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Courses

The following information is from the 2018-19 Vassar College Catalogue.

Italian: I. Introductory

105 Elementary Italian 1Semester Offered: Fall

Introduction to the language and culture of contemporary Italy through short stories and plays, opera and popular music, film and popular culture. This sequence course (105-106) is designed for students who have no prior knowledge of Italian. The course objective is to develop listening, speaking, reading, writing skills through communicative and interactive in-class activities (e.g., games and role-playing) and at-home assignments. Through successful completion of the 105-106 sequence, students will be able to: 1) increase their awareness and understanding of the culture of the Italian-speaking people; 2) conduct meaningful dialogue in Italian, using appropriate vocabulary and grammatical structures; 3) read and understand text selections appropriate to their level; 4) write brief descriptions and narratives on given topics. Students are encouraged to attend extra-curricular activities organized by the department and by the Italian Majors' Committee, such as opera evenings at the Metropolitan Opera House, the Italian Cinema Club, card nights, cooking classes, and guest lectures by invited scholars. Simona Bondavalli, Eugenio Giusti.

Electronic versions of required materials are not accepted.

Yearlong course 105-ITAL 106.

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

106 Elementary Italian 1Semester Offered: Spring

Simona Bondavalli, Eugenio Giusti.

 

Electronic versions of required materials are not accepted.

Yearlong course ITAL 105-106.

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

107 Intensive Elementary Italian 2

A single-semester equivalent of ITAL 105-ITAL 106. Eugenio Giusti.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor.

Open to all classes; four 75-minute periods; one hour of drill and one hour of aural-oral practice. Supplementary material from Andiamo in Italia, a web-based trip to Italy. Electronic versions of required materials are not accepted.

Not offered in 2018/19.

168 Food Culture and Italian Identity 1

How did spaghetti and meatballs become the symbol of Italian cuisine in the United States? Is it true that pasta was not invented in Italy? How did a cookbook contribute to the creation of national identity? Could abolishing pastasciutta make Italians more optimistic? Images of food and dinner tables pervade Italian art and literature, celebrating pleasures or projecting desires, passing on traditions or stirring revolutions. In this course we examine how eating and cooking habits intersect with material and cultural changes in Italy at various times, ranging from the Middle Ages to the present. We investigate how issues of personal, regional, and national identity are shaped and expressed by food habits. Fiction and non-fiction writings, recipes, documentary and fiction film, advertising, and television shows provide the basis for discussion and writing assignments. Simona Bondavalli.

Open only to first-year students; satisfies the college requirement for a First-Year Writing Seminar. May not be counted towards the Italian major.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

175 The Italian Renaissance in English Translation 1Semester Offered: Fall

In this course we examine the notion of selfhood as it first appears in the writings of early humanists (XIV century), Renaissance authors (XVI century) and works of contemporary visual artists. Cultural, philosophical, aesthetic, and gender issues are investigated through the reading of literary and theatrical masterpieces and their influence on visual artists like Botticelli, Raphael, and others.  We read in English translation excerpts from Petrarch (Canzoniere and Letters), Boccaccio (Decameron), poems and letters by women humanists (Isotta Nogarola, Cassandra Fedele, Laura Cereta), Machiavelli (The Prince), Castiglione (The Book of the Courtier), Gaspara Stampa and Veronica Franco (Poems). In order to foster the student's self-awareness and creativity, journaling, experiential practices, and a creative project, based on the course content, are included. Eugenio Giusti.

Open only to first-year students; satisfies college requirement for a First-Year Writing Seminar. May not be counted towards the Italian major.

Two 75-minute periods.

