12:30-1:45 Tuesdays & Thursdays; Professor Amara Lakhous
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
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
11:00-1:30 Thursdays; Professor Nicola Cipani
Memory devices reached a peak of refinement during the Italian Renaissance; they aimed to organize knowledge and were intended as tools for creative output. Examines their impact on the literary production of the time, highlighting the interdependence between textual and visual codes. Focuses on the heretic philosopher and cosmologist Giordano Bruno, burned at the stake by the Roman Inquisition in 1600, who conceived his imposing mnemonic system as an inner mirror of the infinite universe.
4:55-7:35pm Wednesdays; Professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat
This seminar investigates the relationship of cinema and war around the world from the early 20th century to the present. 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 ally and enemy; the aestheticization of violence and war as spectacle; the role of sound; the ethics of targeting. This is a class on the history of war, and the history of cinema; no prior knowledge of either field is assumed.
9:30-10:45 Tuesdays & Thursdays; Professor David Forgacs
From the execution of Mussolini in April 1945 to the mafia bombings of the early 1990s, acts of violence against individuals or groups of people have been recurrent in the history of modern Italy. Examines case studies where violence has given rise to intense controversy over historical memory. Through close examination of materials in different media and class discussion students learn to examine sources critically and gain an in-depth understanding of some fundamental themes and controversies in contemporary Italy.
2:00-3:15 Mondays & Wednesdays; Professor Maria Luisa Ardizzone
The Divine Comedy is traditionally judged to be one of the most important poems in Western culture. At the center of the poem is the human being, his condition in the afterlife and his punishment or reward. Taken literally, the theme is the state of souls after death. Allegorically, the true subject is the moral life. Considers the cultural and intellectual traditions that shaped Dante’s mind and his work.
12:30-1:45 Mondays & Wednesdays; Professor Rebecca Falkoff
Close reading of novels, interviews, and essays by Ferrante. Engaging with Sianne Ngai, Elspeth Probyn, Lauren Berlant and others, we consider the political and aesthetic implications of ugly and opaque emotions like irritation, envy, disgust, and shame. We also study major influences, both 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.
2:00-3:15 Wednesdays; Professor Roberto Scarcella-Perino
Begins with ancient Rome and ends in the modern era. Introduces students to the regional varieties of Italian food and the role of this topic in the arts, film, and television.
9:30-10:45 Tuesdays; Professor Laura Bresciani
Italian identity, culture, and economy remain deeply connected to fashion as both an institution and industry. Examines how fashion 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 not only reshaped commercial and aesthetic trends, but also solidified Italy’s association with post-war design culture more broadly.
11:00-12:15 Tuesdays & Thursdays; Professor Josephine Hendin
A study of the fiction and poetry through which Italian American writers have expressed their heritage, identity, and engagement in American life. From narratives of immigration to current work by “assimilated” writers, explores changing family relationships, sexual mores, and political and social concerns.