The prerequisite for the following courses (when taught in Italian) is Advanced Review of Modern Italian (ITAL-UA 30) or permission of the instructor. Either Readings in Medieval and Renaissance Literature (ITAL-UA 115) or Readings in Modern Italian Literature (ITAL-UA 116) is a recommended prerequisite. There are no prerequisites for courses taught in English.
The Renaissance (ITAL-UA 121)
Identical to HIST-UA 121 and MEDI-UA 121. Offered every two to three years. Appuhn. 4 points.
From its origins in the 14th century to its waning at the end of the 16th century. Focuses on developments in Italy, especially the development of republican city-states, the social basis for the explosion in artistic and intellectual production, and the emergence of new forms of political and scientific analysis.
The Italian Renaissance: A New Reading (ITAL-UA 130)
Offered every one to two years. Cox. 4 points. The period or movement commonly referred to as the Renaissance remains one of the great iconic moments of Western history: a time of remarkable innovation within artistic and intellectual culture. Italy was the original heartland of the Renaissance, and home to some of its most powerful and enduring figures, such as Leonardo and Michelangelo in art, Petrarch and Ariosto in literature, Machiavelli in political thought. The Italian Renaissance: A New Reading provides an overview of Italian Renaissance culture, examining not only literary, artistic, and intellectual history, but also material culture, cartography, science, technology, and history of food and fashion. It reflects recent trends in scholarship in investigating the extent to which “Renaissance” ideas and cultural trends became diffused beyond the social elites to a wider public, and the extent to which women participated in literary and artistic culture alongside men.
The Courtesan in Italian Renaissance Society and Culture (ITAL-UA 142)
Offered every two to three years. Cox. 4 points. Examines the “honest courtesan” or cortigiana onesta. Contextualizes courtesans’ social position and cultural status, embracing elements of social history, literary history, and music and art history. Texts include representations of courtesans, such as the notorious dialogues of Pietro Aretino, and writings by courtesan poets, such as Tullia d’Aragona and Veronica Franco.
Love and War in Renaissance Italy: Chivalric Romance and Epic (ITAL-UA 145)
Offered every two to three years. Cox. 4 points. Study of Lodovico Ariosto’s Orlando furioso (1532) and Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata (1581) in their historical context and in relation to the rich literary traditions of romance and epic that converge in them. Thematic focuses include the construction of gender and the representation of religious and racial “otherness.”
Machiavelli (ITAL-UA 147)
Identical to MEDI-UA 147 and HIST-UA 123. Offered every other year. Albertini. 4 points.The inventor of modern political science, Niccolo Machiavelli is one of the most original thinkers in the history of Western civilization. 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.
Giordano Bruno and the Art of Memory (ITAL-UA 148)
Identical to HIST-UA 126 and MEDI-UA 148. Offered every two to three years. Cipani. 4 points. 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.
Visual Languages of the Renaissance: Emblems, Dreams, Hieroglyphs (ITAL UA 150)
Offered every two to three years. Cipani. 4 points. Examines the Reniassance convictions 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. Introduction to emblem books, dream books and dream-centered works, hieroglyphic inventions and studies, collections of proverbs, iconology manuals, and early modern and recent theory of emblems. Concludes with a survey of corporate logos and Russian criminal tattoos.
Visual Poetry (ITAL-UA 152)
Offered every other year. Cipani. 4 points. 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 (Futurism, “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 (all text in English translations) 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 engaged as a reader and as a viewer at the same time?
Francesco Petrarca Rime (ITAL-UA 155)
Identical to MEDIA-UA 322. Offered every two to three years. Ardizzone. 4 points. Petrarch is one of the greatest Italian and European poets. His achievements in lyric poetry has made him the most acclaimed and imitated poet of Europe during the Renaissance and a model for lyrical poetry for centuries. He has been one of the early humanists. The course proposes a reading of his, Rime and of other works. We focus on the Canzoniere as the work that re-invents the way to write poetry using classical and medieval sources. The course offers the student the opportunity to gain a perspective on classicality, on medieval tradition, and on the genesis of humanism.
Dante and His World (ITAL-UA 160)
Identical to MEDI-UA 801, ENGL-UA 143. Offered every two to three years. Ardizzone. Cornish. 4 points. Interdisciplinary introduction (in English) to late medieval culture. The literature, art, and music, as well as political, religious, and social developments of the time. Emphasizes the classical background of medieval culture and its transmission to the modern world. Readings include: selections from Dante, St. Augustine, Boethius, St. Francis , Brunetto Latini, Thomas Aquinas, and Boccaccio.
