Graduate Courses

2017-2018 Course Offerings

FALL 2017

The Qur'an in Europe, 3 pts, GU4022
Is the Qur’an translatable? Was the Qur’an translated? Are non Arabic-speaking Muslims allowed to translate the Qur’an? And what about non-Muslims? Did Muslims and non-Muslims collaborate in translating the text of the Qur’an into Latin and European vernaculars? This course focuses on the long history of the diffusion of the Qur’an, the Scripture of the Muslims, and one of the most important texts in the history of humanity. We will focus on reading and translation practices of the Qur’an in Europe and the Mediterranean, from the Middle Ages to the contemporary world. We will explore how European Muslims, such as Iberian moriscos, European Jews, as well as Orthodox, Protestants and Catholics read, copied, collected, translated and printed the Qur’an. We will also explore why the Qur’an was confuted, forbidden, burned and even eaten, drunk and worn along eight centuries of the history of Europe. This long excursus, based on a close reading of the Qur’an and on the discussion of the major themes this close reading proposes, will help us to understand the role of Islam and its revelation in the formation of European societies and cultures.  
FALL 2017
Italian Renaissance Literature and Culture, 3 pts, GU4043
This course on Italian Renaissance literature and culture will pay special attention to the crossing of boundaries, whether socio-cultural, religious, linguistic, gendered, ethnic, or strictly geographical, in a range of fourteenth- to early seventeenth-century texts in a variety of genres, including travelogue, chivalric epic poetry, comedy, dialogues, and the novella, as well as political, philosophical, and scientific writing. Authors covered include Marco Polo, Leonardo Bruni, Pico della Mirandola, Boiardo, Ariosto, Machiavelli Castiglione, Beolco, Giraldi Cinzio, Tasso, Moderata Fonte, Tarabotti, and Galileo.  In English.
FALL 2017
The Making of Italy: The Risorgimento in Global Context, 3 pts, GU4185
Prerequisites: Knowledge of Italian is necessary for this course.
This course will examine the history of the Italian Risorgimento by following the major historiographical trends of the recent decades. First, it will approach the Risorgimento through the prism of cultural and intellectual history by investigating a series of topics, such as the discursive  patterns of the ‘Risorgimento canon’, the gendered tropes of nationalism, the creation of a new public sphere through operas, festivals and  plebiscites, the connection of nationalism with religion, and the relation of empire to nation and liberalism. Second, it will look at the  Risorgimento through the eyes of local and regional history by examining local patriotisms, revolutions and civil wars and the division between North and South. Finally, it will offer a new topography of Italian history by placing the Risorgimento in its Mediterranean and global context and by exploring its international aspects: the global icons that it produced (i.e. Garibaldi, Mazzini); the networks of exiles in other Mediterranean and European countries; the war volunteers; and the connection of Italian patriots with the wave of liberalism and revolution that swept the globe from India to Latin America.
Research in Later Italian Literature and Culture, From 18th Century To Modern and Contemporary, 3 pts, GR9103
Guided reading and research on a topic or in a field chosen by the student in consultation with a member of the faculty.

Spring 2018

Italian GU4019
Prerequisites: The class will be in Italian. The knowledge of Italian is required. However, students who understand Italian but prefer to discuss the texts in English are very welcome. Between 1960 and 1980 Leonardo Sciascia and Italian micro-historians reflected extensively on the relation between history and fiction. How did they relate with nineteenth century Italian historical fiction? How did they use fiction and non-fiction as hermeneutical tools to understand the Italian past, and especially pre-modern Italy? How did Carlo Ginzburg and Leonardo Sciascia read Manzoni? And what did Sciascia find in Natalie Zemon Davis’ books? Are microhistory and global history compatible? What is history from ‘below’? Is it compatible with the history of the ‘in-between’? We will probe these questions of large import for both literary historians and historians through an examination of Alessandro Manzoni’s Storia della Colonna Infame, Italian historical non-fictions, such as Leonardo Sciascia’s inchieste, Nuto Revelli’s Il disperso di Marburg and Wu Ming’s Asce di guerra, and the masterpieces of Italian, European and American microhistory. Also we will explore the impact of Italian Microhistory on both contemporary American historiography and Italian non-fiction. Topics include pre-modern popular culture and literacy, minority and marginality, the Inquisition, individual identity, and the relation between pre-modern Italy, Europe and the global world.

