Italian Department

Professor: John Aherna; Associate Professors: Rodica Diaconescu-Blumenfeld (Chair), Eugenio Giusti; Assistant Professor: Roberta Antognini; Visiting Assistant Professors: Simona Bondavalli, Maria A. Nicoletti.

a Absent on leave, first semester.

Courses are conducted in Italian, except for Italian 175, 237, 238, 242, 250, 255. Medieval and Renaissance Studies 220, or a course in Linguistics, such as Anthropology 150, may be counted in the required 10 units.

Requirements for Concentration: 10 units including Italian 220 or equivalent, 301.

Senior-Year Requirements: Italian 301 and 2 units of 300-level courses. Students who wish to be considered for departmental honors must also complete a Senior Project (Italian 300).

Recommendations: Summer study at the Vassar program in Siena. The department strongly recommends that students interested in the Junior Year in Italy begin the study of Italian in their freshman year. Majors in their junior year are encouraged to participate in Italy in the Eastern Colleges Consortium in Bologna (ECCO).

Advisers: The department.

Correlate Sequence in Italian: Students majoring in other programs may elect a correlate sequence in Italian.

Requirements: 6 units chosen from the following: Italian 205, 206, 220, 260, 265, 270, 280, 301, 330, 331, 337, 338. At least one course must be taken at the 300-level. All courses must be taken for the letter grade. Courses taken in Italy or during the summer may be substituted with department approval.

I. Introductory

105a-106b. Elementary Italian (1)

Introduction to the essential structures of the language with emphasis on oral skills and reading. Reading and performance of a play by a contemporary author in the second semester. Supplementary material from Andiamo in Italia, a web-based trip to Italy. The department.

Open to all classes; four 50-minute periods; one hour of drill and one hour of aural-oral practice.

107b. Intensive Elementary Italian (2)

A single-semester equivalent of Italian 105-106. Mr. Ahern.

Open to all classes; four 75-minute periods; one hour of drill and one hour of aural-oral practice or videolab.

175a. The Italian Renaissance in English Translation (1)

A survey of the masterworks: Petrarch’s Canzoniere and Letters, Boccaccio’s Decameron, poems and letters by women humanists, Machiavelli’s Prince and La Mandragola, Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier, Gaspara Stampa’s and Veronica Franco’s poems, and Tullia d’Aragona’s Dialogue. Mr. Giusti.

May not be counted towards the Italian major. Satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Course.

II. Intermediate

205a. Intermediate Italian I (1)

Narration in popular culture, literature, and film. Analysis of folktales, short stories, and Gabriele Salvatores’ film Marrakech Express. Strong emphasis on effective oral expression. Formal study of grammar. Successful completion of this course provides a suitable background for other 200‑level courses. The department.

Two 75-minute periods and one hour of conversation.

206b. Intermediate Italian II (1)

Italy today: the image in the Italian media. Analysis and discussion of strategies of representation in newspapers (La Repubblica, Corriere della Sera), magazines (Espresso), television and radio, advertisements, cinema, and the Internet. Formal study of grammar. Strong emphasis on effective oral expression. Ms. Nicoletti.

Two 75-minute periods and one hour of conversation.

Prerequisite: Italian 205 or permission of instructor.

220b. Italian Civilization: Interpreting the Texts (1)

From the origin of the Italian language to the masterpieces of the Renaissance. Selected texts from the “Dolce stil nuovo” and Dante’s Vita nuova; Petrarch’s Canzoniere and Italian Humanism; Boccaccio’s Decameron and the “novella” tradition; Ariosto, and the Italian epic; Machiavelli, Castiglione, Bembo on politics and ideology; Michelangelo, Stampa, Franco on gender in literature. Mr. Giusti.

Prerequisite: Italian 270 or 280 or special permission.