Italian Colonialism (ITAL-UA 164)
Identical to HIST-UA 204 and EURO-UA 161. Offered every two to three years. Ben-Ghiat. 4 points. From the late 19th century through decolonization. Uses colonial travel literature, films, novels, diaries, memoirs, and histories to address the meaning of colonialism within Italian history and culture, the specificities of Italian colonialism, and the legacies of colonialism in contemporary Italy.
Italian Fascism (ITAL-UA 165)
Offered every two to three years. Ben-Ghiat. 4 points. An interdisciplinary examination of the cultural production of the fascist period. Students examine the image that the fascist regime produced of itself through the study of popular novels, architecture, film, and political speeches.
Contemporary Italy (ITAL-UA 166)
Identical to EURO-UA 164. Offered every two to three years. Albertini, Ben-Ghiat. 4 points. The political, cultural, economic, and social history of Italy since World War II. Topics: the transition to democracy, the Cold War, 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 political parties.
Modern Italy (ITAL-UA 168)
Identical to EURO-UA 163, HIST-UA 168. Offered every two to three years. Ben-Ghiat, Merjian. 4 points. A survey of Italian history from unification to the present. Examines the political, social, and cultural history of liberalism, fascism, World War II, Christian Democracy, and communism; the political crisis of the early 1990s; and the rise of new regional and rightist parties.
Topics in Renaissance Culture (ITAL-UA 172)
ffered every semester. 4 points. Topics vary.
Topics in Italian Culture (ITAL-UA 173)
Offered every semester. 4 points. Topics vary.
Italian Films, Italian Histories I (ITAL-UA 174)
Identical to DRLIT-UA 503. May be taken independently of Italian Films, Italian Histories II. Offered every two to three years. Albertini. 4 points. Studies representations of Italian history from ancient Rome to the Risorgimento through the medium of film. The use of filmic history as a means of forging national identity.
Italian Films, Italian Histories II (ITAL-UA 175)
Identical to DRLIT-UA 506 and HIST-UA 176. May be taken independently of Italian Films, Italian Histories I. Offered every two to three years. Ben-Ghiat. 4 points. Studies representations of Italian history from the unification of Italy to the present through the medium of film. Explores the possibilities and limitations of feature films for the representation of history and asks: what happens when history becomes cinema and when cinema takes on history?
Language, Culture, and Identity in Italy (ITAL UA 260)
Identical to COLIT-UA 801, EURO-UA 200, and LING-UA 32. Offered every two to three years. Cipani. 2 points.
What we call the Italian language today—the Italian of newspapers and television, of Italian language tuition, of street signs, of the Italian parliament—is only one variant among many languages spoken within the Italian peninsula throughout its history. Examines how local dialects and regional variants of Italian continue to have a significant cultural role in literature, music, and cinema. Taught in English.
Violence and Memory in Contemporary Italy (ITAL UA 265)
Offered every two to three years. Forgacs. 4 points. 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. They have also been open to conflicting interpretations. Examines case studies where violence has given rise to intense controversy and debate 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.
Dante’s Divine Comedy in Context (ITAL-UA 269)
Identical to MEDI-UA 269 when taught in English. Offered every two years. Ardizzone. 4 points. 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 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 a context that considers the cultural tradition Dante was channelling and interpreting.
Dante’s Divine Comedy (ITAL-UA 270)
Identical to MEDI-UA 271, COLIT-UA 270, and ENGL-UA 142 when taught in English. Offered every two to three years. Ardizzone, Cornish. 4 points. 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.
Boccaccio’s Decameron (ITAL-UA 271)
Identical to MEDI-UA 271 when taught in English. Offered every two to three years. Ardizzone. 4 points. A study of Boccaccio’s Decameron with particular emphasis on themes, conceptual innovations, and influences on French and English literatures.
Pirandello and the Contemporary Theatre (ITAL-UA 274)
Identical to DRLIT-UA 280 when taught in English. Offered every two to three years. 4 points. 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.
Modern and Contemporary Italian Narrative (ITAL-UA 275) Offered every two to three years. 4 points. Follows the development of Italian narrative from Manzoni and Verga to present-day trends in Italian prose. Emphasizes works of Tabucchi, Maraini, Pasolini, Morante, and Calvino.
