How does literature justify, survive, and fight the terrors of a totalitarian regime? In our readings of twentieth-century literary and visual responses to Italian Fascism, we will examine the fascination with the new 'superman' and with technology, the myth of empire building, the poetry of dissidents, the testimony of Jewish writers, and the narratives of male and female resistance fighters. Reading selections from: D'Annunzio, Marinetti, Mussolini, Primo and Carlo Levi, Montale, Bassani, Tedeschi, Malaparte, and Viganò. We will also analyze different interpretations of Fascism, the Resistance, and the Holocaust through films and documentaries: A. J. P. Taylor, Mussolini; Pastrone, Cabiria; Bertolucci, The Conformist; Rosi, Christ Stopped at Eboli; Rossellini, Paisà; and John Davis, Italian Fascism: Interview with Denis Mack Smith. Taught in English, No knowledge of Italian is required.
This course provides students with the skills necessary to critically engage with Italian historical and cultural phenomena related to the Fascist Regime, from the beginning to the end of the 20th century. Students will demonstrate the ability to critically analyze cultural products and to examine the ways in which distinctive types of media and genres shape different meanings in relation to their historically and culturally specific context.
Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively the results of their analysis, both in oral and in written form, and to use those results to construct new arguments and formulate new questions on topics concerning Italian culture.
Departmental Goal II and III: Cultural Proficiency and Professional Preparation.
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.
Texts available on sakai: https://sakai.rutgers.edu/portal
Alexander De Grand, Italian Fascism, University of Nebraska Press, 2000 (ISBN # 0-8032-6622-7), available at the Rutgers Bookstore,One Penn Plaza.
Carlo Levi, Christ Stopped at Eboli, NY: Farrar, Straus and Co., 1974(ISBN # 0-374-50316-8), available at the Rutgers Bookstore,One Penn Plaza.
Renata Viganò, Partisan Wedding, University of Missouri Press, 1999(ISBN # 0-8262-1228-X), available at the Rutgers Bookstore,One Penn Plaza.
Course Requirements and Grade distribution:
The abilities specified in the learning goals will be assessed through oral and written activities.
Participation, 20%. Active participation in class discussion based on the preparation of three to five questions assigned in advance for each class.
Presentation, 10%. An individual presentation (10-15 minutes) addressing one of the questions assigned for the day. Students will be evaluated according to the degree of effectiveness of communication as well as the complexity and depth of their textual and critical analysis of the topic chosen.
Mid-term examination, 25%. Based on lectures and readings, includes identifications and one essay question. The identifications and the essay are aimed at assessing the student’s ability to relate art and literature to their historical and cultural background as well as to theoretical concepts that are specific to the area of inquiry of the course.
Essay, 20% (5-7 pages): Students are required to analyze at least one text or film and examine critically at least two other sources concerning their topic. They should demonstrate the ability synthesize and communicate effectively complex ideas in standard written English.
Final exam, 25%. Based on lectures and readings, includes identifications and one essay question. The final exam assesses the student’s progress in the abilities to relate art and literature both to their historical and cultural background as well as to theoretical concepts that are specific to the course.