Italian Studies (2020 - 2022)
Fulfillment of the College Core Curriculum Language Requirement
The language requirement in Italian may be fulfilled either by two 6-point intensive courses (ITAL-UA 10 and ITAL-UA 20) for a total of 12 points, or by the extensive sequence of four 4-point courses (ITAL-UA 1, ITAL-UA 2, ITAL-UA 11, and ITAL-UA 12) for a total of 16 points. A student may also follow a plan of study combining two 4-point courses with one 6-point course (ITAL-UA 1, ITAL-UA 2, and ITAL-UA 20; or ITAL-UA 10, ITAL-UA 11, and ITAL-UA 12) for a total of 14 points. All students planning to study in Florence or continue their study of Italian beyond the Core requirement are strongly advised to take ITAL-UA 10 and ITAL-UA 20, since this permits completion of the Core language requirement in two semesters.
Introductory Language Courses
Elementary Italian I
ITAL-UA 1 Open to students with no previous training in Italian and to others on assignment by placement test. Not equivalent to Intensive Elementary Italian (ITAL-UA 10). Only by combining ITAL-UA 1 with ITAL-UA 2 can a student complete the equivalent of ITAL-UA 10 and then continue on to the intermediate level. Offered every semester. 4 points.
Elementary Italian II
ITAL-UA 2 Prerequisite: Elementary Italian I (ITAL-UA 1) or assignment by placement test. To continue on to the intermediate level, a student must complete both ITAL-UA 1 and ITAL-UA 2. This sequence is equivalent to ITAL-UA 10. Offered every semester. 4 points.
Intensive Elementary Italian
ITAL-UA 10 Open to students with no previous training in Italian and to others on assignment by placement test. Completes the equivalent of Elementary Italian I and II in one semester. Offered every semester. 6 points.
Intermediate Italian I
ITAL-UA 11 Prerequisite: Intensive Elementary Italian (ITAL-UA 10), or Elementary Italian II (ITAL-UA 2), or assignment by placement test. Not equivalent to Intensive Intermediate Italian (ITAL-UA 20). Only by combining ITAL-UA 11 with ITAL-UA 12 can a student complete the equivalent of ITAL-UA 20 and then continue on to the postintermediate level. Offered every semester. 4 points.
Intermediate Italian II
ITAL-UA 12 Prerequisite: Intermediate Italian I (ITAL-UA 11) or assignment by placement test. Fulfills Core language requirement. To fulfill Core requirements and continue on to the post-intermediate level, a student must complete both ITAL-UA 11 and ITAL-UA 12. This sequence is equivalent to ITAL-UA 20. Offered every semester. 4 points.
Intensive Intermediate Italian
ITAL-UA 20 Prerequisite: Intensive Elementary Italian (ITAL-UA 10), or Elementary Italian II (ITAL-UA 2), or assignment by placement test. Completes the equivalent of Intermediate Italian I and II in one semester. Fulfills Core language requirement. Offered every semester. 6 points.
Advanced Language Courses
Advanced Review of Modern Italian
ITAL-UA 30 Prerequisite: Intermediate Italian II (ITAL-UA 12) or Intensive Intermediate Italian (ITAL-UA 20), or assignment by placement test, or permission of the instructor. Serves as prerequisite for other advanced courses in language, literature, and culture and society. Offered every semester. 4 points.
Systematizes and reinforces language skills through an intensive review of grammar and composition, lexical enrichment, improvement of speaking ability, and selected readings from contemporary Italian literature.
Conversations in Italian
ITAL-UA 101 Prerequisite: Advanced Review of Modern Italian (ITAL-UA 30) or permission of the instructor. Offered every fall. 4 points.
Through discussions, oral reports, and readings, students improve pronunciation, become familiar with idiomatic expressions, and develop vocabulary that allows them to communicate with others on topics such as family and student life, politics, the arts, food, and fashion. Useful for students who are planning to study or travel abroad.
