12:30-1:45 Tuesdays & Thursdays; Professor Amara Lakhous — 4 credits
Italy may have politically unified as a nation-state in 1861, but it has never been monolithic. From even before this unification, the Italian nation-building project attempted to create a shared and dominant standard language at the expense of Italy’s characteristic linguistic diversity. Despite the successes of television and universal education to spread “standard Italian,” Italy is still home to a rich array of languages. Even more today, in the age of migration, the project of a single national language has been interrupted and challenged by the increasing presence of residents who espouse translingual identities. This course explores ‘translingualism’ as a source of creativity and imagination for new writers in Italian today. With readings ranging from Jhumpa Lahiri, Amara Lakhous, Igiaba Scego, Cristina Ali Farah, Carmine Abate, Helena Janeczek and many others, we explore what it means to be “from” a place and speak “a language.” These writers take from their other languages and enrich Italian with new expressions, poetic forms, and imaginaries. They are able to narrate Italy with fresh eyes and tongues.
Conducted in Italian.
Prerequisite: Intensive or Extensive Intermediate, or equivalent language proficiency.
11:00-12:15 Mondays & Wednesdays; Professor Elena Ducci — 4 credits
Close reading of authors such as Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, Machiavelli, and Ariosto. Covers Italian literature from its origins to the 17th century.
Conducted in Italian.
11am-12:15pm Mondays & Wednesdays; Professor Stefano Albertini — 4 credits
The inventor of modern political science, Niccolo 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. The course also aims at dismantling the myth of ?evilness? that has surrounded Machiavelli through the centuries, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world, through a close reading of such masterpieces as The Prince, The Discourses, and The Mandrake Root.
12:30-1:45 Tuesdays & Thursdays; Professor David Forgacs — 4 credits
The 1960s and 70s in Italy saw an eruption of protest across a wide social spectrum, from workers and students to women and gay men, and against oppressive institutions, from schools to prisons and mental asylums. What caused these protests and why did they take such radical and sometimes violent forms in Italy? Why was Italy considered a terrorist danger zone by some contemporary observers and a laboratory of political creativity by others? This course examines a cross-section of protest movements through the close study of documents in translation, photographs, nonfiction films and music.
3:30-4:45 Mondays & Wednesdays; Professor Gianna Albaum — 4 credits
This course analyzes the significant role of race and racism in Italian culture and history, from early modern travel writing to Black Lives Matter. Through a wide-ranging examination of films, novels, monuments, visual art, and nonfiction essays, we will explore questions of race, citizenship, immigration, and national identity, with particular attention to how Afro-Italian writers have articulated their own experiences. Delving into the world of postcolonial Italian fiction, we will reflect on the power of memory, narrative, and language in shaping our understandings of identity and community. A critical force in Italian culture and history, race offers a key lens for thinking many of the dynamics that structure contemporary Italian society, including migration, political corruption, inequality, waste, the global south, and ecological crisis.
12:30-1:45 Mondays & Wednesdays; Professor Maria Luisa Ardizzone — 4 credits
The Divine Comedy is a very long poem traditionally judged to be one of the most important in Western culture. At the center of the poem is the human being, his condition in the after life and his punishment or reward. Taken literally, the theme is the state of the souls after the death. But allegorically, the true subject is moral life and thus the torments of the sins themselves or the enjoyment of a happy and saintly life. Since the beginning of its circulation the Divine Comedy has been seen as a text to be read in context, that is in light of the cultural tradition Dante was channelling and interpreting. This course proposes a reading of Dante's Commedia, considered in light of the ancient and medieval idea of learning. The objective of the course is to familiarize students with one of the most important author 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.
9:30-10:45 Mondays & Wednesdays; Professor Gianna Albaum — 4 credits
The success of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels is astounding, not only because of the record-breaking sales, but also because of the strong emotions they thematize and arouse. In this course, we will read novels, interviews, and essays by Ferrante, asking why her work inspires such passionate reading, and whether there is political efficacy in all this affect. Engaging with Sianne Ngai, Elspeth Probyn, Lauren Berlant and others, we will consider the political and aesthetic implications of ugly and opaque emotions like irritation, envy, disgust, and shame. We will also study major influences—including writers Ferrante cites frequently in interviews: Adriana Cavarero, Carla Lonzi, Luisa Muraro, and Elsa Morante; as well as those she tends to refrain from naming: Christa Wolf and Ingeborg Bachmann. Reading knowledge of Italian is suggested but not required.
Class discussion will be conducted in English; texts will be available in English and Italian.
2:00-3:15 Tuesdays & Thursdays; Professor Nicola Cipani — 4 credits
This course examines a variety of sound artifacts and sound related texts from the period 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, prison songs, soundtracks, etc. The course will touch upon issues such as the relationship between music and other arts; the development of Italian media; Fascist sound politics; prison songs; the discussion on technology for sound production/ consumption in Italian cultural circles; the survival of (largely non-textual) oral-aural art forms. The course is in English, no Italian required.
2:00-4:45 Tuesdays, Professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat — 4 credits
This course will examine authoritarianism from the Fascist and early Communist years up to the present. Leaders include Mussolini, Hitler, Franco, Stalin, Mobutu, Pinochet, Gaddafi, Mao, Putin, Orban, Erdogan, and more.
3:30-4:45 Mondays; Professor Roberto Scarcella-Perino — 2 credits
In this course we will cover the varieties of Italian food in their past and present forms. First, we will explore the history of food from past civilizations, leading up to World War I, just after the great immigration to the New World. Time periods examined will be ancient Rome, Medieval, Renaissance, Risorgimento, leading to the modern era. This course includes topics ranging from Pellegrino Artusi’s famous cookbook in the contest of Italian unification to the relationship between Italian Futurism and food. The second part of the course will introduce students to the regional diversity of Italian food using mediums such as TV, art, and film. We will examine the ways in which food shapes contemporary Italian society, from the more intimate family kitchen to the most elegant Italian restaurant in New York City.
2 sections: 12:30-1:45 Mondays & 3:30-4:45 Wednesdays; Professor Laura Bresciani — 2 credits
If in the collective imaginary fashion is linked to glamour, style, and aesthetics, no country more actively evokes and embodies these concepts than Italy. Italian identity, culture, and economy remain deeply connected to fashion as both an institution and industry. Well before Italy’s belated unification in 1861, fashion long played a key role in the construction of national style and courtly life from the Middle Ages and Renaissance to the twentieth-century design houses which reshaped not only commercial and aesthetic trends, but solidified Italy’s association with post-war design culture more broadly. This course explores the development of Italian fashion from its roots in Medieval Communes to the dynamics of the modernity and the post-modernity of the 19 th and 20 th centuries, concluding with a close look at contemporary fashion as a creative force of socio-cultural change.
11:00-12:15 Tuesdays & Thursdays; Professor Josephine Hendin — 4 credits
Italian American writers have expressed their heritage and their engagement in American life in vivid fiction or poetry which reflects their changing status and concerns. From narratives of immigration to current work by "assimilated" writers, the course explores the depiction of Italian American identity. Readings both track and contribute to the course of American writing from realism, through beat generation writing and current, innovative forms. Challenging stereotypes, the course explores the changing family relationships, sexual mores, and political and social concerns evident in fiction, poetry and selected film and television representations. Situating the field of Italian American Studies in the context of contemporary ethnic studies, this course highlights its contribution to American literature.