyclopaedia of his time, but relives it in light of the Christian message. A text of the Christian "paideia" par excellence, the Commedia, is also an extraordinary modern work. Organized on the patrimony of values formulated by classical- medieval culture, the Commedia is a journey towards awareness, in which knowledge implies the rediscovery of the self.  These themes will be investigated in the course along with the central theme of the Commedia as a discourse about the "other world" which implies the unveiling of the meaning of "this world." The course will be conducted in English. Dante’s Commedia will be read in light of Dante’s “minor works.”  The objective of the course is to familiarize students with one of the most significant texts in Western Culture. Through Dante’s text students will gain a perspective on the Biblical, Christian, and Classical traditions as well as on the historical, literary, philosophical context of medieval Europe.


Text
The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Purgatorio, 2 vols. Translated by R. Hollander and J. Hollander, Notes by R. Hollander. New York: Doubleway, 2000-2007.


Additional reading:
  Jacoff, Rachel (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Dante. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge, University Press, 2004.



***PLEASE NOTE:  
The course is strictly a graduate course, but is open to advanced undergraduates. Professor Consent for undergraduates is required.  Please contact Professor Ardizzone at mla1@nyu.edu, and CC ma4542@nyu.edu in order to obtain consent. 

This course is taught in English, and also satisfies one of the advanced literature and/or culture & Society course for the Major or Minor in Italian Studies, Romance Languages and Italian & Linguistics.




ITAL UA 271 Boccaccio's Decameron
Mondays, 3:30 - 6:10 p.m.

Casa Library, 2nd Floor, Room 203

Ardizzone


This course is devoted to the reading of Boccaccio’s Decameron. Boccaccio (1313-1373) is the most important Italian prose writer, and the Decameron is his chef-d’oeuvre.
During the plague of 1348, seven young ladies and three young men decide to leave Florence and to go to live on the Fiesole’s hills. In the splendid framework of the 14th century Tuscan landscape, the “brigata” enjoys a natural life and spends its time in conversations interspersed with dancing and chanting. Every day during the hours in which the weather is hottest, they meet in a small wood and tell each other ten stories.  The book thus consists of one hundred stories, in which imagination and criticism of established
values play a crucial role. These stories inaugurate a new way of considering human beings and their passions, goals, vices, and virtues.
This course will focus on the classical medieval background of The Decameron and on the new elements of the culture of humanism which enter to interact and supersede the old models and ideas.  This new sense of the past, a past revisited with a critical eye in order to build new ethical values for a new society, is one of the topics that will be introduced and discussed.  The course will also provide students with an avenue for investigating the problems of historical knowledge and guide them in developing critical tools and research skills. To that effect, the class discussion will focus on how to move from narrative to problems and from problems to narrative.
This course is taught in English, and also satisfies one of the advanced literature and/or culture & Society course for the Major or Minor in Italian Studies, Romance Languages and Italian & Linguistics.  


CORE UA 760 Fascism, Anti-Fascism & Modern Culture


Tuesdays & Thursdays

11 - 12:15 p.m. 

CASA Auditorium

Merjian
The terms “fascism” and “culture” frequently resonate as opposites. We think immediately of sterile, bunker-like architecture, book burnings, and reactionary archaisms. Much fascist culture certainly entailed these. Yet we ignore the centrality of advanced culture to fascist ideas – both in the early twentieth century and beyond – at our own peril. This course examines the nuances of that centrality, through particular instances in historical context: Mussolini’s Italy (home of the first fascist revolution and regime), Nazi Germany, Popular Front and Vichy France, and international anti-fascist activity up through World War Two. In particular, we will look at Paris’s 1937 Exposition Internationale as a site where these competing cultural ideologies first clashed on a world stage and in aesthetic form. The Exposition forms a kind of laboratory and concentration of these various political phenomena and their respective aesthetic arsenals.
Through the lens of particular cases we will tackle various questions: May we speak of a general fascist theory of culture and representation? How did fascist governments use aesthetics to respond to modernity, or to create a modernism of their own? Was the concept of an avant-garde alien to fascist culture, or useful to it? To what extent was there a movement of international anti-fascist resistance? How did it play out in art, architecture, or literature? May we even speak of a clean, absolute break between an aesthetics of fascism and that of anti-fascism? Did fascism die with World War Two? If not, how (and where) does it live on? What do we mean by the term “fascist” in contemporary culture and society? 

We will begin by addressing the history and theory of fascism. We will then examine specific case studies: Italian Futurist art and literature and its relationship to the founding of Fascism; the 1932 Exhibition of the Fascist Revolution in Rome; National Socialist (Nazi) aesthetic policy, Nuremberg rallies, and Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will (1935); John Heartfield’s anti-fascist photomontages; Picasso’s Guernica at the 1937 Exposition Internationale; the 1937 Degenerate ‘Art’ Exhibition in Germany; and revivals of anti-fascist rhetoric and protest in the events of 1968 in the US and abroad. In the context of neo-fascist resurgence, we will also consider more recent manifestations of fascism in cultural discourse, from Timus Vermes’ compelling book Look Who’s Back (2012), to the nationalist populism of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
This course is taught in English, and also satisfies one of the advanced literature and/or culture & Society course for the Major or Minor in Italian Studies, Romance Languages and Italian & Linguistic
s. 
 
ITAL UA 265 Violence and Memory in Contemporary Italy
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2- 3:15 p.m.
Casa Library, 2nd Floor, Room 203
Forgacs
Acts of violence, against individuals or groups of people, have been recurrent in the history of modern Italy. They have also been open to conflicting interpretations. Was the crowd stamping on Mussolini’s corpse in Milan in April 1945 expressing anti-fascist retribution or displacing their collective guilt over years of acquiescence to Fascism? Were the bullets and bombs of the “anni di piombo” from 1969 to 1980 or the mafia bombings of the early 1990s assaults on the fabric of a democratic nation or symptoms of a malfunctioning political system? Violence also has a complicated relationship with collective memory. Did commemorations of executed partisans obstruct the memory of violence against former Fascists? Why are some massacres of civilians well known and publicly commemorated and others largely removed from collective memory? This course looks at five cases where violence has given rise to intense controversy and debate over historical memory. Through close examination of materials in different media and class discussions students will learn to examine sources critically and gain an in-depth understanding of some fundamental themes and controversies in contemporary Italy.
This course is taught in English, and also satisfies one of the advanced literature and/or culture & Society course for the Major or Minor in Italian Studies, Romance Languages and Italian & Linguistics. 
 
ITAL UA 862 The Sicilian Novel:  From Garibaldi to The Godfather

Mondays & Wednesdays, 11 – 12:15 p.m.
Casa Library, 2nd Floor, Room 203
Tylus
Modern Sicilian art and literature emerged in the wake of unification in the mid-19th century.  How could an island that had been ruled over the centuries to the Greeks, the Arabs, the French, and the Spanish suddenly become Italian?  And why did so many writers and artists abandon Sicily - only to return to it constantly in their work?
In attempting to answer these questions, we’ll read short stories by Giovanni Verga and Luigi Pirandello and gialli and critical essays by Leonardo Sciascia, watch several films (Visconti’s Gattopardo, The Godfather II, and Terraferma), and familiarize ourselves with extraordinary figures such as the artist Renato Guttoso and the activist Danilo Dolci.  We’ll also read some background material on Sicilian politics and history, including Peter Robb’s dark appraisal of Sicilian politics, Midnight in Sicily, and Dacia Maraini’s Bagheria.
Students will be required to do all primary reading in Italian, write weekly response papers, translate one of the short readings, and submit a final paper/project.
Discussions will be held in English and Italian.
 
This course also satisfies one of the advanced literature and/or culture & Society course for the Major or Minor in Italian Studies, Romance Languages and Italian & Linguistics. 

