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Fall 2020

Courses other than the language sequence. All courses are 3 credits.

IT 130 Italian Culture and Civilization 

Course Description: Italian Culture and Civilization examines Italian life from antiquity to the present. The course traces, among other topics, the importance of the Roman Empire, the Catholic Church, the Renaissance, Italian Unification, Fascism, and contemporary immigration to Italy. Students will analyze primary texts—literature, visual art, essays and speeches, music, dramatic works, and film—to become familiar with significant aspects of Italian thought and culture. Consideration will be given to the various representative Italians such as Dante Alighieri, Leonardo Da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli, Galileo Galilei, and Vittorio De Sica; the course will include lesser-known figures such as Igiaba Scego and Amara Lakhous, in order to provide students with a wide range of voices that make up the mosaic of Italian culture. 

IT 140 Italian Language and Culture for Study Abroad (MWF 11:15 a.m.-12:05 p.m.)

Course Description: Italy is the most popular study abroad destination among University Park students. This course is designed to make students more capable abroad, address cultural shock and prepare them to interact with Italian culture and confront challenges, enriching and maximizing the rewards of their experience in Italy. Course content is split equally between basic language instruction from a practical perspective and discussing key cultural concepts important for success abroad. 

  • Professor Jason Laine 
  • In English
  • IL, GH
  • No prerequisite. No knowledge of the Italian language is expected.

IT 301 Pathways to Fluency (MWF 12:20–1:10 p.m.) 

Course Description: This course serves as a bridge between the Italian language sequence and higher-level literature and culture courses taught in Italian. It aims at improving students' language skills relevant to a variety of communicative settings. Students will expand grammatical knowledge and enrich vocabulary, build conversational skills and develop written fluency. Grammar review will be contextualized in this course, as students will continue to learn about Italian culture, exploring Italy’s literature, media, recent history, and popular culture. At the end of the semester, students will gain a wider and more critical knowledge of Italian culture and society through exposure to and discussion of a variety of genres and media 

IT 310 Applied Advanced Conversation (MWF 2:30–3:20 p.m.)

Course Description: Focus on intensive oral communication practice, designed to provide students pursing upper-level course work in Italian an opportunity to develop advanced intermediate speaking skills. Class time is dedicated to oral practice in small and large group discussions. 

IT 320 Introduction to Italian Culture (MWF 11:15 a.m.–12:05 p.m.)

Course Description: What is the authentic meaning of the term “culture”? And what is “Italian culture”? The course will start discussing these questions and challenging some stereotypes usually associated with Italy. The focus will then switch on the main aspects that characterize la cultura italiana, with special emphasis on current sociopolitical issues, such as immigration, racism, integration, new citizenships (ius soli law), gay rights (“le unioni civili”), and feminism. By the end of the course students will acquire a richer and refined understanding of the contemporary Italian culture, with a historical and global perspective. 

IT 450 Nineteenth-Century Literature (Tu/Th 12:05–1:20 p.m.)

Course Description: Throughout much of the nineteenth century, Italy was divided and under foreign rule. In this period, writers explored questions about humanity, art, history, and nature that were conditioned by but also transcended this political context. Authors speculated on these issues under the threat of censorship and with a deep awareness of their nation’s weakness. The poetry, operas, short stories, novels, and diaries of this tumultuous century confront the clash of passion and power, of nature and law, of individual and society, at times using sexual relationships as allegories for political questions. We consider a range of texts to explore the nexus between literature and politics. 

IT/WMST 480 Italian Women Writers  (Tu/Th 3:05–4:20 p.m.)

Course Description: Italian women have often been stereotyped as the “Mamma” or the “Nonna” who cooks, prays, and idolizes her sons. Such images do not accommodate the variety of experiences and contributions of Italian women throughout history. This seminar explores fictional texts written by women during the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries, including autobiographies, historical novels, short stories, poetry, theater, and realist novels. We read about a Baroque painter fighting for recognition, a Sicilian duchess searching for the cause of her deafness, a Sardinian peasant tormented by visions of the devil, and a writer struggling to escape physical abuse, among others. We consider the political and cultural developments in Italy in these centuries, with an emphasis on issues of relevance to women and their changing legal, economic, and social roles. 

  • Professor Maria Truglio
  • In English
  • All IT major options and the minor
  • Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of instructor

Course Description: To consider and respond to these questions, students will engage with historical, literary, and cinematic representations of Italian colonialism to interrogate how empire building was essential to founding the Italian nation, thus, italianità/Italian identity itself. Students will then consider how Italy’s colonial past continues to undergird notions of italianità in contemporary Italy by examining Italian citizenship law, political movements, and media campaigns for/against ius soli [citizenship by birthplace] and ius culturae [citizenship by culture/education]. Students will read Italian migration literature, watch film and documentaries, listen to rap music. and other artistic projects produced by first- and second-generation Black/multi-ethnic Italians to interrogate identity politics and its intersection with race in Italy today: that is, how current immigration policies, citizenship law, cultural beliefs, and politics reflect enduring ethnic- and geographically-based notions of belonging constructed during the colonial era. Lastly, the course affords the 2 possibility for students to consider the implications for second- and third-generation Italians who are denied cultural and political citizenship in their own homeland, as well as how literature, film, and social media have been adopted as a political instrument to polemicize fabricated archetypes of ethnically homogeneous italianità, but also to afford positive representation for Black or brown Italians with complex ethnic and national origins.