From the Table to the Page (ITAL UA 280)
Offered periodically. Falkoff. 4 points. “What is the glory of Dante compared to spaghetti?” Italian journalist Giuseppe Prezzolini famously asks in his 1954 history of pasta. We rephrase the question as: “What is the glory of spaghetti compared to its representation in literature and film?” Study of novels, novelle, memoirs, cookbooks, and manifestos from the late nineteenth century to the present. Examines what ideological work is performed by such literary gastronomy, and how it contributes to the production of national, regional, and local identities, as well as to socioeconomic differences.
Italian Cinema and Literature (ITAL-UA 282)
Identical to DRLIT-UA 505. Offered every two to three years. Albertini. 4 points. Studies the relationship between Italian literature and post-World War II cinema, including the poetics and politics of the process of cinematic adaptation. Among the authors and directors examined are Lampedusa, Bassani, Sciascia, Visconti, Moravia, De Cespedes, DeSica, and Rosi.
Other Worlds: Traveling the Italian Way (ITAL-UA 283)
Offered every two to three years. 4 points. Taught in English. Focuses on the representation of travel experience in modern Italian literature and related media, especially 20th century cinema, modernist art, and underground comics. Spatial journeys abroad and in-country, as well as metaphorical intellectual, political, and spiritual travels.
Topics in Italian Literature (ITAL-UA 285)
Offered every two to three years. 4 points. Topics vary.
Sounds of Italy 1920-1070 (ITAL-UA 310)
Offered every 2 years. Cipani. 4 points. 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. We will examine sound in a range of manifestations and contexts — propaganda, magic-religious rituals, oral poetry, folklore, commercial sound design, soundtracks, etc. 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; Fascist sound politics; prison songs; the survival of (largely non-textual) oral-aural art forms
Italy in the Anthropocene (ITAL-UA 325)
Offered every two years. Falkoff. 4 points. Italy is known as the cradle of humanism and home to crowning human achievements in the fine arts. It is also a place where the transience of these achievements is always on display—in the ruins of ancient Rome or the plaster molds of those buried alive at Pompeii, and in more recent wreckage caused by war, earthquakes, floods, and industrial accidents. Such reminders of transience gain urgency in the “Anthropocene,” a recently-coined term used to name the geological age that begins with the industrial revolution and is characterized by the irreversible impact of humans on the planet. This course considers ideas of transience and durability in Italian literary and cultural history, as well as theories of eco-criticism, post-humanism, new materialism, and discard studies.
From Polenta to Marinara: History of Italian Food (ITAL-UA 400)
Identical to Food-UE 1052. Scarcella-Perino. 4 points. In this course we will cover the Italian varieties of 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, the relationship between Italian Futurism and food. The second part of the course will introduce students to the regional varieties of Italian food. 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.
La bella figura: Self & National Identity in Italian Fashion (ITAL-UA 401)
Offered every one to two years. Bresciani. 4 points. If, in the collective imaginary, fashion is linked to glamour, style, and aesthetics, than 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 19th and 20th centuries, concluding with a close look at contemporary fashion as a creative force of socio-cultural change.
Topics in Italian Music, Art & Performance (ITAL-UA 700)
Offered periodically. 4 points. Explores specific topics related to Italian art, theater, and music through sociological cultural, economic, and political lens. Themes, which vary from semester to semester, can include opera, politics, societal class, art history, and music from a wide variety of periods.
Italian American Life in Literature (ITAL-UA 724)
Identical to ENGL-UA 724. Offered every spring. Hendin. 4 points. 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.
Topics in Renaissance Literature (ITAL-UA 760)
Offered every two to three years. 4 points. Topics vary.
The Sicilian Novel (ITAL-UA 862)
Offered every two to three years. Tylus. 4 points. Writers of the 19th and 20th centuries, with particular attention to Sicily’s distinct literature and culture. Authors may include Verga, Pirandello, De Roberto, Lampedusa, Sciascia, Mario Puzo, Andrea Camilleri, Dacia Maraini, Elio Vittorini, and Vincenzo Consolo; films may include Cinema paradiso, La terra trema, Il Gattopardo, The Godfather, and Salvatore Giuliano.
Topics in Italian American Culture (ITAL-UA 861)
Offered every two years. 4 points. Topics vary.
Internship Study (ITAL-UA 980, 981)
Prerequisite: permission of the department. Does not count toward the major or minor. Offered every semester. 2 or 4 points per term. Working closely with a sponsor and a faculty adviser, students may intern in such diverse areas as international trade, banking, publishing, community organizations, and television and radio programs. Interested students must apply to the department ahead of time.