 
ITAL UA 173 Murder & Modernity
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 12:30 – 1:45 p.m.
Casa Library, 2nd Floor, Room 203
Falkoff
A genre whose development is inextricable from urbanization, crime fiction—like so many other emblems of modernity—is often considered to have arrived belatedly in Italy. Despite this belatedness, Italy is the birthplace of a school of thought that is essential to crime fiction: modern positivist criminology. And in the postwar period a number of critically acclaimed writers refashioned crime fiction as a narrative space from which to launch a broader commentary on Italian culture. This course will investigate the ways in which Italian playwrights, novelists, filmmakers, and artists have made crime a point of departure for literary and artistic experimentation, philosophical reflection, and cultural critique.
 
This course is taught in English.  This course also satisfies one of the advanced literature and/or culture & Society course for the Major or Minor in Italian Studies, Romance Languages and Italian & Linguistics. 


ITAL UA 166 Contemporary Italy

TAUGHT IN ITALIAN!
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2 – 3:15 p.m.
Casa Library, 2nd Floor, Room 203
Albertini
Covers the political, cultural, economic, and social history of Italy since World War II. Starting with the transition from fascism to democracy, examines the Cold War, the growth of a mass consumer society, the social and political movements of the late 1960s and 1970s, the battle against the Mafia, postwar emigration, the rise and fall of postwar Christian Democracy and Italian communism, and the emergence of new parties in the 1990s such as Berlusconi's Forza Italia, Bossi's Northern League, and Fini's neofascist Alleanza Nazionale.
 
***THIS COURSE WILL BE TAUGHT IN ITALIAN***. This course also satisfies one of the advanced literature and/or culture & Society course for the Major or Minor in Italian Studies, Romance Languages and Italian & Linguistics. 


ITAL UA 295 Crime and Punishment in Medieval and Early Modern Europe:  A Digital Approach
Mondays & Wednesdays, 3 – 4:45 p.m.
Casa Auditorium
Vise
 
What can the court of the criminal trial tell us about the court of history?
Both operate via competing narratives about the truth. In each case, this storytelling is also intimately tied to evolving technologies for producing that truth. Historians must have their training, manuscripts, and computers; medieval lawyers their knowledge of procedure, admissible witnesses, and scribes.
How then can we best tell histories of crime and criminality? This course will explore (a) the history of crime, law enforcement, and punishment during the period of 1200-1600 and (b) the role that digital tools can play in constructing that history. Our central project will be to investigate the deep problems of writing history from a paucity of very biased sources: the criminal records of a world of the past. We will begin with the central historical questions: What counted as criminal when, who defined it and with what authority? What could count as proof of guilt? What constituted acceptable punishment (torture, imprisonment, spectacle executions, penance) and how did this change over time? From this nexus of problematics, we will then seek to create a digital world of criminality and criminalization through a number of online, collaborative media. These tools will permit us to enter the spatiality and narrative interactivity of the people and places we study. The final project will put our central issues of competing narratives and the production of truth front and center via the creation of a Law and Order type webisode about an historical trial.
 
No prior digital experience necessary—all skills will be taught in-course.
 
This course is taught in English.  This course also satisfies one of the advanced literature and/or culture & Society course for the Major or Minor in Italian Studies, Romance Languages and Italian & Linguistics. 

 

ITAL UA 311 Court Culture in Renaissance Italy

Mondays & Wednesdays, 2 – 3:15 p.m.
Casa Library, 2nd Floor, Room 203
Swain
 
This course offers the chance to study Italian Renaissance culture within its social and political contexts, focusing especially on the princely courts of northern/central Italy, which were among the most dynamic and innovative cultural centers in Europe in this period. A historical overview will be combined with a focus on particular texts and art-works, and on particular courtly contexts, including the Este and Gonzaga courts in Ferrara and Mantua and the Medici court in Florence. In addition to literature, painting, and sculpture, we will also be looking more generally at the material culture of the courts, at ritual, and at cultural-social practices such as dance, equitation, feasting, and dress.
 
This course is taught in English.  This course also satisfies one of the advanced literature and/or culture & Society course for the Major or Minor in Italian Studies, Romance Languages and Italian & Linguistics. 

ITAL UA 724 Italian American Literature

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11 – 12:15 p.m.
Casa Italiana, 2nd Floor, Casa Library
Hendin

 

A study of the fiction and poetry through which Italian American writers have expressed their heritage and their engagement in American life. From narratives of immigration to current work by "assimilated" writers, the course explores the depiction of Italian American identity. Challenging stereotypes, it explores changing family relationships, sexual mores, and political and social concerns.
 
This course is taught in English.  This course also satisfies one of the advanced literature and/or culture & Society course for the Major or Minor in Italian Studies, Romance Languages and Italian & Linguistics. 

 
ITAL UA 116 Readings in Modern Literature
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.
Casa Library, 2nd Floor, Room 203
Ducci
 
Introductory-level literature course that, through a close reading of authors such as Alfieri, Foscolo, Leopardi, Manzoni, Verga, D'Annunzio, Moravia, and Calvino, focuses on how to understand a literary text in Italian. Covers Italian literature from the 18th century to the contemporary period.

This course is taught in Italian.  This course satisfies the Literature Survey Course requirement for the Romance Languages Major & the Major in Italian Studies.

J - TERM 2017


Visual Languages of the Renaissance:
Emblems, Dreams, Hieroglyphs.
ITAL-UA 150
MTWR 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Nicola Cipani

Making knowledge visible was one of the great Renaissance endeavors. Some of the period's most characteristic products were born out of the conviction that concepts could be systematically turned into images - and that such images could be organized into a visual language, more profound and universal than discursive logic. Egyptian hieroglyphs and dream visions, in their mysterious graphic exuberance, were considered typical vehicles of this advanced mode of communication. The desire to emulate their symbolic density is reflected both in li literature and in art, often in ways that challenge common distinctions between visual and verbal communication. In this course you will be introduced to an assortment of works representative of such interplay between text and image: emblem books, dream books and dream-centered works, hieroglyphic inventions and studies, collections of proverbs, iconology manuals, etc. Among the books examined are some widely considered as the finest examples of design in the history of printing. Early modern and recent theory of emblems will also be discussed. As a present-day counterpart of Renaissance emblems, the course will conclude with a survey of corporate logos and Russian criminal tattoos.
(Please note that this course satisfies one of the elective requirements for the Italian Studies Major & Minor.)

FALL 2016

Freshman Seminar: Cinema and War
FRSEM-UA 602
Mondays/3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Ruth Ben-Ghiat

This course investigates the relationship of cinema and war around the world from the early 20th century to the present. From the Italo-Turkish War for control of Libya (1911-1912) onwards, film has been integral to shaping public consciousness of military events as they unfold and the public memory of wars after the guns have fallen silent. The course looks at both feature films and non-fiction: we will watch government propaganda, commercial entertainment films and independent documentaries. Topics to be addressed include representations of violence and the enemy; the aestheticization of violence and war as spectacle; how changes in military technology have generated new modes of witnessing; the war film as history film. Case studies include the two World Wars, civil wars, colonial conquest and anti-colonial struggle, Vietnam, the Arab Spring, and American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Freshman Seminar: Hoarding Before Hoarders
FRSEM-UA 603
Wednesdays/12:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
Rebecca Falkoff

The early years of the twenty-first century have seen an overwhelming cultural interest in people who accumulate things. Hoarding is the subject of medical research, as well as documentary and narrative films, novels and memoirs, theater, painting, photography, and television episodes and series—including A&E’s ‘megahit,’ Hoarders. This seminar is guided by the questions “Why hoarding?” and “Why now?” We will address these questions by studying the contemporary hoarder within a broader literary and cultural context that encompasses fetishists, collectors, misers, rag pickers, gleaners, and other figures defined (and pathologized) by their attachments to things.

Texts: Randy Frost and Gail Steketee, Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things; Primo Levi, “Argon”; E. L. Doctorow, Homer and Langley; Barry Yourgrau, Mess. One Man’s Struggle to Clean Up his House and his Act; W. D. King, Collections of Nothing; Scott Herring, The Hoarders; Gustave Flaubert, Three Tales; Nikolai Gogol, Dead Souls; Alexander Stille, The Force of Things; Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities 

Seeing and Hearing Things: Mystical Experience Before the Enlightenment
FRSEM-UA 626
Melissa Vise
Tuesday/2:00-4:30 p.m.
Required cohort meeting: Tuesday/11:00-12:15 p.m.