177 Italy and the Modern Self 1

In this course we analyze the ways in which the experience of modernity has shaped Italian literature at the beginning of the 20th century. In particular we focus on the crisis of the self and its literary expressions: fragmentation, illness, madness, but also masquerading and performance. Frequently employed as metaphors for the alienated condition of the artist and intellectual in modern society, these ideas contribute to redefine the notion of self in a country increasingly concerned with progress and modernization while still looking to the past in search of a national identity. While the radical changes in material and social structures, gender roles, moral values challenge traditional certainties, artists and intellectuals challenge formal traditions and provide multiple definitions of the modern experience. Readings include works, in English translation, by Luigi Pirandello, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Eugenio Montale, Italo Svevo and others. As a First-Year Writing Seminar, the course is designed to help students develop analytical and critical skills, and to practice clear and persuasive writing. Students produce a variety of brief informal writing assignments and formal interpretive essays. Simona Bondavalli.

Open only to first-year students; satisfies the college requirement for a First-Year Writing Seminar. May not be counted towards the Italian major.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

180 Italian Food: Facts and Fiction 1Semester Offered: Spring

The course investigates the development of Italian culinary traditions in relation to local, regional, and national identities; the long-standing cultural association of Italy with food, both within the national boundaries and without, particularly in the US; and the representation of food across various media (film, fiction, cookbooks, television programs, advertising), since the 19th century, focusing particularly on key moments of change in the history of the modern nation, such as: the national unification, the Fascist regime and the war, the post-war economic miracle, the women's movement in the 1970s, and immigration in the 21st century. 

We examine the ways in which representations of food construct or challenge specific images of Italy and Italians, and consider the problematic notion of authenticity so frequently applied to certain dishes, ingredients, or culinary habits. We explore the lasting importance of cities in Italian food history, and the nostalgia for the countryside that urban life projects onto food marketing in the late 20th century. The changing roles of women and their relation to food preparation and consumption, as well as to the transmission of knowledge, are central to the course inquiry. The iconic status of Italy as "Slow Food nation" on one hand, and the lamented "foodification" of the country on the other also constitute topics of discussion. Simona Bondavalli.

The course is conducted in English. 

Two 75-minute periods.

Italian: II. Intermediate

205 Intermediate Italian I 1Semester Offered: Fall

An intermediate language course designed to reinforce and build upon the communication and cultural competencies acquired at the introductory level, while improving reading comprehension, writing and conversational skills. A variety of texts from different genres, both written and audiovisual, provide the context for activities aimed at facilitating grammar review and expansion, vocabulary development, and writing practice. Short stories, essays, poems, newspaper articles, websites, pop songs, videos, and a feature film will provide material for analysis and discussion. Eugenio Giusti.

Prerequisite(s): ITAL 105-ITAL 106, ITAL 107 or permission of the instructor.

Electronic versions of required materials are not accepted.

Two 75-minute periods and one hour of conversation.

206 Intermediate Italian II 1Semester Offered: Spring

An upper-intermediate language and culture course designed to improve reading comprehension and refine oral and written expression. The reading of coming-of-age novel Io non ho paura (I am not scared) by Niccolò Ammaniti provides ample opportunities to discuss childhood activities, family life, regional and social differences, popular music, television, comic books, nature and landscape in 1970s Italy. Grammar review is conducted in context, while the novel's conversational style stimulates vocabulary expansion. We also analyze the film adaptation of the novel and discuss authorial choices in both media. Writing assignments range from analytical to creative, while brief presentations allow students to explore specific aspects of the novel and develop effective oral expression. Roberta Antognini.

Prerequisite(s): ITAL 205 or permission of the instructor.

Electronic versions of required materials are not accepted.

Two 75-minute periods and one hour of conversation.

214 Italian Folklore: Goddesses, Muses, Saints, and Black Madonnas 1

(Same as DRAM 214 and RELI 214) This course focuses on Italian folk traditions revolving around women - saints and Madonnas. Rooted in Catholic tradition, many rituals have permeated everyday culture and social structures of belief and behavior. This course takes us on a journey through time and space, traveling through centuries and different Italian regions. The case studies vary in genre, from the literary to the visual, from the kinetic to the culinary, and include: the mysticism of Saint Catherine of Siena; Beatrice as a muse and guide in Dante's Paradiso (The Divine Comedy); the tammuriata, a women's drumming and dance tradition for the Black Madonna of Montevergine; the symbolism of the Virgin Mary in Siena's Palio; women's healing ritual of tarantismo; feminism and the Black Madonna of Trastevere in Rome. We approach the cases through the lenses of Italian Studies, Women's Studies, Folklore, Performance Studies, and Contemplative Studies. The practical use of music, dance, drawing, journaling, and a variety of contemplative practices are part of the course. Conducted in English.

Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. May be counted towards the Italian major.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

217 Advanced Composition and Oral Expression 1Semester Offered: Fall

Topic for 2018/19a: "Pinocchio: A Multimedia Adventure." From best-selling children's book to Disney animated movie, from Italian prime-time television series to Japanese anime, the story of Pinocchio continues to fascinate children and adults all over the world. A careful reading of the original Italian book, in its historical and cultural context, introduces students to the values and self-image of Italy as they were communicated to children in the late 19th century. The book provides the basis for an exploration of its many audiovisual adaptations: film and television series, cartoons and pop songs. Vocabulary expansion, review of complex linguistic structures, introduction to textual and image analysis are among the course goals. In addition to reading and viewing assignments, regular writing, class discussion and short presentations allow students to practice written and oral expression. Simona Bondavalli.

Prerequisite(s): ITAL 205, ITAL 206 or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

218 On the Edge of Catastrophe: Giorgio Bassani's The Garden of the Finzi-Continis 1Semester Offered: Spring

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 a 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 language, history, literature, and culture.  Particular attention is devoted to the development of oral and written skills. Individual and group multi-media projects. Roberta Antognini.

Prerequisite(s): ITAL 206, ITAL 217 or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

220 Thirteenth-Sixteenth Century Italian Culture 1

From the origins of the Italian language to the masterpieces of the Renaissance. The goal of this course is to introduce students to some of the major authors of the first four centuries of Italian literature, their cultural and philosophical background, and the reading of their works in the Italian vernacular. With the use of multi-media supports, and applying a wide range of strategies to experience, comprehend, interpret, and evaluate the texts, we will read brief but significant selections from each author's major works. Among others, we will read: Dante's Vita Nuova and Divine Comedy, Petrarch's Canzoniere (lyric poetry); Boccaccio's Decameron (fiction); Ariosto's Orlando Furioso (epic poetry); Compiuta Donzella, Stampa, and Franco on gender and literature. Eugenio Giusti.

Prerequisite(s): ITAL 217, ITAL 218 or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

222 Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Italian Culture 1

Italian Cinema and Society: Contemporary Italy. The course introduces students to the transformation of Italian society from the second half of the 20th century to the present through its cinematic representation: movements of protest in the Sixties, the political terrorism of the Seventies, the crisis of ideology in the Eighties, the fall of the First Republic and the emergence of Berlusconi in the Nineties, globalized crime and post-ideological forms of social commitment in the new millennium. While previous experience with film studies is not required, the course is designed to train students to approach film critically and become familiar with the basic terms of film analysis in Italian. The viewing and discussion of films is accompanied by critical readings and regular writing practice. Films by Marco Bellocchio, Nanni Moretti, Matteo Garrone, and Marco Tullio Giordana, among others. The course is conducted in Italian. Films are in Italian with English subtitles. Simona Bondavalli.

Prerequisite(s): ITAL 217, ITAL 218 or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods accompanied by film screenings.

237 Finding Dante: A Reader's Guide to Getting Out of Hell 1

As Jorge Luis Borges–the great Argentinian writer–once said, no one should deny oneself the pleasure of reading Dante's Divine Comedy. This course offers you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to read and discuss a masterpiece of world literature that inspired revolutionary artworks (such as Rodin's "The Kiss" and "The Thinker"), and changed the lives of Michelangelo, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Franz Liszt, J.F. Kennedy, and many others at different times and in different walks of life. An epic poem about a journey of self-discovery, the Comedy defies all assumptions about literary genres, styles, and the meaning of narrative. The poem's most daring challenge, however, confronts readers on their existential and ethical beliefs. Written during the dark times of Dante's exile, in a world ridden with political instability, the Comedy voices a poet's claim to have conquered death, only to discover his own inherent fragility and need for others. Such claim questions our modern understanding of the bonds that tie any individual to the whole of humanity. Balancing a full reading of the entire poem in translation, with in-depth discussions of the text, this course takes you on a journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, addressing the same existential questions faced by the author: why is it worth living in the face of evil and violence? And what is our duty as members of the human community? Filippo Gianferrari.