Creative Writing in Italian
ITAL-UA 103 Prerequisite: Advanced Review of Modern Italian (ITAL-UA 30) or permission of the instructor. Offered every one to two years. 4 points.
Students are encouraged to rewrite, parody, and shift genres, with the aim of improving their writing and reading techniques.
ITAL-UA 105 Prerequisite: Advanced Review of Modern Italian (ITAL-UA 30) or permission of the instructor. Offered every one to two years. 4 points.
The approach is threefold: (1) intensive study of the syntactical structures of Italian; (2) reading and analysis of contemporary texts from various sources, such as newspapers, magazines, and literary works; and (3) frequent writing of short compositions stressing grammatical and syntactical accuracy, as well as variety of vocabulary.
Italian through Cinema
ITAL-UA 107 Prerequisite: Advanced Review of Modern Italian (ITAL-UA 30) or permission of the instructor. Offered every spring. 4 points.
Aims to enrich knowledge of Italian language, culture, and society through screening and discussion of contemporary Italian cinema and detailed analysis of film scripts. Students are encouraged to use different idiomatic expressions and recognize regional linguistic variety. Special emphasis on developing a more extensive vocabulary and an expressive range suited to discussion of complex issues and their representation.
Italian through Opera
ITAL-UA 108 Identical to DRLIT-UA 820. Prerequisite: Advanced Review of Modern Italian (ITAL-UA 30) or permission of the instructor. Offered every spring. Scarcella-Perino. 4 points.
Designed to help students increase their understanding of the Italian language through exposure to famous Italian operas. Reading of librettos and listening to arias supplemented with critical materials on reception and on current performances. Operatic plots and settings are linked thematically to present day issues, leading to discussion of contemporary social and cultural perspectives.
ITAL-UA 110 Prerequisites: Advanced Review of Modern Italian (ITAL-UA 30) or permission of the department. Offered every spring. Marchelli. 4 points.
Stresses the acquisition of vocabulary and complex idiomatic structures necessary for effective reading comprehension and written expression. Analysis of dialogue, style, and linguistic choices of each author, so as to explore the development of the written language, slang, regional expressions, and linguistic differences that have accompanied and defined the evolution of Italian over the past 20 years.
Literature Survey Courses
The prerequisite for the following courses is Advanced Review of Modern Italian (ITAL-UA 30) or permission of the instructor.
Readings in Medieval and Renaissance Literature
ITAL-UA 115 Identical to MEDI-UA 115. Offered every year. Ducci. 4 points.
Close reading of authors such as Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, Machiavelli, and Ariosto. Covers Italian literature from its origins to the 17th century.
Readings in Modern Italian Literature
ITAL-UA 116 Offered every year. Ducci. 4 points.
Close reading of authors such as Alfieri, Foscolo, Leopardi, Manzoni, Verga, D’Annunzio, Moravia, and Calvino. Covers Italian literature from the 18th century to the contemporary period.
Advanced Literature Courses
The prerequisite for the following courses, when taught in Italian, is Advanced Review of Modern Italian (ITAL-UA 30) or permission of the instructor. Either Readings in Medieval and Renaissance Literature (ITAL-UA 115) or Readings in Modern Italian Literature (ITAL-UA 116) is a recommended prerequisite. There are no prerequisites for courses taught in English.
Love and War in Renaissance Italy: Chivalric Romance and Epic
ITAL-UA 145 Offered every two to three years. Cox. 4 points.
Study of Lodovico Ariosto’s Orlando furioso (1532) and Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata (1581) in their historical context and in relation to the rich literary traditions of romance and epic that converge in them. Thematic focuses include the construction of gender and the representation of religious and racial “otherness.”
Dante’s Divine Comedy in Context
ITAL-UA 269 Identical to MEDI-UA 269 when taught in English. Offered every two years. Ardizzone. 4 points.