How should we tell the history of the divine entering into human events? This course will examine mystics and mysticism in medieval and early modern Italy, addressing central issues in the interpretation of these perplexing figures. Key topics to be addressed include: embodiment, identity, gender, medicine, authority, the political weight of mystical experience, ideas of the holy and canonization, the dolce stil novo, and speaking with the dead.

TEXTS & IDEAS: Mapping the Renaissance: Old Worlds and New
CORE UA 400
Tuesdays & Thursdays/9:30 a.m.-10:45 a.m.
Jane Tylus

Early modern men and women found themselves at the intersection of colliding ideas about the worlds they lived in. They both looked back to antiquity and the Bible, and ahead to new and unpredictable changes regarding religion, geography, and science. A Janus-faced moment, the Renaissance was rooted in the past and anticipatory in many ways of our own time. As we see from ancient texts, such anxiety about the unknown was not entirely new. As we move from the city of Ur (in modern-day Iraq) in 3000 b.c.e. to early modern Mexico in 1700, from a story about a powerful king facing his own mortality to poems by a mestiza nun, we read a variety of texts about borders, journeys, literal and figurative exile, and how one might best leave one’s mark on the world. We also consider the relationship between the literature and art of the period, and one assignment will be based on a direct study of a sculpture or painting at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Readings:  selections from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, Gilgamesh, Homer’s Iliad, Vergil’s Aeneid, Tornabuoni’s Sacred Narratives, Columbus’s Four Voyages, Leon-Portilla’s Broken Spears, Tasso’s Jerusalem Liberated, Shakespeare's Tempest, excerpts from Sappho, Petrarch, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.

Advanced Honors Seminar
Literature and Machines
AHSEM-UA 226.001
Tuesdays/12:30PM-3:15 p.m.
Nicola Cipani

Machine metaphors and narratives play an important role in modern literature. They convey beliefs, anxieties, shifts, and reflections on key topics such as the nature of consciousness, the creative process, the dynamics of desire and gratification, gender roles, the organization of society, the meaning of 'nature', etc. This course explores different manifestations of the machine theme in literature, broadly clustered around the following categories: imaginary machines constituting the centerpiece of narrative plots; machine aesthetic as modernist ideal (e.g. Marinetti’s “identification of man with motor”); and mechanization of the inventive process (text-generating machines). You will have the opportunity to read and discuss a selection of works from different periods and cultural contexts (Victorian era, Belle Époque, Futurist period, Post-war experimental literature), representative of a wide spectrum of dispositions, ranging from the dreamy immersion in virtual realities to enlightened machine-assisted awakening, from the obsessive fear of mechanistic dehumanization to the desire of man-machine fusion.

Readings in Medieval and Renaissance Literature

ITAL UA 115
Tuesdays & Thursdays/9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
Elena Ducci
Class taught in Italian

Introductory-level literature course that through a close reading of authors such as Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, Machiavelli, and Ariosto focuses on how to understand a literary text in Italian.  Covers Italian literature from its origins through the 16th century. The readings will be chosen according to thematic threads: crisis, change, money and desire. The instructor will provide a selection of texts with helpful and accessible interpretive materials (translations, commentaries, secondary literature).

Dante's Lyric Poetry and the Medieval Tradition of Lyrical Poetry 
 
ITAL UA 285
Tuesdays/3:30 p.m. - 6:10 p.m.
Maria Luisa Ardizzone

The course rereads the lyric poetry of Dante as a sort of diary of the intellectual and creative history of the poet beginning from his early youth to his maturity. We will examine the texts by looking at the relationship and exchanges between Dante and the poets of his circle, together with the poetic, rhetorical, and philosophical problems that such poetry faced. We will read also texts of the Italian lyrical tradition from the poets of the Sicilian school to Petrarch and Boccaccio.

***The course will be given in English, is conceived as a seminar and is open to both graduate and undergraduate students

Dante’s Lyric Poetry.  Editors K. Foster and P. Boyde. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967.
The Poetry of the Sicilian School. Translated by F. Jensen.New York:Garland,1986
The Poetry of Guido Guinizzelli.Translated by R.Edwards.New York: Garland,1987
The Poetry of Guido Cavalcanti.Translated by L.Nelson.New York:Garland,1986
Ardizzone, M.L. Guido Cavalcanti. The Other Middle Ages. London, Toronto: Toronto
University Press, 2002.

Topics in Renaissance Culture: Eros e magia nel Rinascimento

ITAL UA-760
Mondays/11:00 a.m. - 1:45
Lina Bolzoni
Class taught in Italian

Il legame tra eros, poesia e magia è ben rappresentato nel mito di Orfeo, il poeta cantore che grazie al fascino dei suoi versi e della sua musica riesce a ammansire le belve, a spostare i monti, a penetrare nel mondo dei morti per recuperare l’amata Euridice. E’ un mito molto presente nel Rinascimento: leggeremo l’ Orfeo di Angelo Poliziano, la prima opera teatrale di argomento profano, rappresentata alla corte di Mantova e ne seguiremo la fortuna nella musica e nelle arti figurative.

Le maghe incarnano inoltre la forza pericolosa dell’eros: vedremo come, nei poemi cavallereschi, esse rappresentino il fascino dell’esotico, lo strapotere della passione che distoglie i cavalieri cristiani dal compimento della loro missione; nello stesso tempo la seduzione della maga è una tappa in qualche modo necessaria per la crescita dell’eroe, per la sua formazione. Esempi saranno tratti da Boiardo, Ariosto, Tasso.

Vedremo inoltre dei testi (di Gelli, di Giordano Bruno) in cui viene messa in questione la figura di Circe: è la maga crudele che trasforma in bestie gli amanti di cui si stanca, oppure è colei che toglie la maschera, che svela la vera natura che si nasconde nel cuore degli uomini?

TESTI:  Angelo POLIZIANO, L’Orfeo del Poliziano; Matteo Maria BOIARDO, Orlando innamorato; Ludovico ARIOSTO, Orlando Furioso; Torquato TASSO, Gerusalemme liberata; Giovan Battista Gelli, La Circe; Giordano BRUNO, Il canto di Circe

TESTI CRITICI sulla magia
Anita SEPPILLI, Poesia e magia, Torino, Einaudi, 1962
Marc AUGE’, Magia, voce in Enciclopedia Einaudi, Torino 1979, vol. VIII,pp.708-723
Eugenio GARIN, Magia ed astrologia nella cultura del Rinascimento  e Considerazioni sulla magia, in medioevo e Rinascimento, Bari, Laterza, 1990

Visual Poetry
ITAL UA 172
Thursdays/12:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Nicola Cipani

This course examines objects with a dual nature:  literary artifacts that are also visual compositions — texts that function simultaneously as pictures. While a primary focus will be on Italian 20th century experimental  literary forms (parole in libertà, poesia visiva, concrete poetry), students will also explore a wider historical range of such textual-visual hybrids, from the classical world through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Baroque period.  In order to trace the transnational circulation of  visual models, comparative examples and references from English and other languages will be offered.  Specific readings and discussions will address theoretical issues raised by iconic texts — how do we read visual poetry? What does it mean to be a reader and a viewer at the same time?

The course is in English. Materials will be presented in translation.


Italian Films Italian Histories 1  
ITAL UA 174
Tuesdays/12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Thursdays/12:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Stefano Albertini

Studies representation of Italian history through the medium of film from ancient Rome through the Risorgimento. Issues to be covered throughout include the use of filmic history as a means of forging national identity.