Open to all classes. May be counted towards the Italian major.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

250 Italian Cinema in English 1

Italian cinema is studied through interdisciplinary analyses of historical, social and political changes in Italy. From Fascism to post-war reconstruction, to neo-capitalism and the troubles of the '68 generation, and finally to the current national crisis of identity, we explore the cinematic power to symbolize as a matter of privilege. Class, gender, race, and the normative State are concepts through which we examine the paradoxes of an increasingly multi-cultural and multi-ethnic nation. Close readings of films explore the genres, ideologies, and filmic techniques of important trends and phases in Italian film: the Neorealism of the 40s, the auteur cinema of the 50s, 60s and 70s, the political films of the 80s, and the postmodern satires of current directors. Cinematic interpretive skills are developed through visual and linguistic exercises, group projects, and film-making. Conducted in English. Rodica Blumenfeld.

Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. May be counted towards the Italian major.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

255 Four Italian Filmmakers (in English) 1Semester Offered: Fall

(Same as FILM 255) Close analysis of the narrative and visual styles of Bernardo Bertolucci, Federico Fellini, Gianni Amelio and Nanni Moretti, in the context of post-war Italian cinema and culture. Theoretical literature on these directors and on approaches to the interpretation of film-such as psychoanalytic film theory, feminist theory, deconstruction, and post-colonial analyses of dominant discourses-aid us in addressing questions of style and of political and social significance. Cinematic interpretive skills are developed through visual and linguistic exercises, group projects, and film-making. Conducted in English. Rodica Blumenfeld.

Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. May be counted towards the Italian major.

Two 75-minute periods and two film screenings.

275 Roots and Branches: Italian Renaissance Authors and Their Impact on Early Modern Western Culture 1

(Same as MRST 275) The works of Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) and Giovanni Boccaccio, arguably the greatest authors of Italian Humanism, had a lasting impact on early modern western culture, from the literary, to the philosophical, from the theatrical to the visual. In this course we explore the ways in which Petrarch's poetic style (Canzoniere)  and epistolary writing (Familiar and Seniles Letters) become a canon for sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italian and European poets (including William Shakespeare), and such essayists as Michel de Montaigne.  Boccaccio's invention of the novella genre and the writing of the Decameron  inspired not only contemporary and Renaissance authors like Geoffrey Chaucer and Marguerite of Navarre, but also theatrical production of the period (Bibbiena, Machiavelli, Shakespeare.  Boccaccio's erudite catalogue of famous women (De Mulieribus Claris) can be read as partial subtext to Christine de Pizan's The Book of the City of Ladies,  and the iconography of Renaissance visual artists, like Botticelli and Titian, can be explored as based on Petrarch's and Boccaccio's texts. Conducted in English. Eugenio Giusti.

Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.  May be counted towards the Italian major.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

280 Surviving Fascism: Jewish Life in Pre-war and Post-war Italy 1Semester Offered: Fall

In this course we study the socio-cultural history and historiography of Italian Fascism and the Nazi camps, asking how memory and resistance in play a paradoxical role in Italian-Jewish lterature and Italian cinema in relation to the the Holocaust. The methodology is interdisciplinary, including such philosophy, psychoanalysis, and Shoah studies. By employing various theories of the Other and applying them to texts, we examine the Jewish "catastrophe" through close readings of Primo Levi, Natalia Ginzburg, and Giorgio Bassani, and through in-depth analysis of cinematic works such as Federico Fellini's Amarcord, Bernardo Bertolucci's The Conformist, Lina Wertmüller's Sevean Beauties, Francesco Rosi's The Truce, and Oren Jacoby's My Italian Secret, among others. Taught in English. Rodica Blumenfeld.

