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Italian Studies Minor

Not open to Italian Studies majors

Minor Requirements (9 Credits)

Required Courses:
ITA 301 Advanced Italian, Part II

For students who have completed at least two years of college-level language studies or the equivalent. This course offers cultural readings from a variety of sources, including some literary pieces, as well as magazine and newspaper articles reflecting the contemporary scene in the countries where the language is spoken. Vocabulary expansion and development of techniques of expression are accomplished through oral and written exercises.

Two of the following:
IS 120T Italian Tales of Courtship, Beauty, and Power

The number and variety of towns, cities, villages and castles stunned travelers to Italy in the early Middle Ages. This phenomenon became even more distinctive with the passing of time. During the Renaissance, the Italian city-states were compressed into wider, regional domains which were ruled by either a local family or a foreign state, and, much to Machiavelli’s regret, republicanism gave way to what we now know as the court civilization. Though the seats of intrinsically tyrannical powers, Italian courts and their patrons were successful in allying themselves with the most powerful of them all: the power of culture and art. In return, they were transformed into ideal, timeless places whose death was meant to be regretted. Even today, Italy retains her fairy-land beauty, and her monuments (public or private, urban, suburban or rural) still possess their unique power of inspiration notwithstanding the touristic commercialization. The course examines a number of authors and artists who took part in the shaping of both the communal and court values that formed Italy’s manifold cultural identities. Additionally, the course includes fairy-tales from the Italian folkloric tradition, where princes and princesses provide yet another perspective of Italy’s many ''kingdoms''. The travel itinerary will include visits to Ravenna, Arezzo and Florence, Urbino, Padua, Vicenza and Mantua.

IS 274 Italian and Italian-American Cinema

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the major accomplishments of Italian cinema from ''neorealism'' through the ''commedia all'italiana'' to the present. Emphasis is placed on film as a narrative, visual, and theoretical medium for scholarly exploration of current societal issues in contemporary life. Some of Italy's major film directors will be considered, such as Rossellini, De Sica, Visconti, Antonioni, the Taviani brothers, Scola. Particular attention is dedicated to the films of Fellini. A module dedicated to Italian-American cinema (Capra, Scorsese, Coppola, Tarantino) offers a means for comparative study of two related but contrasting traditions in filmmaking. EMPHASIS IS PLACED ON FILM AS A NARRATIVE, VISUAL, AND THEORETICAL MEDIUM FOR SCHOLARLY EXPLORATION OF CURRENT SOCIIETAL ISSUES IN CONTEMPORARY LIFE

IS 275 Modern Italian Poetry

While focusing on the twentieth century and its various -isms (Futurism, Decadentism, Crepuscularism, Hermeticism, Neorealism), this course also offers a broader, foundational history of Italian poetry from the poets of the scuola siciliana to Dante and Petrarch;surveying major developments in Italian poetry since the Renaissance. Among the authors we will be looking at will be Giuseppe Ungaretti, Gabriele D'Annunzio, Salvatore Quasimodo, Eugenio Montale, Maria Luisa Spaziani, Cesare Pavese, Elio Vittorini, Dino Campana, Mario Luzi, Lalla Romano, Amelia Rosselli, Andrea Zanzotto. The course will be conducted entirely in English.

IS 276 The Italian Short Story

This course, conducted entirely in English, is distinguished by a creative writing component that runs parallel to a topical exploration of the history of the Italian short story, from the Middle Ages to the present. While analyzing the transformation of the short story throughout the centuries, students will use their creative writing as a means to travel, figuratively, into foreign landscapes; to experiment, literally, with foreign concepts and forms. Students will discover key questions in Italian cultural history such as the Italian search for a common linguistic identity or the struggle for political unification. They will reflect on these questions as informed thinkers and interact with Italian culture as experimental authors. Special attention will be paid to thematic as well as formal issues in the stories of writers such as Giovanni Boccaccio, Niccolò Machiavelli, Giovanni Verga, Luigi Pirandello, Matilde Serao, Alberto Moravia, Natalia Ginzburg, and Italo Calvino. Local Swiss writers, and related questions of Ticinese identity, may also be introduced.