From the Table to the Page

ITAL UA 280
Tuesdays & Thursdays/11:00-12:15 p.m.
Rebecca Falkoff

“What is the glory of Dante compared to spaghetti?” Italian journalist Giuseppe Prezzolini famously asks in his 1954 history of pasta. While numerous cookbooks cite Prezzolini to evoke Italy’s consummate culinary achievements, this course instead poses the question: “What is the glory of spaghetti compared to its representation in literature and film?” We will study novels, novelle, memoirs, cookbooks, and manifestos from the late nineteenth century to the present, reflecting on the narrative functions of elaborate descriptions of culinary triumphs. We will ask what ideological work is performed by such literary gastronomy, and how it contributes to the production of national, regional, and local identities, and socioeconomic differences.

Texts: Carlo Collodi, The Adventures of Pinocchio, Carlo Petrini, Slow Food: The Case for Taste, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, The Leopard, Clara Sereni, Keeping House, Elio Vittorini, Conversations in Sicily, Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron, Pellegrino Artusi, Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, John Dickie, Delizia! The Epic History of Italians and Their Food, Curzio Malaparte, The Skin

Italy out of Italy: A History of Italian Migrations

ITAL UA 861: Topics in Italian-American Culture
Tuesdays & Thursdays/3:30 - 4:45 p.m.
Matteo Pretelli

Italians have been familiar with mobility since antiquity.. Taking a long-term approach, this course aims to address one of the most remarkable historical phenomena of Italian history, namely the emigration abroad of millions of Italians from the 19th- to the 21st-century. Students will analyze in what ways Italy has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures and how, a few decades after the unification of 1861, migrations deeply impacted and affected the lives and identities of Italians.  Finally, we will discuss how in recent decades Italy has shifted from being a nation of emigration to one of immigration in the enlarged political context of the European Union. Students will be exposed to interpretative concepts of migration studies, along with the main social, political and economic features of Italian migrations (including anti-Italian bias, or migrant communities’ relations with Italy).

Senior Honors Seminar

ITAL UA 999
Ara Merjian
Wednesdays/9:30-12:15 p.m.

This collective, interdepartmental course lends practical, methodological, and strategic support to the writing of the Senior Honors Thesis.  We read theoretical works on the process of research and the craft of academic writing, as well as short scholarly texts, upon which we will exercise our own critical readings and analyses.  Writing forms the primary thrust of the course: thinking about writing, strategizing about writing, talking about writing, writing in its own right.  Most importantly, students engage in regular peer review and critique workshops, presenting and exchanging work with each other at various times throughout the semester. In coordination with your thesis adviser and Prof. Merjian, you will develop the theoretical and practical basis for your research project.  By the course’s end, you will have produced a significant, initial portion of your thesis, and have generated momentum for the spring term and thesis completion.

SPRING 2016

CORE-UA 554 Cultures and Contexts: Italy
Tuesday/Thursday 2:00PM-3:15PM
CASA Auditorium
David Forgacs

Almost anything one might think of as typically Italian, from pasta to pizza, neorealism to Sophia Loren, Armani to the mafia, has been made or remodeled by contact and exchange with the world beyond Italy. This does not mean that they are “not really” Italian. They are, but what has made them really Italian have been circuits of international travel and trade and the accompanying processes of naming and comparison by which non-Italians have defined certain things as essentially Italian and Italians have seen themselves mirrored in those definitions, modified them, or branded and marketed themselves through them. To look at how all this works, we start with an overview of ideas of Italy from classical antiquity to the eighteenth century, moving to an analysis of travel to and within Italy, the internationalization of Italian food, drink, music, and fashion, the Futurist assault on Italy’s cultural heritage, and the Italian film and television industries in a global system. We examine how movements of people, both out of and into Italy, have involved a remaking of collective identities. Finally, we turn to international relations and changing perceptions of Italy on the world stage as a result of foreign policies, wars, and entry into the European Union. Throughout, students are invited to reflect critically on how Italy’s culture, political identity, and icons have been produced over time, and to consider how far similar process are at work in other nations, including their own.

ITAL-UA 116 Readings in Modern Italian Literature

Tuesday/Thursday 9:30AM-10:45AM
CASA Library
Instructor TBA
Conducted in Italian, (Prerequisite of ITAL-UA 30 or by Department's permission)

Introductory-level literature course that, through a close reading of authors such as Alfieri, Foscolo, Leopardi, Manzoni, Verga, D'Annunzio, Moravia, and Calvino, focuses on how to understand a literary text in Italian. Covers Italian literature from the 18th century to the contemporary period.

ITAL-UA 147 Machiavelli
(same as HIST-UA 123-001, MEDI-UA 147)
Tuesday/Thursday 2:00PM-3:15PM
CASA 306
Stefano Albertini
Conducted in English

The inventor of modern political science, Niccolò Machiavelli is one of the most original thinkers in the history of Western civilization. In this course, Machiavelli's political, historical, and theatrical works are read in the context in which they were conceived—the much tormented and exciting Florence of the 15th and early 16th centuries, struggling between republican rule and the magnificent tyranny of the Medici family.

ITAL-UA 160 Dante and His World
(same as COLIT-UA 173, ENGL-UA 143, MEDI-UA 801)
Monday/Wednesday 2:00PM-3:15PM
CASA Auditorium
Maria-Luisa Ardizzone
Conducted in English

This course proposes a reading of Dante’s work from Vita nuova to the Commedia, considered in light of the theological, rhetorical, and philosophical learning of Dante’s time. Dante’s Commedia will be considered in the context of his minor works. The objective of the course is to familiarize students with one of the most significant authors of Western culture. Through Dante’s texts, students will gain a perspective on the Biblical, Christian, and Classical traditions as well as on the historical, literary, philosophical context of medieval Europe.
Attention is directed to literature, art, and music, in addition to political, religious, and social developments of the time. The course emphasizes the continuity of the Western tradition and its intellectual history, especially the classical background of medieval culture and its transmission to the modern world.
Readings include selections from Dante’s works as The New Life, The Banquet, The Divine Comedy, and The Monarchy, along with texts by St. Augustine, Severinus Boethius, Thomas Aquinas, and Boccaccio. Works of vernacular poets of 13th century and artists from Romanesque to Gothic will be considered. Texts to be read will be available as photocopies.

ITAL-UA 172 Topics: Sounds of 20th Century Italy
(same as MUSIC-UA 111-002)
Tuesday 12:30PM-3:15PM
CASA Library
Nicola Cipani
Conducted in English

This course will acquaint students with a variety of sound artifacts and sound related texts, grouped around topics significant for Italy’s auditory culture between WWI and the 70s — between the early noise machines of the Futurists and the experiments of maverick singer Demetrio Stratos. Yet the focus will not be exclusively on music proper: we will examine sound in a range of manifestations and contexts — propaganda, magic-religious rituals, oral poetry, folklore, commercial sound design, soundtracks, etc. Accordingly, supporting critical readings will give students the opportunity to compare approaches on sound from different fields — sound studies, oral history, (ethno)musicology, cultural and media studies. The course will touch upon issues such as the relationship between music and other arts; the development of Italian media; the voice of Mussolini and Fascist sound politics; the discussion on technology for sound production/ consumption in Italian cultural circles; the survival of (largely non-textual) oral-aural art forms. One of the larger goals of this course is to show how sound as a common sensory framework can impact the construction of shared social experiences.
Note: No Italian is required for this course. English transcripts will be provided for sound files in Italian. Each lesson will include a listening part with sound samples and a class discussion based on required listenings/readings.

ITAL-UA 173 Topics in Italian Culture: Violence in Medieval and Early Modern Italy
(same as HIST-UA 123-002)
Monday/Wednesday 12:30PM-1:45PM
CASA Library
Melissa Vise
Conducted in English

Popular imagination envisions violence in pre-modern Italy as it appears in film and video games like Assassin’s Creed 2—an age of vendetta, factional and gang violence, brigands, and inquisition. At the same time, many legal historians trace the origins of modern law to medieval legal practice. How do we simultaneously account for the image of this period as particularly violent alongside the notion that it holds the roots of modern law and order? This course will look at the history of crime, law enforcement, and punishment during the period of 1250-1650 to begin answering that question. Topics to be covered include: the nature of violence, the overlap between religious and secular efforts at criminalization especially regarding heresy and witchcraft, extra-legal justice and vendetta, the prison and exile, artistic depictions of crime and punishment, the gendering of crime, the coincidence of criminalization with state development (that is, stateviolence), warfare, and the development of legal processes.