The Divine Comedy is traditionally judged to be one of the most important poems in Western culture. At the center of the poem is the human being, his condition in the afterlife and his punishment or reward. Taken literally, the theme is the state of souls after death. Allegorically, the true subject is the moral life. Considers the cultural and intellectual traditions that shaped Dante’s mind and his work.
Dante’s Divine Comedy
ITAL-UA 270 Identical to COLIT-UA 270, ENGL-UA 142, and MEDI-UA 271 when taught in English. Offered every fall. Ardizzone, Cornish. 4 points.
Students study The Divine Comedy both as a mirror of high medieval culture and as a unique text that breaks out of its cultural bounds. The entire poem is read, in addition to selections from the Vita Nuova and other complementary minor works.
ITAL-UA 271 Identical to MEDI-UA 271 when taught in English. Offered every two to three years. Ardizzone. 4 points.
A study of Boccaccio’s Decameron with particular emphasis on themes, conceptual innovations, and influences on French and English literatures.
Pirandello and the Contemporary Theatre
ITAL-UA 274 Identical to DRLIT-UA 280 when taught in English. Offered every two to three years. 4 points.
An introduction to Luigi Pirandello’s major plays as they relate to the foundation of contemporary theatre. Attention is also paid to grotesque and futurist drama. Works studied include Sei personaggio in cerca d’autore, Cosi è (se vi pare), and Enrico IV.
Modern and Contemporary Italian Narrative
ITAL-UA 275 Offered every two to three years. 4 points.
Follows the development of Italian narrative from Manzoni and Verga to present-day trends in Italian prose. Emphasizes works of Tabucchi, Maraini, Pasolini, Morante, and Calvino.
From the Table to the Page
ITAL UA 280 Offered periodically. Falkoff. 4 points.
“What is the glory of Dante compared to spaghetti?” Italian journalist Giuseppe Prezzolini famously asks in his 1954 history of pasta. We rephrase the question as: “What is the glory of spaghetti compared to its representation in literature and film?” Study of novels, novelle, memoirs, cookbooks, and manifestos from the late nineteenth century to the present. Examines what ideological work is performed by such literary gastronomy, and how it contributes to the production of national, regional, and local identities, as well as to socioeconomic differences.
Italian Cinema and Literature
ITAL-UA 282 Identical to DRLIT-UA 505. Offered every two to three years. Albertini. 4 points.
Studies the relationship between Italian literature and post-World War II cinema, including the poetics and politics of the process of cinematic adaptation. Among the authors and directors examined are Lampedusa, Bassani, Sciascia, Visconti, Moravia, De Cespedes, DeSica, and Rosi.
Topics in Italian Literature
ITAL-UA 285 Offered every one to two years. 4 points.
The Passions of Elena Ferrante
ITAL UA 300 Offered periodically. Falkoff. 4 points.
Close reading of novels, interviews, and essays by Ferrante. Engaging with Sianne Ngai, Elspeth Probyn, Lauren Berlant and others, we consider the political and aesthetic implications of ugly and opaque emotions like irritation, envy, disgust, and shame. We also study major influences, both writers Ferrante cites frequently in interviews—Adriana Cavarero, Carla Lonzi, Luisa Muraro, and Elsa Morante—as well as those she tends to refrain from naming—Christa Wolf and Ingeborg Bachmann.
Italian American Life in Literature
ITAL-UA 724 Identical to ENGL-UA 724. Offered every spring. Hendin. 4 points.
A study of the fiction and poetry through which Italian American writers have expressed their heritage, identity, and engagement in American life. From narratives of immigration to current work by “assimilated” writers, explores changing family relationships, sexual mores, and political and social concerns.
Topics in Renaissance Literature
ITAL-UA 760 Offered every two to three years. 4 points.
The Sicilian Novel
ITAL-UA 862 Offered every two to three years. 4 points.
Writers of the 19th and 20th centuries, with particular attention to Sicily’s distinct literature and culture. Authors may include Verga, Pirandello, De Roberto, Lampedusa, Sciascia, Mario Puzo, Andrea Camilleri, Dacia Maraini, Elio Vittorini, and Vincenzo Consolo; films may include Cinema paradiso, La terra trema, Il Gattopardo, The Godfather, and Salvatore Giuliano.
