Taught in English, this course is an interdisciplinary introduction to early modern Italian culture, focusing on some of its most significant authors, such as Machiavelli, Guicciardini, Castiglione, Ariosto, and Tasso. A relevant part of the course will be devoted to women’s voices and artistry and their contributions to the shaping of this cultural tradition, against the pressures of dominant social codes. We will therefore discuss also works by Cereta, Fedele, Franco, Anguissola, Fontana, and Gentileschi, among others. We will also examine the impact of different social and cultural structures on this creative production, by looking into the dynamics of courtly life and republican institutions. Drawing on literary texts in prose and verse and on visual artifacts, we will examine some of the key cultural, social, and political features of this foundational period of Western culture. No knowledge of Italian is required.
The course aims to introduce students to key cultural, social, and gender issues during the Early Modern period in Italy. Through selected readings in prose and verse, class discussions, and written assignments, the course is designed to foster the development of essential analytical and critical skills that students can apply to diverse historical periods and cultural frameworks.
Departmental Goal II: Cultural Proficiency.
This course satisfies the Core Curriculum Learning Goal: AH (o and p).
Area of Inquiry C: Arts and Humanities
Goals o and p:
o. Examine critically theoretical issues concerning the nature of reality, human experience, knowledge, value, and the cultural production related to the topics addressed.
p. Analyze arts and literatures in themselves and in relation to specific histories, values, languages, cultures, and technologies.
Digital copies of the texts will be made available on SAKAI.
The abilities defined in the learning goals will be assessed through oral and written activities.
Active class participation (10%); Students are expected to actively participate in class discussions.
One oral presentation (10%); Students are required to give a 10-minute presentation on a topic discussed with the instructor. Their performance will be evaluated according to their effectiveness in communicating as well as the thoroughness of their critical analysis of the subject.
Two 3-page papers (25%); Students are required to analyze a literary or visual text, discussing at least two sources linked to their topic. They are expected to demonstrate the ability to address and communicate complex ideas in standard written English.
Midterm exam (25%); The exam comprises two essay questions on the topics discussed in the first part of the course. It assesses each student’s ability to engage critically with the issues tackled in the course in relation to their historical, social, and cultural background as well as with the theoretical concepts expounded in the course.
Final exam (30%); The exam comprises two essay questions on the topics discussed after the Midterm. It assesses each student’s ability to engage critically with the issues tackled in the course in relation to their historical, social, and cultural background as well as with the theoretical concepts expounded in the course.