Open to Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors. May be counted towards the Italian major.

Two 75-minute periods accompanied by film screenings.

290 Field Work 0.5 to 1Semester Offered: Fall or Spring

297 Reading Course 0.5

Not offered in 2018/19.

298 Independent Work 0.5 to 1Semester Offered: Fall or Spring

Italian: III. Advanced

301 Senior Seminar 1Semester Offered: Spring

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 2018/19b:  The Impossible Task of Translating: An Introduction of Literary Translation from Italian to English. Whether translation between two languages is at all possible is a question as old as translating itself, but no matter how many answers have been given, the truth of the matter remains that we have always translated and we will continue to do so. Translation studies have flourished in the last few years and literary translation is more and more considered a creative undertaking rather than an unoriginal and quite tedious activity. Given the intrinsic bilingualism of the foreign literature classroom, translation is particularly intertwined with teaching and learning and becomes an integral part of the course. As a result, many students choose to complete their B.A. in Italian with a literary translation. Translating is above all a decision process– careful interpretation and intelligent notation– and as such it requires passion, accuracy, careful attention to details, together with a knowledge and understanding of both the source and the target language and culture. This course aims to give students of Italian some insight into the field –historical and theoretical–as well as a solid grasp of the tools required to be a literary translator. While analyzing different translation strategies and doing practical exercises, such as contrasting and comparing different versions of the same source text, students devote time to studying not only Italian grammar but also English. By the end of the semester, they produce a final original translation, accompanied by a "translation diary," a metatextual description of the problems encountered during their work. Our theoretical background is Umberto Eco's considerations on translating, both as a writer and as a translator. Roberta Antognini.

Prerequisite(s): ITAL 220, ITAL 222 or ITAL 217, ITAL 218 with permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

302 Senior Project 0.5Semester Offered: Fall

The course is intended to provide Italian majors, who have chosen to produce a senior project, with a collective and regular learning environment. Through regular group and individual meetings, students receive systematic guidance from their instructor, and discuss problems they encounter in various stages of their project creation with both the instructor and their peers. Simona Bondavalli.

 

 

Prerequisite(s): one 300-level course.

Yearlong course (ITAL 302-ITAL 303).

Two 75-minute periods.

303 Senior Project 0.5Semester Offered: Fall

The course is intended to provide Italian majors, who have chosen to produce a senior project, with a collective and regular learning environment. They will receive systematic guidance from their instructor, and discuss problems they encounter in various stages of their project creation with both the instructor and their peers. The class meets three times a semester for two hours. One hour individual meetings are scheduled bi-weekly. Simona Bondavalli.

Prerequisite(s): one 300-level course.

Yearlong course (ITAL 302-ITAL 303).

320 The Language of Desire and the Modern Self 1

The course explores ways in which early writers in the Italian vernacular developed the modern concept of selfhood and articulated it through the language of desire. We investigate intimate expressions of both spiritual and physical longing, and analyze how the affirmation of one's desire requires striking a balance with, or even bending, social norms of gender, ethics, spirituality, and class. We read texts and selections from, among others, San Francis of Assisi, Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio, Isotta Nogarola, Castiglione, Gaspara Stampa, Veronica Franco e Michelangelo. Eugenio Giusti.

Prerequisite(s): ITAL 220, ITAL 222; or ITAL 217, ITAL 218 with permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2018/19.

One 3-hour period.

