How does the practice of walking affect our perception of the environment around us and our sense of ‘being in the world’? The course, taught in English, will address the representation of walking in European culture in the 19th-21st centuries. We will read and analyze literary texts by E.A. Poe, Baudelaire, Serao, Bashkirtseff, Mansfield, Woolf, Calvino, and Ortese, and critical essays by Simmel, Benjamin, de Certeau, and Solnit. We will also watch and discuss Italian films (most notably, the recent The Great Beauty, which won the Academy Award as best foreign movie in 2014), along with clips from documentaries, and captivating movies like Into the Wild (just to take a break from city life). We will also examine visual artworks that cast new light on walking. Finally, we will engage in digital mapping, retracing the steps of our fictional characters. No knowledge of Italian is required.
The course aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of key cultural, social, and gender issues of Western culture in the 19th-21st centuries. Through readings, screenings, 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 national literary traditions, historical periods, and cultural frameworks. Students will demonstrate the ability to express and communicate effectively complex ideas concerning the historical nature of cultural production in standard written and oral English.
Departmental Goals II and III: Cultural Proficiency and Professional Preparation.
Areas 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 copes of the readings will be made available on SAKAI.
Course Requirements and Grade Distribution:
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.
One five-page paper (25%); Students are required to analyze a literary or visual text, discussing at least three sources linked to their topic. They are expected to demonstrate the ability to address and communicate complex ideas.
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 not addressed in 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.