Spring 2021

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

IT 131 Introduction to Italian American Culture

Course Description: Between 1870 and 1920, more than five million Italians immigrated to the United States. Many returned to Italy, but those who remained, later immigrants, and their descendants left an indelible mark on the American cultural, political, and artistic landscape. Through a study of historical, sociological, literary, and cinematic texts, students will consider, among other topics: the conditions in Italy that generated this emigration, daily life in the ethnic neighborhoods, the roles of labor conditions, radical politics, and Catholicism in the lives of Italian Americans, forms and consequences of discrimination from lynching to media stereotypes, the intersections of gender and ethnicity over time, and the ways in which Italian American identity has been represented in American culture both as profoundly “other” and as emblematically “American.” 

IT 301 – Pathways to Fluency (3 credits)

Course Description: For majors, minors, and others with adequate preparation; deepening of grammatical skills, integrated conversation, composition, and reading. For majors, minors, and others with adequate preparation, students in this course review grammatical skills through conversation, class debates, reading, and writing assignments based on contemporary cultural materials (web sites, music lyrics, newspaper and magazine articles, etc.). Evaluation methods include class participation, in-class activities (both oral and written), composition, and exams.
Offered: Every Semester
Prerequisite: IT 3
Sample Syllabus

IT 330W Greatest Books of Italian Literature (MWF 11:15 a.m.–12:05 p.m.)

Course Description: IT 330W is a survey of the greatest literary works of Italian literature (prose, poetry, drama). Course objectives are to read, discuss, and better understand the enduring relevance of Italy’s literary masterpieces, while strengthening linguistic skills in writing (especially), as well as reading, speaking, and listening. Course is appropriate for students who have successfully completed an intermediate Italian course (such as IT 003 or 020) and counts toward the Italian major (all tracks) and minor. Successful completion of this course may permit further Italian study at the 400-level. The course will be taught in Italian. 

IT 415 Dante (T/TH 1:35 p.m.–2:50 p.m.)

Course Description: As stated by Italo Calvino, “a classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.” The Divine Comedy, Dante’s masterpiece, continues to speak to us even seven centuries after its composition. In this course, we will read Dante’s poem focusing on its famous characters—Francesca da Rimini, Pier delle Vigne, Ulisse, il conte Ugolino, Manfredi, Guido Gunizzelli, Virgilio, Beatrice—and we will explore different topics: love, power, and literature, among others. We will also investigate the relationships between the concepts of metaphor and metamorphosis, with the goal of illuminating Dante’s unique and complex poetics. In our journey from Hell to Heaven, we will place the Divine Comedy in the cultural, historical, and literary context in which it was conceived (Italy in the Middle Ages), without forgetting its enduring influence today, even in our pop culture, as demonstrated by contemporary books (Dan Brown’s Inferno), movies (Seven, Inferno), music bands (The Divine Comedy), and videogames (Dante’s Inferno). The course will be taught in Italian. 

  • Professor Michele Rossi
  • In Italian
  • All IT major options and the minor; B.A. Humanities
  • Prerequisite: Any 300-level IT course

IT 475 Modern Italian Literature and Film (T/Th 10:35–11:50 a.m.)

Course Description: In IT 475, Modern Italian Literature and Film, students will engage with seminal works of Italian film and literature to consider pivotal transformations in Italian culture from post-World War II to contemporary times. Beginning with neorealist cinema that depicts the economic, political, and societal devastation of post-war Italy, students will examine artistic representations of the leading cultural revolutions in the Bel Paese up to the current moment: the transformation from a fascist to a Republic form of government, from an agricultural to an industrial society during the “economic miracle” of the 1950s and 1960s, evolving rights for women and the LGBTQ community, and policies/politics related to immigration and citizenship law. We will read a novel in Italian, L’amica geniale (My Brilliant Friend), written by a mysterious author who refuses to reveal her identity, to consider the divergent paths of two best friends in post-war Italy and the limited possibilities available to women (and the poor) at the time. Neorealist films included in the program are Roberto Rossellini’s masterpiece, Roma città aperta, which portrays a devastated Rome during fascist occupation and the partisan resistance movement, followed by Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Mamma Roma, the story of a single-mom prostitute who attempts to choose a different path for her and her son with disastrous results. An ambiguous portrait of the miracolo economico and its relation to internal migration in the 1950s and 1960s is painted by the film, Rocco e i suoi fratelli. Lastly, Ferzan Özpetek’s cinema will provide a window into still evolving human justice issues for LGBTQ individuals in Italy. Students will gain skills in analytical approaches to literary and cinematic texts and advance their ability to discuss and write about cultural, theoretical, and historical aspects of these works. 

IT 497 From Page to Screen: Rethinking Italian Adaptation (Tu/Th 12:05–1:20 p.m.)

Course Description: From Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blowup, to Matteo Garrone’s A Tale of Tales, to the television show Gomorrah, adaptations of literary and nonfiction texts continue to spread throughout Italian media. If these adaptations are created in a culture characterized by a reverence toward tradition and an obsession with authenticity, what might be gained by reversing the hierarchy between the so-called source text and these visual reworkings? In other words, what might a film do better than a written text? How can adaptations spark fresh interpretations of the adapted materials? Should a film always be faithful to the book, or do the most effective adaptations depart from the text? In order to answer these questions, we will examine a wide range of film (and television) adaptations and their adapted texts in the light of contemporary adaptation theory. Through guided writings and class discussions, we will seek to challenge our preconceptions about adaptation (i.e. “Books are always better than films”), analyze how these visual reworkings can modify our understanding of the adapted texts, and 

  • Professor Mike Edwards
  • In English
  • All IT major options and the minor; BA Humanities 
  • Prerequisite: Fifth Semester Standing