Graduate Courses

2016 Course Offerings


ITAL GU4009 Development of Italian Language J. Cavallo.

The external history and internal development of the Italian language from its origins to the present.

ITAL GU4050 Medieval Lyric T. Barolini

This course maps the origins of the Italian lyric, starting in Sicily and following its development in Tuscany, in the poets of the dolce stil nuovo and ultimately, Dante. Lectures in English; text in Italian, although comparative literature students who can follow with the help of translations are welcome.

ITAL GU4079 Boccaccio's Decameron T. Barolini

While focusing on the Decameron, this course follows the arc of Boccaccio's career from the Ninfale Fiesolano, through the Decameron, and concluding with the Corbaccio, using the treatment of women as the connective thread. The Decameron is read in the light of its cultural density and contextualized in terms of its antecedents, both classical and vernacular, and of its intertexts, especially Dante's Commedia, with particular attention to Boccaccio's masterful exploitation of narrative as a means for undercutting all absolute certainty. Lectures in English; text in Italian, although comparative literature students who can follow with the help of translations are welcome.


ITAL GU4059 Culture of Italian Fashion. 3 points. B. Faedda

This seminar examines the many meanings of fashion, design, and style, especially in Italian culture and tradition; how values are preserved, reinvented and rethought through a lens that is internationally known as "Made in Italy"; how the symbolic meanings and ideological interpretations are connected to creation, production, and consumption of goods. Based on an anthropological perspective and framework, this interdisciplinary course will analyze ways in which we can understand the ‘Italian style' through the intersections of many different levels: political, economic, aesthetic, symbolic, religious, etc. The course will study how fashion can help us understand the ways in which tradition and innovation, creativity and technology, localism and globalization, identity and diversity, power and body, are elaborated and interpreted in contemporary Italian society, in relation to a globalized world. Readings in English. Short videos that can be watched on the computer and alternative readings for those fluent in Italian will be assigned. There are no pre‐requisites for this course.

ITAL GU4070 Small Stories in a Big World K. Zanou

What does it mean to enter history through a life? This course will combine the Italian historiographical tradition of microstoria with the global turn in historical studies, in order to explore a series of microhistorical and biographical works. We will look at the biographies of people from the 15th to the 19th centuries who lived their lives on the move between empires and nation states ane early modern Jewish merchants of Livorno, captives, collectors and career makers in the British empire, as well as 19th-century intellectuals and migrants between the Mediterranean shores). But we will also deal with figures who never left home but had d across continents and seas (such as Leo Africanus, Elias of Babylon, John Hu, Ugo Foscolo, Elisabeth March, Giuseppe Garibaldi, thsomething interesting to say (such as Domenico Scandella, Martin Guerre, Martha Ballard or Stephanos Vogorides). Through the micro-perspective of these individuals, the coursewill trace some of the big themes of the early modern and modern periods. Students will be invited to reflect on the possibilities opened up by the new trend of ‘global microhistory’, on the prospects and limits of biography, on the autobiographical connotations of historical writing, on combining narrativity with scholarly argumentation, and on the authority of experience. Taught in English. Required reading in English, additional materials may be in Italian. 


ITAL GU4401 Holocaust & Resistance in Italy E. Leake

The political, social, and cultural issues affecting Italy in the crucial, dramatic years between 1943 and 1945. More specifically, the canonical literary and cinematic representations of the war, the "Resistenza" and the Holocaust and the aesthetic issues related to the encounter between history and fiction, reality and imagination. Further examination of how the war has affected women: such an inquiry will require the evaluation of lesser-known women's texts.Topics to be addressed include: war and gender, women as subjects of history, the intersection of the political and the private. Authors to be examined include: Calvino, Fenoglio,Pavese, Levi, Rossellini, Wertmuller, Rosi, Vigano', Milli, Zangrandi, D'Eramo. Taught in English. Reading in Italian (exceptions can be made for students who don't read Italian).

ITAL GU4725  Pirandello & Modern Drama

The course will examine the foundations of modern drama and stage representation by analysing Luigi Pirandello's plays and theoretical works in close comparison with the major authors and drama theorists of the XIX century, including Bertolt Brecht, August Strinberg, and Jean Genet.


ITAL GU4502 Italian Cultural Studies I N. Moe

An interdisciplinary investigation into Italian culture and society in the years between Unification in 1860 and the outbreak of World War I. Drawing on novels, historical analyses, and other sources including film and political cartoons, the course examines some of the key problems and trends in the cultural and political history of the period. Lectures, discussion and required readings will be in English. Students with a knowledge of Italian are encouraged to read the primary literature in Italian.