Culture and Society Courses
The prerequisite for the following courses, when taught in Italian, is Advanced Review of Modern Italian (ITAL-UA 30) or permission of the instructor. There are no prerequisites for courses taught in English.
ITAL-UA 121 Identical to HIST-UA 121 and MEDI-UA 121. Offered every two to three years. Appuhn. 4 points.
From its origins in the 14th century to its waning at the end of the 16th century. Focuses on developments in Italy, especially the development of republican city-states, the social basis for the explosion in artistic and intellectual production, and the emergence of new forms of political and scientific analysis.
The Italian Renaissance: A New Reading
ITAL-UA 130 Offered every one to two years. Cox. 4 points.
The Renaissance remains a time of remarkable innovation within artistic and intellectual culture. Italy, the original heartland of the Renaissance, was home to some of its most powerful figures, such as Leonardo and Michelangelo in art, Petrarch and Ariosto in literature, and Machiavelli in political thought. Examines literary, artistic, and intellectual history, material culture, cartography, science, technology, and the history of food and fashion.
The Courtesan in Italian Renaissance Society and Culture
ITAL-UA 142 Offered every two to three years. Cox. 4 points.
Examines the “honest courtesan” or cortigiana onestà. Contextualizes courtesans’ social position and cultural status, embracing elements of social history, literary history, and music and art history. Texts include representations of courtesans, such as the notorious dialogues of Pietro Aretino, and writings by courtesan poets, such as Tullia d’Aragona and Veronica Franco.
ITAL-UA 147 Identical to HIST-UA 123, MEDI-UA 147. Offered every other year. Albertini. 4 points.
The inventor of modern political science, Niccolò Machiavelli is one of the most original thinkers in the history of Western civilization. Machiavelli’s political, historical, and theatrical works are read in the context in which they were conceived—the much tormented and exciting Florence of the 15th and early 16th centuries, struggling between republican rule and the magnificent tyranny of the Medici family.
Giordano Bruno and the Art of Memory
ITAL-UA 148 Identical to HIST-UA 126 and MEDI-UA 148. Offered every two to three years. Cipani. 4 points.
Memory devices reached a peak of refinement during the Italian Renaissance; they aimed to organize knowledge and were intended as tools for creative output. Examines their impact on the literary production of the time, highlighting the interdependence between textual and visual codes. Focuses on the heretic philosopher and cosmologist Giordano Bruno, burned at the stake by the Roman Inquisition in 1600, who conceived his imposing mnemonic system as an inner mirror of the infinite universe.
Visual Languages of the Renaissance: Emblems, Dreams, Hieroglyphs
ITAL UA 150 Identical to MEDI-UA 760. Offered every two to three years. Cipani. 4 points.
Examines the Renaissance convictions that concepts could be systematically turned into images, and that such images could be organized into a visual language more profound and universal than discursive logic. Introduction to emblem books, dream books and dream-centered works, hieroglyphic inventions and studies, collections of proverbs, iconology manuals, and early modern and recent theory of emblems. Concludes with a survey of corporate logos and Russian criminal tattoos.
ITAL-UA 152 Offered every other year. Cipani. 4 points.
Literary artifacts (all in English translation) that are also visual compositions. Focuses on Italian 20th century experimental literary forms (Futurism, “poesia visiva,” concrete poetry), but students also explore a historical range of such textual-visual hybrids, from the classical world through the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque periods. Addresses theoretical issues raised by iconic texts: how do we read visual poetry? What does it mean to be engaged as a reader and as a viewer at the same time?
Francesco Petrarca’s Rime
ITAL-UA 155 Identical to MEDI-UA 322. Offered every two to three years. Ardizzone. 4 ponts.