ITAL-UA 285 Topics in Italian Literature: Between Women: Female Friendship in Contemporary Italian Literature
(same as COLIT-UA 141)
Thursday 12:30PM-3:15PM
CASA Library
Rebecca Falkoff
Conducted in English. Reading knowledge of Italian is suggested but not required.

Recent years have seen the increasing popularity of the “Bechdel Test” to assess movies, television shows, and other narrative forms. Based on a 1985 drawing by Alison Bechtel, the test is composed of three points: 1) Are there at least two female characters; 2) who speak to each other; 3) about something other than a man? Given that a surprising number of narratives fail this test, it seems important to look closely at representations of friendships between women, and to consider what is at stake in such representations, and in their absence. This course will be dedicated primarily to a close reading of Elena Ferrante’s monumental Neapolitan novels, which chronicle a lifelong friendship between the narrator and her brilliant, troubled, beautiful best friend. Along with Ferrante’s enormously popular and critically acclaimed, My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, and Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Lost Child, we will read Ferrante’s 2006, The Lost Daughter, a complex portrayal of an obscure friendship, as well as novels by Maria Rosa Cutrufelli, Matilde Serao, Dacia Maraini, and Christa Wolf that thematize friendships between women. Through these readings and related critical essays by Carla Lonzi, Luisa Muraro, Adriana Cavarero, Judith Butler, and others, we will reflect on diverse theoretical approaches to literature and gender. We will ask how our interpretive approach changes when reading novels by an author—like Ferrante—whose identity remains secret? We will trace the kinship structures, social bonds, and erotic attachments that develop in these texts, and reflect on the challenges they pose to hetero-normativity, to patriarchy, and to even to rhetorical styles and narrative structures. Reading recent works of affect theory, we will consider the role of disgust, envy, optimism, and irritation, in these novels. Discussions of the cultural contexts of these novels will address Italian labor and feminist movements, the so-called Southern question, and Italian political history since 1943.

ITAL-UA 724 Italian-American Life in Literature
(same as ENGL-UA 724)
Tuesday/Thursday 11:00AM-12:15PM
CASA Library
Hendin
Conducted in English

A study of the fiction and poetry through which Italian American writers have expressed their heritage and their engagement in American life. From narratives of immigration to current work by "assimilated" writers, the course explores the depiction of Italian American identity. Challenging stereotypes, it explores changing family relationships, sexual mores, and political and social concerns.

 


FALL 2015

CORE-UA 400 Texts and Ideas: Visible and Invisible Cities
Tuesday/Thursday
9:30am-10:45am, CASA Auditorium
Cox
Sample Syllabus
The experience of living in a city is one vital thread that connects us with our ancient, medieval, and early modern ancestors, and that continues to provide a unifying element in millions of our contemporaries’ disparate lives across the globe. Urban life is a constant environment and stimulus, whether you find yourself in New York, Florence, Accra, or Shanghai. Our aim is to supply conceptual frameworks and historical contexts for this experience by exploring the ways human communities have been theorized and imagined within the Western tradition from classical antiquity through to the Renaissance, particularly the city, conceived since Aristotle as the proper habitat of humankind, and the relationship between the family or household and the state. The primary texts encompass utopian writings and works of political theory, but also texts describing and analyzing real-world communities and visual and cartographic representations of cities and urban space. Readings include the canonical—from Plato, Aristotle, Vergil, Dante, Boccaccio, More, Shakespeare—to texts from Christine de Pizan and Moderata Fontelong, marginalized from the canon and only now becoming visible.

ITAL-UA 115 Readings in Medieval and Renaissance Literature
Tuesday/Thursday
9:30am-10:45am, CASA Library
Instructor TBD
Conducted in Italian, (Prerequisite of ITAL-UA 30 or by Department's permission)
Introductory-level literature course that, through a close reading of authors such as Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch,Machiavelli, and Ariosto, focuses on how to understand a literary text in Italian.  Covers Italian literature from its origins to 17th century.

ITAL-UA 148 Giordano Bruno and the Art of Memory
(same as HIST-UA 126)
Tuesday
12:30pm-3:15pm, CASA Library
Cipani
Conducted in English
The Art of Memory reached a peak of refinement and complexity during the Italian Renaissance. Far more than a mere tool for passive retention of information: memory devices had the ambition to assist in the structuring of thought, the organization of knowledge, the solving of philosophical questions, and were intended also as tools for creative output. This course examines the impact of the pervasive culture of memory on the literary production of the time, highlighting the interdependence between textual and visual codes. A main focus will be on the heretic philosopher and cosmologist Giordano Bruno, burnt at stake by the Roman Inquisition in 1600, who conceived his imposing mnemonic system as an inner mirror of the infinite universe and of nature's creative principles. We will first examine Bruno's works explicitly devoted to memory, assessing elements of continuity and innovation with respect to the tradition. Subsequently, sampling Bruno's Italian dialogues, his writings on magic, and his satyrical comedy Candlebearer, we will look for intersections between his theory of memory, on the one hand, and his strategy of self-representation, his literary style, and his doctrine of infinity on the other.

ITAL-UA 164 Italian Colonialism
(same as HIST-UA 204, EURO-UA 161)
Monday
9:30am-12:15pm, CASA Library
Ben-Ghiat
Conducted in English

ITAL-UA 172 Topics: Narrating Immigrant Experience
(same as COLIT-UA 173, EURO-UA 174)
Monday/Wednesday
12:30pm-1:45pm, CASA Library
Lakhous
Conducted in English
How can we narrate immigration today?  Can we argue that the immigrant experience is universal?  How can we recount family memories of immigration? What is the relationship between identity and memory? What are the connections between immigration, emigration, and colonialism?
We will attempt to answer such questions – and to approach different narratives of immigrant experience – through novels, films, documentaries, and essays.  We will examine cases in different national and cultural contexts. We will look in particular at the Italian case; for, Italy represents a unique case in the world: after decades of exporting immigrants, it has become an importer.  But we will also examine other histories and experiences (whether in China, Vietnam, Tunisia, France, Romania, the USA, Canada, Argentina, Australia, and others); internal migration (especially to the North of Italy in the fifties and the sixties); and finally non-European Community immigrants.

ITAL-UA 173 Topics in Italian Culture: Medieval Italy
(same as HIST-UA 123)
Monday/Wednesday
2:00pm-3:15pm, CASA Library
Vise
Conducted in English
Medieval Italy can look like a land replete with impossible contradiction. The northern cities witnessed Europe’s first stirrings of formal republican self-governance since the Fall of Rome but also the violent repression of political dissenters; the flowering of vernacular literature in writers like Petrarca, Dante and Boccaccio but also the highest levels of Latinity in Europe; the development of systems of justice to which modern institutions trace their origin but also notoriously bloody factional violence and vendetta; the boom of a mercantile economy but also wildly popular grassroots religious critiques of wealth. In one city we find the first broad-based emancipation of slaves and serfs in the West while in another, the brutal exclusion of the turbulent lower-class guild of wool carders from political life. They were the “cities of God” where sometimes heretics ruled.
The Mezzogiorno, southern Italy, glittered with literary and artistic achievement and bustled with ethnic and religious diversity under the succession of multiple foreign monarchies. And in the middle, the Papal States staggered in competition with the powers of the North, the South, and its own squabbling aristocracy. Yet at the same time, its ruler claimed a monopoly on the souls of European Christians and operated the highest court of appeals for major European legal disputes.
In this class, we will explore this complex culture by looking at a wide range of primary sources from poetry to prisoner graffiti, high and low art, and complimentary secondary sources. The course will begin with the early medieval period and the emergence of the communes, Papal states, and Southern Kingdom after the fall of Rome and then proceed thematically to conclude by considering what this period bequeathed to subsequent generations. For each theme, our central question will remain: were these deep contrasts ultimately a source of strength and creativity or of chaos and division? Topics to be covered include: legal and extra-legal justice, religious plurality, politics and religion, women and gender, wealth and poverty, intellectual life, art and patronage, factions and la familia, and the creation of state.