222b. Contemporary Italian Culture (1)

Topic for 2006/07: Italian Cinema and Society. In this course we analyze Italian films made in the last two decades and discuss social, political and cultural issues that they raise: the transformation of the traditional Italian family, the crisis of Communism, the Southern Question, the impact of TV culture, gender issues, historical revisionism. The viewing and discussion of each film is accompanied by critical readings. Movies by Moretti, Capuano, Garrone, Muccino, Ozpetek and others. The course is taught in Italian. Films in Italian with English subtitles. Ms. Bondavalli.

Prerequisites: Italian 270 or 280 or special permission

237b, 238a. Dante’s Divine Comedy in Translation (1)

A close reading of the entire Comedy in its historical, philosophical, theological, and literary contexts. Conducted in English. Mr. Ahern.

Open to all classes. Italian majors see Italian 337-338.

[242. Boccaccio’s Decameron in Translation: The “Novella” as Microcosm] (1)

A close reading of the one hundred tales with emphasis on social, cultural, and gender issues of the later Middle Ages. Reference is made to classical sources (Ovid, Petronius, Apuleius), the French Fabliaux, and Courtly Literature. The course also analyzes contemporary rewritings of the text in different genres and media. Conducted in English. Mr. Giusti.

Open to all classes. Italian majors see Italian 342.

Two 75-minute meetings.

Not offered in 2006/07.

250b. Italian Cinema in English (1)

Cultural, ideological, and aesthetic issues in the history of Italian cinema from Neorealism to contemporary auteurs. Ms. Blumenfeld.

Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

May not be counted towards the Italian major.

One 2-hour meeting and one film -screening.

[255a. Four Italian Filmmakers (in English)] (1)

Close association and visual styles of Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Lina Wertmüller. Ms Blumenfeld.

No prerequisites. Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

May not be counted towards the Italian major

Two 75-minute meetings and two film screenings.

Not offered in 2006/07.

[260a. Italian Cinema] (1)

Prerequisite: Italian 205 or the equivalent.

Three 75-minute meetings and one film screening.

Not offered in 2006/07.

[265a. Four Italian Filmmakers] (1)

Three 75-minute meetings and two film screenings.

Prerequisite: Italian 205 or the equivalent.

Not offered in 2006/07.

270a. Advanced Composition and Oral Expression (1)

Development of oral and written skills through extensive conversation and essay writing. The course makes use of a variety of “texts” available in traditional formats (books, magazines, journals, films), as well as web-based materials. The topics covered are in the area of contemporary issues, with emphasis on cultural and socio-political phenomena. Ms. Blumenfeld.

Two 75-minute meetings.

Prerequisite: Italian 206 or special permission.

280a. Giorgio Bassani’s Garden of the Finzi-Contini (1)

Giorgio Bassani (1916-2000), novelist, poet, essayist wrote this classic of modern Italian literature in 1962. Through the story of the Finzi-Continis, a wealthy Jewish family from Ferrara, Bassani recounts an important part of Italian history: Mussolini’s Fascist regime with its race laws, persecutions, and deportations. However, this is not simply an historical novel, it is also an autobiographical one, a book of memory, and a love story. The novel’s sophisticated structure, its clear and fiercely crafted language, at once high and idiomatic, its evocation of Ferrara, make this work a wonderful medium for the study of Italian literature, history, language, and culture. Particular attention is devoted to the development of oral and written skills. Ms. Antognini.

Prerequisite: Italian 206 or special permission.

290. Field Work ( 1/2 or 1)

297.01. Reading Course. Topics in 17th Century ( 1/2)

The department.

297.02. Reading Course. Topics in 18th Century ( 1/2)

The department.

297.03. Reading Course. Topics in 19th Century ( 1/2)

The department.

298. Independent Work ( 1/2 or 1)

Prerequisite for all advanced courses: 2 units at the 200-level: 270 or 280, and 220 or 222; or by special permission.

III. Advanced

Prerequisite for all advanced courses: 2 units at the 200-level: 270 or 280, and 220 or 222; or by special permission.

300a. Senior Project (1)

The department.