IS 277 Italian Storytelling from Page to Stage

The course explores the expression of the male and female narrative ''I'' against the greater context of the historical development of the Italian novel, with an emphasis on the late 19th and 20th centuries. An experiential approach to classic texts, framed by embodied learning methodology whereby students will improvise and adapt excerpts to allow literature to come alive through focused performance exercise and spectator reflection. As the traditional Italian hero finds his narrative trajectory from Modernity into the Postmodern, the Italian heroine appears to be engaged in the pursuit of Other agendas. The ongoing affirmation of a feminine alternative to the insistently male-dominated Italian canon will be studied via readings from the following novels: Giovanni Verga's The House by the Medlar Tree and Italo Svevo's Confessions of Zeno, Luigi Pirandello's, The Late Mattia Pascal, Sibilla Aleramo's A Woman, Grazia Deledda's Cosima, Natlia Ginsburg Family Sayings, Dacia Maraini's The Silent Duchess, Anna Banti's Artemisia. The course will be conducted entirely in English.

IS 278 Italian Genre Crossings, Transmedia, and Hybridity

This course offers an innovative look at Italian filmmakers, novelists, journalists, television actors, philosophers, photographers, translators, singers, contemporary internet personalities, who refuse to be defined by one category of artistry and, instead, view work across genres and media as an important means to amplifying the scope and range of their unique message, while commonly embracing the value of cross-fertilization and hybridity. Franca Rame and Dario Fo, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Federico Fellini, Dacia Maraini, Umberto Eco, Amelia Rosselli: these are just a few of the Italian cultural icons of hybridity to whom students will be introduced. There is a significant project production component to this class which asks students to venture into multimedia assignments (merging digital photography with fiction writing, for example; or exploring the concept of liminality in both music and the prose poem).

IS 279 Italian Myths and Counter-Myths of America

The stories told in the films and novels to be studied in this course were written by two generations of Italians typically associated in literary history with what has been called the mito americano, or American myth. Defining and contextualizing this myth will be among our first objectives. In what ways has the New World positively impacted Old World culture and, conversely, what are some of the negative perceptions of America (or apocalyptic anxieties) represented by Italian writers and filmmakers? Authors to be studied (in translation) may include Mario Soldati, Ignazio Silone, Beppe Fenoglio, Eugenio Montale, Italo Calvino, Curzio Malaparte, Elio Vittorini, Cesare Pavese, Umberto Eco, Alberto Moravia, Giorgio Bassani. Among the chief learning goals in this course is to provide students with the opportunity to consider some of the common metaphorical and allegorical terms in which America has been positively and negatively mythified through the lens of Italian film, poetry, and fiction.

IS 280T Italian Cinema on Location: Projections of the Eternal City in Italian Film and Cultural Studies

This course provides an introduction to classic cinematic portrayals of the city of Rome and its inhabitants, with an emphasis on 20th-century authors and filmmakers. Landmark films, such as Roberto Rossellini's ''Open City'' and Federico Fellini's ''La Dolce Vita'' will be contextualized both historically and thematically. Subsequently, students will begin crafting their own short film design; to be pitched in the form of a multi-media presentation prior to travel. Filming and production will follow in Rome, under the guidance and supervision of the professor. During the final weeks of the semester, class time will be devoted to close the discussion of contemporary readings from Italian Cultural Studies and, parallel to this, editing and completion of the student's semester-long short film project. Students enrolling in this course should have basic knowledge of how to create and edit short films using their own digital video devices. Students should be familiar with the program Final Cut (or similar editing program).

BUS 236T Marketing for Movies

This course will expose students to the challenges of creating a market for artistic products, in particular for movies. Marketing movies requires a deep understanding of the needs consumers are trying to satisfy when deciding to consume an experience. At the same time, dealing with artists and managers of artistic institutions requires a solid understanding of their mindset and the intrinsic motivations for creating artistic pieces. There is thus a constant trade off between market orientation and product orientation. This course will focus in particular on understanding the specifics of creative production and aligning it with the right audience. Students will learn how to create a marketing plan for such an endeavor. The travel component will explore two cities in Italy, Rome and Bologna, so as to take advantage of the Rome Film Festival and the Cineteca (in Bologna).

HIS 204 History of Italy from the Renaissance to the Present

Italy in many of its aspects can be considered to be a laboratory of Western modernity. The peninsula had a leading role in Western affairs during Antiquity and the Middle Ages, but this role was lost by the end of the fifteenth century. During the modern age, however, Italy continued to provide a central point of reference in the European mind. This course focuses attention on the cultural, social and political developments in Italian history in their European context since the Renaissance. Themes include the struggles over national identity in the absence of a unified nation state, the differing regions and competing centers, the interplay of culture and politics, and the relation between religion and politics.