ITAL-UA 270 Dante's Divine Comedy
(same as COLIT-UA 270, ENGL-UA 142, MEDI-UA 271)
Monday/Wednesday
2:00pm-3:15pm, CASA Auditorium
Conducted in English

 


SPRING 2015

ITAL-UA 116 Readings in Modern Italian Literature
Tuesday/Thursday
9:30am-10:45am, CASA 201
Antonangeli
Conducted in Italian, (Prerequisite of ITAL-UA 30 or by Department's permission)
Introductory-level literature course that, through a close reading of authors such as Alfieri, Foscolo, Leopardi, Manzoni, Verga, D'Annunzio, Moravia, and Calvino, focuses on how to understand a literary text in Italian. Covers Italian literature from the 18th century to the contemporary period.

ITAL-UA 121 The Renaissance
(same as HIST-UA 121, MEDI-UA 121)
Tuesday/Thursday
3:30pm-4:45pm, TISC LC9
Appuhn
Conducted in English

ITAL-UA 172 Hellscapes and Elysia in the Renaissance and Beyond
(same as COLIT-UA 173, ENGL-UA 56, MEDI-UA 172)
Monday/Wednesday
11am-12:15pm, CASA 201
McHugh
Conducted in English

This course explores various representations of otherworlds, both infernal and paradisal: the realms of the afterlife, regions of marvel or idyllic bliss, political utopias and dystopias. Readings and discussion focus on how these imagined lands reflect, critique, and animate the real world, from antiquity through our own times.

ITAL-UA 173.001 Murder, Italian Style!
(same as DRLIT-UA 505)
Monday/Wednesday
12:30pm-1:45pm, CASA 201
Falkoff
Course conducted in English; reading knowledge of Italian recommended but not required.
A genre whose development is associated with urbanization, crime fiction—like so many other emblems of modernity—is often considered to have arrived belatedly in Italy. Despite this initial reticence, several critically acclaimed writers of contemporary Italy have used the genre as a narrative space from which to launch a broader commentary on aspects of Italian history and culture such as the fascist period, honor killings, police brutality, political corruption, femicide, and xenophobia. This course will consider novels, plays, and films from the 1950s to the present, analyzing the ways in which they use conventions of the crime fiction as a point of departure for literary experimentation, philosophical reflection, and cultural critique.

ITAL-UA 173.002 Italy and the Mediterranean: Empire, Politics and Culture
(same as AHSEM-UA 218.001 and MEIS-UA 659.001)
Tuesday/Thursday
4:55pm-6:10pm, CASA 306
Valerie McGuire
Conducted in English
NOTE: ONLY OPEN TO CAS SOPHOMORES, JUNIORS, AND SENIORS
Shortly after its unification in 1861, the Italian nation began a prolonged attempt to establish an overseas empire on a scale with other European colonial powers. This course examines how Italian imperialism unfolded and how it impacted politics and culture on the global level, as well as how it shaped internal attitudes and beliefs, particularly during Italy’s Fascist period. The course studies the formation of Italy’s national project under two different empires and discovers how processes such as emigration and the Southern Question intertwined with its first attempts to establish foreign colonies. As Ottoman collapse and the First World War initiated a new phase of European colonialism, Italy turned to the Mediterranean as the domain of its empire. We investigate how the Mediterranean region ignited fantasies of the exotic and the familiar and how it both promoted and challenged Italian myths of national identity. The course studies Italy’s imperial history and culture through a range of medium, including film, novels and scholarly articles. Reading knowledge in Italian is a plus but not a requisite.

ITAL-UA 282 Italian Cinema and Literature
Tuesday 12:30-1:45pm and Thursday 12:30-3:15pm
CASA Auditorium
Albertini
Course conducted in Italian (Prerequisite of ITAL-UA 30 or by Department's permission)

Sample Syllabus
The course will focus on the development of Italian cinema in the post war period, emphasizing the relationship between literature and film adaptation. The books and the films will offer a unique opportunity to analyze and discuss crucial issues related to the historical, political, and cultural evolution of Italy concentrating in particular on the political unification process (Risorgimento).

ITAL-UA 285 Topics in Italian Literature: Dante's Purgatorio

(same as ENGL-UA 52 and MEDI-UA 285.001)
Monday/Wednesday
12:30pm-1:45pm, CASA 201
Conducted in English

ITAL-UA 724 Italian-American Life in Literature
(same as ENGL-UA 724)
Tuesday/Thursday
11am-12:15pm, CASA 201
Hendin
Conducted in English
Sample Syllabus
A study of the fiction and poetry through which Italian American writers have expressed their heritage and their engagement in American life. From narratives of immigration to current work by "assimilated" writers, the course explores the depiction of Italian American identity. Challenging stereotypes, it explores changing family relationships, sexual mores, and political and social concerns.

ITAL-UA 760 Topics in the Renaissance: Visual Languages of the Renaissance: Emblems, Dreams, Hieroglyphs
(same as MEDI-UA 760.001)
Thursday
12:30pm-3:00pm, CASA 201
Cipani
Conducted in English
Syllabus
Making knowledge visible was one of the great Renaissance endeavors. Some of the period's most characteristic products were born out of the conviction that concepts could be systematically turned into images — and that such images could be organized into a visual language, more profound and universal than discursive logic. Egyptian hieroglyphs and dream visions, in their mysterious graphic exuberance, were considered typical vehicles of this advanced mode of communication. The desire to emulate their symbolic density is reflected both in literature and in art, often in ways that challenge common distinctions between visual and verbal communication. In this course you will be introduced to an assortment of works representative of such interplay between text and image: emblem books, dream books and dream-centered works, hieroglyphic inventions and studies, collections of proverbs, iconology manuals, etc. Among the books examined are some widely considered as the finest examples of design in the history of printing. Early modern and recent theory of emblems will also be discussed. As a present-day counterpart of Renaissance emblems, the course will conclude with a survey of corporate logos and Russian criminal tattoos.

CORE-UA 554 Cultures & Contexts: Italy
Tuesday/Thursday
12:30-1:45PM

 


FALL 2014

CORE-UA 400-70 Texts and Ideas: Visible and Invisible Cities
Tuesday/Thursday
11:00am-12:15pm, CASA Auditorium
Cox
Sample Syllabus
The experience of living in a city is one vital thread that connects us with our ancient, medieval, and early modern ancestors, and that continues to provide a unifying element in millions of our contemporaries’ disparate lives across the globe. Urban life is a constant environment and stimulus, whether you find yourself in New York, Florence, Accra, or Shanghai. Our aim is to supply conceptual frameworks and historical contexts for this experience by exploring the ways human communities have been theorized and imagined within the Western tradition from classical antiquity through to the Renaissance, particularly the city, conceived since Aristotle as the proper habitat of humankind, and the relationship between the family or household and the state. The primary texts encompass utopian writings and works of political theory, but also texts describing and analyzing real-world communities and visual and cartographic representations of cities and urban space. Readings include the canonical—from Plato, Aristotle, Vergil, Dante, Boccaccio, More, Shakespeare—to texts from Christine de Pizan and Moderata Fontelong, marginalized from the canon and only now becoming visible.

ITAL-UA 115 Readings in Medieval & Renaissance Literature
CANCELED

ITAL-UA 165 Italian Fascism
(same as HIST-UA 171)
Monday
11am-1:45pm
Ben-Ghiat
Conducted in English
Syllabus
This interdisciplinary course examines the dictatorship that ruled Italy between 1922 and 1943. We address the relationship between culture and politics, public and private; Fascist biopolitics; anti-Fascism; fascist colonialism and racism; the cult of Mussolini; and Fascist-era feminities and masculinities. We will combine secondary sources with readings of Fascist speeches and anti-Fascist novels, and viewings of newsreels and Fascist war films. The course is conducted in English, and most of the readings are in English.

