The Italian Renaissance was a period of revolutionary discoveries and exceptional artistic achievements that laid the foundation of Western secular culture. The purpose of this course is twofold. It will provide students with a fundamental knowledge of the cultural dynamics of Renaissance Italy through careful reading and discussion of works by Machiavelli, Castiglione, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Veronica Franco, and Artemisia Gentileschi. The course engages students, at the same time, in analyzing the hold Renaissance culture has placed in the popular imagination in the last half-century. To assess the resonance of Renaissance cultural models, students will explore cinema, graphic novels, advertising, and the performing arts. Films under discussion will include the historical The Profession of Arms (2001), the biographical dramas Artemisia (1997) and Dangerous Beauty (1998), and clips from the commercial blockbusters A Bronx Tale (1993), Hannibal (2001), and The Da Vinci Code (2006).
Learning Outcome Goals:
The course intends to provide students with a broad knowledge of key cultural, social, and gender issues during the Italian Renaissance through the lens of contemporary evocations of the period. Through in-depth reading of primary texts and critical essays, class discussions, and written assignments, students will develop essential analytical and critical skills applicable to diverse historical periods and cultural frameworks.
Departmental Goals 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.
Digital copies 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 4-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 in standard written Italian.
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 exam. It assesses each student’s progress in the 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.