301b. Senior Seminar (1)

An examination of selected topics in recent Italian culture or of a single topic across several centuries. May be taken more than once for credit when topic changes. Required of all senior majors.

Topic for 2006/07: L’Italia dei giovani: youth culture and the culture of youth in twentieth century Italy. The course is an exploration of the relationship between youth and history in twentieth century Italy from two perspectives: how young people have interpreted some of the major events and cultural movements of the century, and how youth was represented in literature in relation to the changing social and political conditions: from the call to arms to peace movements, from the myth of revolutionary youth to youth-oriented consumer culture, from body politics to virtual communication. Readings include fiction, poetry, and essays by such authors as: Marinetti, Pavese, Pasolini, Morante, Pivano, Sanguineti, Eco, Santacroce, among others. The course is taught in Italian. Ms. Bondavalli.

Prerequisite: Italian 220 or 222 or 280 or the equivalent.

330. The Italian Renaissance: The Italian Epic Tradition from 1300 to 1600 (1)

A study of the epic tradition from Medieval romances of chivalry and the “cantari” to the great epic poems of the Renaissance. Texts studied include: Pulci’s Morgante, Boiardo’s Orlando innamorato, Ariosto’s Orlando furioso, Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata, Tassoni’s Secchia rapita, and Marino’sAdone. We also examine the canons of the heroic poem in sixteenth-century. Ms. Antognini.

Prerequisites: Italian 220 or 222 or 280 or the equivalent.

[331. The Italian Renaissance: Poetry, Theater, Politics, and Ideology] (1)

A study of ethnic, religious, and sexual otherness as represented in classical Renaissance texts. Selected readings of Michelangelo, Gaspara Stampa, Veronica Franco (poetry); Ariosto, Machiavelli, Aretino (theatre); Colombo, Vespucci, Castiglione, and Della Casa (politics and ideology). Mr. Giusti.

Prerequisites: Italian 220 or 222 or 280 or the equivalent.

Not offered in 2006/07.

337b., 338a. Dante’s Divine Comedy (1)

A close reading of the entire Comedy in its historical, philosophical, theological, and literary contexts. Designed for Italian majors in their senior year. Students in this course attend the same lectures as in Italian 237, 238, but do the reading in the original, attend a separate discussion class, and take separate exams. Mr. Ahern.

Prerequisite: Italian 220 or 222 or 280 or the equivalent.

[342. Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron: The “Novella” as a Microcosm] (1)

Students in this course attend the same lectures as in Italian 242, but do the readings in the original, attend a separate discussion class, and take separate exams. Mr. Giusti

Prerequisite: Italian 220 or 222 or 280 or the equivalent.

Not offered in 2006/07.

[381a. Gender Effects: Women in Italian Cinema] (1)

Through analysis of various filmic portrayals of the female body, narratives of female subjectivity, articulations of female desire, and experiments with female and feminist agency, we raise questions about female characters in Italian cinema, and the gendering significance of formal cinematic features. We study such films as Pasolini’s Mamma Roma, Fellini’s City of Women, Wertmüller’s Love and Anarchy, and the more recent Un’anima divisa in due by Soldini and Beseiged by Bertolucci. Readings of pertinent works from feminist film theory in English and Italian. Ms. Blumenfeld.

Prerequisite: Italian 220 or 222 or 280 or the equivalent.

Not offered in 2006/07.

[384a. Opera in Italian Culture] (1)

An examination of the role played by opera in Italian culture from the mid-Eighteenth century through the early Twentieth century. Operas by Metastasio, Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini, Verdi, and Puccini are studied in their libretti and video versions. Students attend a live performance in New York. Topics studied include: Opera buffa and seria. Romanticism, the Risorgimento, Verismo and Decadentismo with particular attention given to the roles played by women. Mr. Ahern.

Prerequisite: Italian 220 or 222 or 280 or equivalent.

Not offered in 2006/07.