ITAL-UA 166 Contemporary Italy
(same as EURO-UA 164)
Tuesday/Thursday
12:30pm-1:45pm
Albertini
Conducted in English
Covers the political, cultural, economic, and social history of Italy since World War II. Starting with the transition from fascism to democracy, examines the Cold War, the growth of a mass consumer society, the social and political movements of the late 1960s and 1970s, the battle against the Mafia, postwar emigration, the rise and fall of postwar Christian Democracy and Italian communism, and the emergence of new parties in the 1990s such as Berlusconi's Forza Italia, Bossi's Northern League, and Fini's neofascist Alleanza Nazionale.

ITAL-UA 172 Portraits of Women: From 19th to 20th Century

Monday/Wednesday
11am-12:15pm
Ducci
Conducted in Italian (Prereq: ITAL-UA 30 Advanced Review of Modern Italian)
The purpose of this class is to understand the changing image and voice of Italian women in a period of intense change from traditionalism to modernity.
The course is based on a choice of short texts in Italian, selected for their relevance and accessible language, combined with images and visual material taken from painting, photography, fashion, theater, and film.
The emphasis is on improving skills of reading and communication in Italian, while at the same time discussing the history of gender and its politics in a country where the struggle between tradition and change often invests the image and life of women.

ITAL-UA 173 Violence and Memory in Contemporary Italy
Tuesday/Thursday
2:00-3:15pm
Forgacs
Conducted in English
Sample Syllabus
Acts of violence, against individuals or groups of people, have played an important part in the collective memory of Italy after Fascism. However, they have also been open to conflicting interpretations. Was the execution of Mussolini and Clara Petacci and the public desecration of their corpses in Milan in 1945 an act of legitimate retribution for the sufferings inflicted by the Fascist regime and its alliance with Nazi Germany or an act that displaced Italians’ collective guilt over acquiescence? Were the bullets and bombs of the “anni di piombo” from 1969 to 1980 assaults on the fabric of a democratic society or symptoms of a malfunctioning political system and civil society? Did the collective mourning of mafia victims in the 1990s allow attention to be turned away from collusion between politicians and organized crime? Why are some massacres well known and publicly commemorated and others largely removed from collective memory? This course takes five cases where violence has given rise to these kinds of controversy and debate over historical memory.

ITAL-UA 270 Dante's Divine Comedy
Monday/Wednesday
11am-12:15pm
Freccero
Conducted in English
Sample Syllabus
Students study The Divine Comedy both as a mirror of high medieval culture and as a unique text that breaks out of its cultural bounds. The entire poem is read, in addition to selections from the Vita Nuova and other complementary minor works.

ITAL-UA 285-001 Love in the Renaissance: From Lyric to Letters
Wednesday
11am-1:45pm
Bolzoni
Conducted in English, Readings in Italian.
Love is one of the central themes of the Renaissance literature. The course is aimed to investigate how such topic is represented and discussed in different literary genres: poetry, theatre, letters, chivalric poems. Special attention will be paid to the representation of passions and the figure of woman.
During the course, a number of texts will be read: compositions of women poets, such as Gaspara Stampa and Isabella di Morra, will be analysed; among the theatre pieces, La Mandragola by Niccolò Machiavelli; as far as letters are concerned, students will investigate the epistolary exchange between Pietro Bembo and Maria Savorgnan; finally, regarding the chivalric poems, episodes from Orlando innamorato of Matteo M. Boiardo and Orlando furioso of Ludovico Ariosto will be analysed. Moreover, the reading of a number of love poems by Michelangelo will represent an occasion for investigating the intertwining links between literature and figurative arts.

ITAL-UA 285-002 Ecologies of Italian Literature
Monday/Wednesday
2pm-3:15pm
CANCELED

ITAL-UA 861 Past and Present Stories of Italian Immigration
Monday/Wednesday
2:00pm-3:15pm
Marazzi
Syllabus
Conducted in English
This course provides a cultural approach to the history of the adaptation of Italian immigrants to American culture and society, and compares it with the present change occurring in Italy, in the light of an unprecedented inbound immigration. The epical phenomenon of the Italian mass migration to the U.S. will be examined using immigrants’ words as primary sources – analyzing novels, poetry, “colonial” journalism and theatre, and private letters – with a keen attention to cases of bilingualism and code-mixing.

 


SPRING 2014


ITAL-UA 30 Advanced Review of Modern Italian

Section 001 - TWR 11:00am-12:15pm
Section 002 - TWR 2:00pm-3:15pm
Anderson-Tirro
Taught in Italian

Prerequisite: Intermediate Italian II (ITAL-UA 12), or Intensive Intermediate Italian (ITAL-UA 20), or placement exam.
This course is a prerequisite for other advanced courses in language, literature, and culture and society. Systematizes and reinforces the language skills presented in earlier-level courses through an intensive review of grammar and composition, lexical enrichment, improvement of speaking ability, and selected readings from contemporary Italian literature.

ITAL-UA 107 Italian through Cinema
TWR 11:00am-12:15pm
Taught in Italian
Prerequisite: Advanced Review of Modern Italian (ITAL-UA 30) or permission of the instructor.

Students entering this course should have mastered the fundamental structures of Italian. Aims to enrich knowledge of Italian language, culture, and society through screening and discussion of contemporary Italian cinema and detailed analysis of selected film scripts. Students are encouraged to use different idiomatic expressions and recognize regional linguistic variety. Special emphasis is placed on developing a more extensive vocabulary and an expressive range suited to discussion of complex issues and their representation.

ITAL-UA 108 Italian though Opera

TWR 11am-12:15pm
Scarcella Perino
Taught in Italian
Prerequisite: Advanced Review of Modern Italian (ITAL-UA 30) or permission of the instructor.
This course is designed to help students increase their understanding of the Italian language and their effectiveness in spoken Italian through exposure to famous Italian operas and to opera culture. Activities spurred directly by primary sources (reading of librettos, listening of arias) will be supplemented with critical materials on reception and on current performances. With the help of opera adaptations, recreations, popularizations, quotes, etc, operatic plots and settings will be linked thematically to present day issues, leading to discussion on contemporary social and cultural perspectives. Opera’s unique mixture of word, gesture, and music will offer students a great opportunity to internalize the language and acquire fluency.


ITAL-UA 110 Translation
TWR 12:30pm-1:45pm
Marchelli
Taught in Italian
Prerequisites: Advanced Review of Modern Italian (ITAL-UA 30) and one of the following: ITAL-UA 101, ITAL-UA 103, ITAL-UA 105, or ITAL-UA 107, or permission of the department. Introduces students to the theory and practice of translation. While engaging in the craft of translation firsthand, students gain a deeper understanding of the Italian language through the study of contemporary texts, such as Italian novels and short stories. The course also stresses the acquisition of vocabulary and complex idiomatic structures necessary for effective reading comprehension, as well as written expression. A special emphasis is on the analysis of dialogue, style, and linguistic choices of each author, in order to explore the development of the written language, slang, regional expressions, and linguistic differences that have accompanied and defined the evolution of Italian over the past 20 years.

ITAL-UA 116 Readings in Modern Italian Literature
(same as COLIT-UA 141)
MW 9:30-10:45am
Lucchi
Taught in Italian
Sample Syllabus
Introductory-level literature course that, through a close reading of authors such as Alfieri, Foscolo, Leopardi, Manzoni, Verga, D'Annunzio, Moravia, and Calvino, focuses on how to understand a literary text in Italian. Covers Italian literature from the 18th century to the contemporary period.

ITAL-UA 147 Machiavelli
(same as MEDI-147)
TR 2:00pm-3:15pm
Albertini
The inventor of modern political science, Niccolò Machiavelli is one of the most original thinkers in the history of Western civilization. In this course, Machiavelli's political, historical, and theatrical works are read in the context in which they were conceived—the much tormented and exciting Florence of the 15th and early 16th centuries, struggling between republican rule and the magnificent tyranny of the Medici family.