331 Heroes, Paladins, and Non-existent Knights: The Italian Epic Tradition from Charlemagne to Calvino. 1

A study of the epic tradition from the early Carolingian cantari and Arthurian romances of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries to the leading Italian epics of the sixteenth century written at the Ferrara Renaissance court and their great influence on later literature, music, and paintings. Readings include selections from the Chanson de Roland and the Roman de Tristan, Pulci's Morgante, Bolardo's Orlando Innamorato, Ariosto's Orlando furioso, Torquato Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata, and Italo Calvino's parody Il cavaliere inesistente, as a contemporary reference to the traditional epic poetry. This book, epitomizing Calvino's long interest in the epic poem, provides a good basis for analyzing the archetypal character of Roland, his stoic and ascetic demeanor, and his transformation through the centuries until he becomes indeed "nonexistent." Roberta Antognini.

 

Prerequisite: ITAL 220, 220 or 218 with permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2018/19.

One 3-hour period.

338 Literary Masterpieces: 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. Roberta Antognini.

Prerequisite(s): ITAL 220, ITAL 222; or ITAL 217, ITAL 218 with permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2018/19.

One 3-hour period.

342 Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron: The "Novella" as a Microcosm 1Semester Offered: Spring

A reading of the one hundred tales with specific emphasis on social, cultural and gender issues of the later Middle Ages, as represented in the novella genre. Particular attention is devoted to the Decameron's frame as a connective tissue for the one hundred tales and a space for gender debate and social re-creation. Reference is made to some of the Decameron's subtexts (Apuleius' The Golden Ass, the Novellino, the French Fabliaux, and Courtly Literature). Critical interpretations are analyzed after the reading of the entire masterpiece. Issues related to textual censorship, and contemporary re-writings through different media are addressed. Eugenio Giusti.

Prerequisite(s): ITAL 220, ITAL 222; or ITAL 217, ITAL 218 with permission of the instructor.

One 3-hour period.

375 Fictions of Youth: Youth Culture in Twentieth-Century Italian Literature 1

The course examines the relationship between youth and literature in post-WWII Italy from a double perspective: adolescents as a literary subject, as protagonists of fiction and non-fiction, and as authors. Variously associated with innocence and vitality, innovation and peril, self-creation and anti-authoritarianism, youth long embodied individual and social ideals and fears in literature. In the twentieth century, it also increasingly suggested uncertainty and incompletion. As adolescence acquired importance in both the historical landscape and collective imagination, its symbolic connotations became progressively unstable. When young people wrote about themselves and their peers, first-hand experience mixed with inherited notions in unexpected ways. Using the Bildungsroman as a narrative model for the representation of youth in modern fiction, we study the different ways in which European and American coming-of-age novels influence modern Italian literature. The significance of youth in post-Fascist Italy, the construction of a generational identity through media and popular culture, and the creation of a new literary language for the expression of youth are some of the topics we address. Readings by Pasolini, Moravia, Tondelli, Brizzi, Santacroce, and others. Simona Bondavalli.

Prerequisite(s): ITAL 220, ITAL 222; or ITAL 217, ITAL 218 with permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2018/19.

One 2-hour period.

379 Food and Fiction in Modern Italy 1

The course investigates the role of food as both subject and metaphor of modern Italian literature and film in the 19th and 20th century. While the representation of eating and cooking practices contributes to the realistic mode in fiction, food often mediates memories, anxieties, and desires in narratives of personal or national coming-of-age. Even non-fictional forms of food writing, such as cookbooks or documentary films, contribute to the narrative of Italian national unification and modernization as much as canonical novels and cinema. We analyze both written texts and film, try some of the dishes described, and explore the relationship between writing, cooking, reading, and eating, as acts of creation and fruition that shape personal, regional, and national identity. Tradition and innovation; scarcity and excess; inclusion and exclusion; taste and disgust; local, national, and global trends are among the ideas structuring class discussion and writing. In Italian. Simona Bondavalli.

Prerequisite(s): ITAL 220, ITAL 222; or ITAL 217, ITAL 218 with permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2018/19.

One 3-hour period.

