Course description:

This 1.5-credit course, taught in English, offers students a cultural tour of Italy, focusing on some of its most fascinating cities (Naples, Rome, Urbino, Florence, and Venice), seen from a variety of perspectives and a wide spectrum of media (literary texts, photographs, visual artworks, documentaries, and films). We will address select texts spanning from the Middle Ages to today, identifying traces of Italian identity. We will touch upon crucial paradigm shifts and cultural phenomena, such as the Renaissance and modernity. In order to explore these complex dynamics we will discuss works by foreign visitors as well as Italian masterpieces (by Dante, Boccaccio, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Cellini, etc.). The creations of these authors and artists, striving toward aesthetic excellence, illustrate the development of a rich cultural heritage, imbued with a strong sense of historical continuity.

Learning Goal:
Italian Department Goal II. Cultural Proficiency

The course aims to provide students with an overview of key historical and aesthetic issues related to Italian culture in the 18th-20th centuries. Through readings, screenings, class discussions, and written assignments, the course is designed to foster the development of analytical and critical skills that students can apply to diverse cultural traditions. 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.

Required Readings:

A Reader will be made available by the instructor and posted 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 (20%); Students are expected to actively participate in class discussions.

One oral presentation (30%); 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 (50%); 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.