Course description: Through a series of multimedia lectures and readings, students are introduced to the history and culture of Italy from antiquity to the early modern period. Topics include the emergence of the Italian language and literature, medieval and Renaissance art, sacred and secular music, politics and political theory, and the Italian contribution to the Age of Discovery. Taught in English. No knowledge of Italian is required.

Instructor’s goals: The purpose of this course is to teach students about the geography, history, and culture of Italy as it evolved from the later Middle Ages into the Renaissance. Students will gain an ability to engage with Italian cultural phenomena, and will be able to demonstrate a knowledge of Italian history and culture. They will also be able to situate the arts, literature, and music of Italy in their historical context.

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.

Academic Integrity Policy

Violations of academic integrity policy will result in disciplinary measures. Violations include: cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, denying others access to information or material, and facilitating violations of academic integrity.

Course Requirements:

All students must pass non-credit map quiz on the regions and principal cities of Italy. Grades are based on two hourly exams (50% each), one at mid-term and the other at term’s end. Attendance: more than three unexcused absences will reduce the student’s final grade.

Course materials (available online): Find Reserves Search for Instructor: “Marsh”

1. Geography and languages of Italy. Greek and Roman civilization

2. The Middle Ages: Ascendant papacy vs. rising communes

3. Italian art and literature to Giotto and St. Francis

4. Dante, Divine Comedy; Reading: Inferno 1-6, 26, 32-34

5. Petrarch and Boccaccio; Readings: Canzoniere, selections; Decameron, Day 4: Introduction

6. The early Quattrocento: Humanism in the arts and learning

7. The late Quattrocento: Florence under Lorenzo de' Medici

8. High Renaissance history and literature: Machiavelli; Reading: Prince 1-3, 17-18, 24

9. Courtiers and Courtesans: The Role of Women

10. High Renaissance art: Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael

11. Reformation, Counter-Reformation, and Beyond

12. The Age of Discovery: Exploration and exploitation

13. The rise of Baroque civilization: Music and theater

14. Italian influences in England: literature and vocabulary