The work (its themes and techniques) and the intellectual and cultural contexts of this early (14th century) humanist. Also considers his influence on the lyric poetry of future centuries, from the high Renaissance to the modern era.
Dante and His World
ITAL-UA 160 Identical to MEDI-UA 801, ENGL-UA 143. Offered every two to three years. Ardizzone. 4 points.
Interdisciplinary introduction (in English) to late medieval culture. The literature, art, and music, as well as political, religious, and social developments of the time. Emphasizes the classical background of medieval culture and its transmission to the modern world. Readings include: selections from Dante, St. Augustine, Boethius, St. Francis, Brunetto Latini, Thomas Aquinas, and Boccaccio.
ITAL-UA 164 Identical to EURO-UA 161, HIST-UA 204. Offered every two to three years. Ben-Ghiat. 4 points.
From the late 19th century through decolonization. Uses colonial travel literature, films, novels, diaries, memoirs, and histories to address the meaning of colonialism within Italian history and culture, the specificities of Italian colonialism, and the legacies of colonialism in contemporary Italy.
ITAL-UA 165 Offered every two to three years. Ben-Ghiat. 4 points.
An interdisciplinary examination of the cultural production of the fascist period. Students examine the image that the fascist regime produced of itself through the study of popular novels, architecture, film, and political speeches.
ITAL-UA 166 Identical to EURO-UA 164. Offered every two to three years. Albertini, Ben-Ghiat. 4 points.
The political, cultural, economic, and social history of Italy since World War II. Topics: the transition to democracy, the Cold War, social and political movements of the late 1960s and 1970s, the battle against the Mafia, postwar emigration, the rise and fall of postwar Christian Democracy and Italian communism, and the emergence of new political parties.
ITAL-UA 168 Identical to EURO-UA 163, HIST-UA 168. Offered every two to three years. Ben-Ghiat, Merjian. 4 points.
A survey of Italian history from unification to the present. Examines the political, social, and cultural history of liberalism, fascism, World War II, Christian Democracy, and communism; the political crisis of the early 1990s; and the rise of new regional and rightist parties.
Topics in Renaissance Culture
ITAL-UA 172 Offered every semester. 4 points.
Topics in Italian Culture
ITAL-UA 173 Offered every semester. 4 points.
Italian Films, Italian Histories I
ITAL-UA 174 Identical to DRLIT-UA 503. May be taken independently of Italian Films, Italian Histories II. Offered every one to two years. Albertini. 4 points.
Studies representations of Italian history from ancient Rome to the Risorgimento through the medium of film. The use of filmic history as a means of forging national identity.
Italian Films, Italian Histories II
ITAL-UA 175 Identical to DRLIT-UA 506 and HIST-UA 176. May be taken independently of Italian Films, Italian Histories I. Offered periodically. Ben-Ghiat. 4 points.
Studies representations of Italian history from the unification of Italy to the present through the medium of film. Explores the possibilities and limitations of feature films for the representation of history and asks: what happens when history becomes cinema and when cinema takes on history?
Language, Culture, and Identity in Italy
ITAL UA 260 Identical to COLIT-UA 801, EURO-UA 200, and LING-UA 32. Offered every two to three years. Cipani. 2 points.
What we call the Italian language today—the Italian of newspapers and television, of Italian language tuition, of street signs, of the Italian parliament—is only one variant among many languages spoken within the Italian peninsula throughout its history. Examines how local dialects and regional variants of Italian continue to have a significant cultural role in literature, music, and cinema. Taught in English.
Violence and Memory in Contemporary Italy
ITAL UA 265 Offered every two to three years. Forgacs. 4 points.
From the execution of Mussolini in April 1945 to the mafia bombings of the early 1990s, acts of violence against individuals or groups of people have been recurrent in the history of modern Italy. Examines case studies where violence has given rise to intense controversy over historical memory. Through close examination of materials in different media and class discussion students learn to examine sources critically and gain an in-depth understanding of some fundamental themes and controversies in contemporary Italy.