Comparative Literature: Italian GU4021

Prerequisites: Knowledge of Italian desirable but not necessary

This interdisciplinary seminar will study Romanticism as a literary trend, as much as a historical phenomenon and a life attitude. Romanticism is viewed here as the sum of the different answers to the sense of insecurity, social alienation and loneliness, provoked by the changing and frail world of the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century. We will investigate the Romantic ideology in relation to the trans-Adriatic world of Italy and Greece, an area that entered modernity with the particular lure and burden of antiquity, as well as through revolutionary upheaval. Students will be invited to read authors like Vittorio Alfieri, Ugo Foscolo, Silvio Pellico, Giacomo Leopardi, Alessandro Manzoni, Massimo d’Azeglio, and to reflect on themes such as Nostalgia and Nationalism, the Discovery of the Middle Ages, the Historical Novel, the Invention of Popular Tradition, the Fragmented Self, Autobiographical and Travel Writing, the Brigand Cult, Hellenism, Philhellenism, Orientalism and Balkanism, and others.

Italian GU4057
This colloquium examines the many meanings of food, fashion, designs, trends, and style, especially in Italian culture and tradition; how values and peculiarities are transmitted, 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, food, and design 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 the European context and a globalized world.
Short videos that can be watched on the computer and alternative readings for those fluent in Italian will be assigned.

Italian GU4086
Focus on Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier as educational treatise, philosophical meditation, sociopolitical document, and book of courtly manners; other courtly writings of the period, from Della Casa’s Galateo to Ariosto’s Satires to Bembo’s Asolani. Lectures in English; text in Italian, although comparative literature students who can follow with the help of translations are welcome.

Italian GU4109
Against the backdrop of the heated critical debate on the boundaries and limitations of the autobiographical genre, this course addresses the modern and contemporary tradition of autobiographical writings, focusing in particular (but not exclusively) on exploring and positing the potential difference between male and female autobiographers. More specifically, we will question the adequacy of the traditional model of autobiographical selfhood based on the assumption of unified, universal, exemplary and transcendent self to arrive at an understanding of women's autobiography. Topics to be addressed include: the crisis of the subject, "je est un autre", the "man" with a movie camera, strategies of concealment and disclosures. Authors to be studied include: D'Annunzio, Pirandello, Svevo, Fellini, Moretti, Ortese, Ginzburg, Manzini, Cialente, Ramondino. In Italian.

Italian GU4420
In revisiting WWII and its effects on society, a few Italian filmmakers in their early forties (Roberto Rossellini 1906-1977; Vittorio De Sica 1902-1974; Luchino Visconti 1906-1976) challenged the precedent modes of film production and therefore revolutionized way the world would look at movies, both in terms of feature production and in terms of theory. Their main focus was not simply that of telling a story, but that of using film fiction to understand the times they were living. Making films did not mean closing up in a studio with icons, but encountering and representing reality in times of political and social redefinition. In analyzing both the feature films and the theoretical writings of such directors as those mentioned (and others), the course investigates the modes of representation of reality in those years, their relation to the identity of the newborn Italian Republic (the constitution of which was promulgated exactly in those years) and their significance in post-WWII filmmaking. All readings and lectures in English; Films in Italian or French, with English subtitles.

Comparative Literature: Italian GR6999
Examines representations of the mafia in American and Italian film and literature. Special attention to questions of ethnic identity and immigration. Comparison of the different histories and myths of the mafia in the U.S. and Italy. Readings includes novels, historical studies, and film criticism.  (NOTE: This is the graduate section of CLIA GU3660 which meets W 6:10p-10:00p)