ITAL-UA 160 Dante and His World
(same as COLIT-UA 173, ENGL-UA 143 and MEDI-UA 801)
MW 12:30pm-1:45pm
Ardizzone
Interdisciplinary introduction to late medieval culture, using Dante, its foremost literary artist, as a focus. Attention is directed to literature, art, and music, in addition to political, religious, and social developments of the time. Emphasizes the continuity of the Western tradition, its intellectual history, especially the classical background of medieval culture and its transmission to the modern world.
Readings include selections from Dante’s works as The New Life, The Divine Comedy, The Monarchy along with texts by St. Augustine, Severinus Boethius, St. Francis , Brunetto Latini, Thomas Aquinas,  Boccaccio. Works of vernacular poets of 13th century and artists from Romanesque to Gothic will be considered. The course will be given in English.

ITAL-UA 173 Visions on and of Mafia
MW 2:00-3:15PM
Montalbano
From its local origins in Sicily, the Mafia has become a global phenomenon and a widespread model of organized crime that threatens and corrupts the international economy, political systems, and social environments. Though its power and underworld affect legal business, control illegal traffic, and trample human rights, nevertheless film, television, and literature stimulate a continued fascination with a romantic and even heroic vision of the Mafia. In this seminar we will explore and compare American and Italian films on the Mafia and the literary texts upon which many of them are based from the late 1940s to today. Combining the analyses of historians, sociologists, and intellectuals, along with the testimonies of victims, we will not only challenge the stereotypes through which cultural productions envision the Mafiosi but also, and more importantly, we will shift the inquiry to how the Mafiosi envision the world by asking: What is the ideology of Mafia? How do Mafiosi picture society, human beings, and law? Does Mafia have its own ethic? How does a religious imaginary shape a Mafia worldview? How does Mafia’s normative discourse govern the performance of femininity, masculinity, and homosexuality? Can we consider Mafia to be terrorism? Examining together the visions on and of Mafia through cultural, socio-political, and historical perspectives, this seminar aims to deconstruct the mythological eye and instead form an analytical eye with which to investigate and understand the Mafioso universe and power.

ITAL-UA 175 Italian Films, Italian Histories II
(same as HIST-UA 176, CINE-UT 235, DRLIT-UA 506)
M 11:00am-12:15pm; W 11:00am-1:45pm
Ben-Ghiat
Studies representations of Italian history from the unification of Italy to the present through the medium of film. We explore the possibilities and limitations of feature films for the representation of history, and ask: What happens when history becomes cinema and when cinema takes on history?

ITAL-UA 274 Pirandello and the Contemporary Theatre
(same as DRLIT-UA 280)
TR 9:30am-10:45am
Oliver
An introduction to Luigi Pirandello's major plays as they relate to the foundation of contemporary theatre. Attention is also paid to grotesque and futurist drama. Works studied include Sei personaggio in cerca d'autore, Cosi è (se vi pare), and Enrico IV.

ITAL-UA 724 Italian-American Life in Literature
(same as ENGL-UA 724)
TR 11am-12:15pm
Hendin
A study of the fiction and poetry through which Italian American writers have expressed their heritage and their engagement in American life. From narratives of immigration to current work by "assimilated" writers, the course explores the depiction of Italian American identity. Challenging stereotypes, it explores changing family relationships, sexual mores, and political and social concerns.

ITAL-UA 760-001 Giordano Bruno & the Art of Memory
(same as MEDI-UA 760-001)
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm
Cipani
The Art of Memory reached a peak of refinement and complexity during the Italian Renaissance. Far more than a mere tool for passive retention of information: memory devices had the ambition to assist in the structuring of thought, the organization of knowledge, the solving of philosophical questions, and were intended also as tools for creative output. This course examines the impact of the pervasive culture of memory on the literary production of the time, highlighting the interdependence between textual and visual codes. A main focus will be on the heretic philosopher and cosmologist Giordano Bruno, burnt at stake by the Roman Inquisition in 1600, who conceived his imposing mnemonic system as an inner mirror of the infinite universe and of nature's creative principles. Sampling the varied textual genres of Bruno's work  (philosophical dialogues, writings on magic, a satirical comedy), one of the questions this course aims to answer is the same posed to Bruno by Henry III King of France: is the Art of Memory acquired "by magic" or "by science"?

ITAL-UA 760-002 Humanism in the Renaissance
(same as MEDI-UA 760-002)
MW 11:00am-12:15pm
Freccero

 


FALL 2013

ITAL UA 115 Readings in Medieval and Renaissance Literature
MW 9:30-10:45am, Casa Library
Taught in Italian
(Prereq: ITAL-UA 30; Same as MEDI 115)
Introductory-level literature course that, through a close reading of authors such as Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch,Machiavelli, and Ariosto, focuses on how to understand a literary text in Italian.  Covers Italian literature from its origins to 17th century.

ITAL-UA 142 - The Courtesan in Renaissance Culture & Society

Cox
TR 11-12:30pm, Casa Library
Examines an intriguing figure within the social panorama of Renaissance Italy, the "honest courtesan" or cortigiana onesta. It contextualizes courtesans' social position and cultural status, embracing elements of social history, literary history, and music and art history. Texts studied include both representations of courtesans, such as the notorious dialogues of Pietro Aretino, and writings by courtesan poets, such as Tullia d'Aragona and Veronica Franco.

ITAL UA 173-001 Topics in Italian Culture: Media, Society and Politics in Italy: Since 1943
Forgacs
TR 2-3:15pm, Casa Library

The course aims to give students a good understanding of how the mass media and popular cultural forms have interacted with social change and political power in Italy from the fall of Fascism to the present. Some observers have seen postwar Italy as following a relatively normal pattern of evolution of the mass media within a democratic polity, whereas others have seen Italy as exceptional, among the western democracies, both for the degree of political interferences with the media and, since the later 1990s, for the breakdown of democratic norms. This course will enable students to assess these views in an informed way. It will also allow them to consider how far the media should be seen as mirrors of social change and how far were they themselves agents of change. The course will cover some of the most significant moments and turning points in the political and social history of the period, using contemporary sources and documents from various media.

ITAL UA 174 Italian Films, Italian Histories I
Albertini
T 12:30-3:15pm; R 12:30-1:45pm, Casa Auditorium

Studies representation of Italian history through the medium of film from ancient Rome through the Risorgimento. Issues to be covered throughout include the use of filmic history as a means of forging national identity.

ITAL UA 270 Dante's Divine Comedy in Translation
Freccero
MW 11-12:15pm Casa Auditorium
(same as MEDI 271, COLIT 270, ENGL 142)

Students study the Divine Comedy both as a mirror of high medieval culture and as a unique text that breaks out of its cultural bounds. The entire poem is read, in addition to selections from the Vita Nuova and other complementary minor works.

ITAL UA 271 Boccaccio's Decameron 
Ardizzone
MW 2:00-3:15pm, Casa Library

A study of Boccaccio’s Decameron with particular emphasis on themes, conceptual innovations, and influences on French and English literatures.

ITAL-UA 285 Topics in Italian Literature: Food in Italian Literature and Culture - The Art of Taste, The Taste of Nation: Italian Literary and Cinematic Gastronomy
Falkoff
TR 12:30-1:45pm, Casa Library
Casa Library
Sample Syllabus

“What is the glory of Dante compared to spaghetti?” Italian journalist Giuseppe Prezzolini famously asks in his 1954 history of pasta. While numerous cookbooks cite Prezzolini to evoke Italy’s consummate culinary achievements, this course instead poses the question: “What is the glory of spaghetti compared to its representation in literature and film?” We begin the semester with short stories by Giovanni Boccaccio in which the preparation and consumption of food becomes a critical act of communication. Turning to films, novels, memoirs, cookbooks, and manifestos from the late nineteenth century to the present, we will reflect upon the narrative functions of elaborate descriptions of culinary triumphs. Do such descriptions constitute a form of “food-porn”? If so, how is the project of reading and interpreting the texts changed? We will also ask what ideological work is performed by literary gastronomy; and how it contributes to the production of national, regional, and local identities, and socioeconomic differences.