380 Modernity in Italy 1

This course explores different manifestations of modernity in Italian literature and culture in the early twentieth century. We will consider both objective and subjective transformations, focusing on the impact of urban life, war, Fascism, and technological modernization on literary creation and its aesthetic and social function. How do Italian writers of the early 20th century relate to modernity and define it? How are the ideas of progress, tradition, and avant-garde defined, expressed and questioned? How does the affirmation of mass culture affect the perceived role of poets? How do artists and intellectuals redefine their role in relation to bourgeois materialism, war propaganda, censorship, or spectacular politics? These are some of the questions that will inform textual analysis, class discussion and students' writing. In studying specifically Italian modernism, we also investigate how its origins at the peripheries of the nation shape its relation to Italian history and literary tradition. The texts examined include poetry, narrative, theory, and programmatic writings by such authors as Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Guido Gozzano, Aldo Palazzeschi, Luigi Pirandello, Italo Svevo, Eugenio Montale among others. Simona Bondavalli.

Prerequisite: ITAL 220, ITAL 222; or ITAL 217, ITAL 218 with permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2018/19.

One 2-hour period.

381 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 Pier Paolo Pasolini's Mamma Roma, Federico Fellini's City of Women, Lina Wertmüller's Love and Anarchy, Bernardo Bertolucci's Besieged, Pappi Corsicato's Libera. Readings of pertinent works from feminist film theory in English and Italian. Roberta Antognini.

Prerequisite(s): ITAL 220, ITAL 222; or ITAL 217, ITAL 218 with the permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

384 Folk Culture 1

When Italy became a kingdom in 1861, the question of a "national language" came to the forefront: What should standard Italian be? As language defines the identity of the speaker, another related question began to rise: What does it mean to be Italian? Throughout the 20th century the choice between the use of standard Italian and the various regional dialects became a socio-political choice. The aim of this class is to select specific case studies to look at: the construction of an "Italian identity;" how dialects have survived the unification of standard Italian; the use of folk tales and folk songs to maintain a people's memory, rituals, and local tradition; the artistic folk revival movements of the 1960s and the 1990s; the use of dialects in cinema, music and theatre. 

Prerequisite(s): ITAL 220, ITAL 222, or ITAL 217, ITAL 218 with permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

385 Three Contemporary Women Writers: Dacia Maraini, Rossana Campo, Laila Wadia 1Semester Offered: Fall

This course explores new literary styles that reflect the new freedoms of contemporary Italian women and women writers. We study the texts of these writers from the 1970s to 1990s, from the early days of feminist activism, to recent transformations in literature and politics, asking whether postmodernism leads to the de-ideologization of feminism. Rodica Blumenfeld.

Prerequisite(s): ITAL 220, ITAL 222; or ITAL 217, ITAL 218 with permission of the instructor.

One 3-hour period.

389 The Impossible Task of Translating: An Introduction of Literary Translation from Italian to English 1

Whether translation between two languages is at all possible is a question as old as translating itself, but no matter how many answers have been given, the truth of the matter remains that we have always translated and we will continue to do so. Translation studies have flourished in the last few years and literary translation is more and more considered a creative undertaking rather than an unoriginal and quite tedious activity. Given the intrinsic bilingualism of the foreign literature classroom, translation is particularly intertwined with teaching and learning and becomes an integral part of the course. As a result, many students choose to complete their B.A. in Italian with a literary translation. Translating is above all a decision process-- careful interpretation and intelligent notation-- and as such it requires passion, accuracy, careful attention to details, together with a knowledge and understanding of both the source and the target language and culture. This course aims to give students of Italian some insight into the field --historical and theoretical--as well as a solid grasp of the tools required to be a literary translator. While analyzing different translation strategies and doing practical exercises, such as contrasting and comparing different versions of the same source text, students devote time to studying not only Italian grammar but also English. By the end of the semester, they produce a final original translation, accompanied by a "translation diary," a metatextual description of the problems encountered during their work. Our theoretical background is Umberto Eco's considerations on translating, both as a writer and as a translator. Roberta Antognini.

Prerequisite(s): ITAL 220, ITAL 222; or ITAL 217, ITAL 218 with permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2018/19.

Two 75-minute periods.

399 Senior Independent Work 0.5 to 1Semester Offered: Fall or Spring