Sounds of Italy, 1910-1970
ITAL-UA 310 Offered every two years. Cipani. 4 points.
Acquaints students with a variety of sound artifacts and sound-related texts, grouped around topics significant for Italy’s auditory culture between World War I and the 1970s. Examines sound in a range of manifestations and contexts, such as propaganda, magic-religious rituals, oral poetry, folklore, commercial sound design, and soundtracks. Topics include: relationship between music and other arts; development of Italian media; Fascist sound politics; and survival of (largely non-textual) oral-aural art forms.
Court Culture in Renaissance Italy
ITAL UA 311 Offered every two to three years. Cox. 4 points.
Studies Italian Renaissance culture within its social and political contexts, focusing especially on the princely courts of northern/central Italy, which were among the most dynamic and innovative cultural centers in Europe. Particular courtly contexts include the Este and Gonzaga courts in Ferrara and Mantua and the Medici court in Florence. In addition to literature, painting, and sculpture, examines the material culture of the courts, ritual, and cultural-social practices such as dance, equitation, feasting, and dress.
Italy in the Anthropocene
ITAL-UA 325 Offered periodically. Falkoff. 4 points.
Italy is home to the ruins of ancient Rome and the plaster molds of those buried alive at Pompeii, as well as more recent wreckage caused by war, earthquakes, floods, and industrial accidents. Such reminders of transience gain urgency in the “Anthropocene,” a recently-coined term used to name the geological age that begins with the Industrial Revolution and is characterized by the irreversible impact of humans on the planet. Considers transience and durability in Italian literary and cultural history, as well as theories of eco-criticism, post-humanism, new materialism, and discard studies.
From Polenta to Marinara: History of Italian Food
ITAL-UA 400 Identical to FOOD-UE 1052. Offered every one to two years. Scarcella-Perino. 2 points.
Begins with ancient Rome and ends in the modern era. Introduces students to the regional varieties of Italian food and the role of this topic in the arts, film, and television.
La bella figura: Self and National Identity in Italian Fashion
ITAL-UA 401 Offered every one to two years. Bresciani. 4 points.
Italian identity, culture, and economy remain deeply connected to fashion as both an institution and industry. Examines how fashion played a key role in the construction of national style and courtly life from the Middle Ages and Renaissance to the twentieth-century design houses, which not only reshaped commercial and aesthetic trends, but also solidified Italy’s association with post-war design culture more broadly.
Topics in Italian Music, Art and Performance
ITAL-UA 700 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Explores specific topics related to Italian art, theatre, and music through sociological ,cultural, economic, and political lenses. Themes, which vary from semester to semester, can include opera, politics, societal class, art history, and music from a wide variety of periods.
Topics in Italian American Culture
ITAL-UA 861 Offered every two years. 4 points.
ITAL-UA 980, 981 Prerequisite: permission of the department. Does not count toward the major or minor. Offered every semester. 2 or 4 points per term.
Working closely with a sponsor and a faculty adviser, students may intern in such diverse areas as international trade, banking, publishing, community organizations, and television and radio programs. Interested students must apply to the department ahead of time.
ITAL-UA 997, 998 Prerequisite: permission of the department. Offered every semester. 2 or 4 points per term.
Honors Independent Study
ITAL-UA 990 Prerequisite: Senior Honors Seminar (ITAL-UA 999). Offered every spring. 4 points.
Open to students who have been accepted into the honors program in Italian studies and are writing the honors thesis in close consultation with their thesis adviser.
Senior Honors Seminar
ITAL-UA 999 Prerequisite: permission of the department. Offered every fall. 4 points.
Variable content. Prepares students for the senior honors thesis. Primary focus on research and the application of critical methodologies. Open to students who have been accepted to the honors program in Italian studies.
Graduate Courses Open to Undergraduates
Qualified undergraduates may register for graduate courses in Italian with the permission of the director of graduate studies. A list of appropriate graduate courses is available in the department each semester.