388b. Petrarch’s Letters: Inventing Autobiography (1)

Together with Dante and Boccaccio, Petrarch is considered one of the three “crowns” of Italian literature. His influence on European poetry has been immense. He is also considered the father of Humanism, the intellectual movement that preceded Renaissance. Together with the poems, his most remarkable works are his collections of Latin epistles, where he recounts the story of his life in a sequence of letters, a highly original undertaking. Texts read include the Familiares, his main collection of letters, and selections from other works: the Canzoniere, the Seniles, the Posteritati, the Epystole, the Secretum. Latin texts are read in Italian translation. Ms. Antognini.

Prerequisite: Italian 220 or 222 or 280 or equivalent.

399. Senior Independent Work ( 1/2 or 1)

Eastern Colleges Consortium Program in Bologna

Vassar College, Wellesley College, and Wesleyan University offer a study abroad program at the University of Bologna in Italy. The program is committed to high academic standards and to providing opportunities for students to develop their knowledge of the Italian language and culture in one of the most venerable and prestigious academic environments in Europe. Undergraduates wishing to study humanities and social sciences may enroll for the fall or spring semesters or for the full academic year. Students may take courses in Italian studies offered by the program as well as regular courses at the University of Bologna. The number of courses that students may complete at the University of Bologna varies depending on the length of their stay and their knowledge of the language. The program accepts no more than 35 students each semester from consortium institutions and from other colleges and universities.

240. Italian Cultural History since the Unification (1)

Analysis of Italian society from the 1860s to the present. The focus is on the transition from a rural, patriarchal society to a modern, urban, and industrialized one.

243. Italian Language and Culture ( 1/2)

A three-week intensive review of grammar and an introduction to contemporary Italy, offered in Lecce in August. Required of students with only one year of college-level Italian. Optional for all others.

244. Advanced Practice of Italian ( 1/2)

A three-week language course offered in Bologna, prior to the beginning of the regular semester program, emphasizing writing and critical reading. Required of all program participants, but not of year-long students in their second semester.

245. Theater in Performance (1)

Representation in theater acquires meaning through the process of mise-en-scène. This course offers students the opportunity to engage actively with various texts of Italian theater, paying special attention to language. Time will be divided between theory and practice, study and action.

246. History of Italian Middle Ages and Renaissance (1)

This course focuses on the history of Medieval Bologna using the extraordinary opportunities offered by the local resources, to analyze events and social realities in the dramatic and checkered history of this part of Europe.

248. Government and Politics in Modern Italy (1)

History of the Italian political system in the European contest from 1948 to the present. The course includes an analysis of the political systems and different forms of government of various European democracies.

249. Modern Italian Narrative (1)

The study of contemporary Italian literature in relation to cinema. The focus is on short stories about cinema and self-reflexive cinema.

251. Writing Workshop ( 1/2)

This course assists students in program and University of Bologna courses in sharpening their writing skills. Optional for year-long students in their second semester.

252. Women in Italian Life (1)

An interdisciplinary study of gender relations in Italy from various theoretical and disciplinary perspectives. The course intends to explore the Renaissance origins of gender literature, by examining the life, the works, and the ideas of some illustrious Italian women writers.

253. Modern Italian Art and Architecture (1)

The aim of the course is to trace the history of the Italian artistic production from 1850 to 2000. Because contemporary art is global, Italian art is considered in its relationship to European and non-European expressions.

254. Modern Italian History (1)

An examination of the key role played by war in the twentieth century: World War I and II, civil wars, liberation wars, the cold war and the more recent ethnic wars. Issues examined include war as a mass phenomenon, and the relation between wars, memory, and collective identity.

256. Modern and Contemporary Italian Poetry (1)

The most significant voices of the Italian poetry in the first half of the twentieth century. The transition from traditional metrical forms to free verse is studied through readings from Pascoli, D’Annunzio, Ungaretti, Montale and Saba.

285. Art and Architecture in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (1)

A study of artistic expression as influenced by cultural, religious and political changes, from the 14th to the 15th centuries.