Italian Studies at Brown not only teaches language and literature to students but guides their research toward problems that are cross-disciplinary in both content and method, rather than merely confirming a fixed canon or predetermined field of study. To investigate these problems, we can draw at Brown on traditional alliances with Anthropology, Art History, Classics, Comparative Literature, History, Musicology, and Philosophy, but we also join forces with disciplines such as History of Science, Film Studies, Cultural Studies, and Gender Studies.
For additional information, please visit the department's website: https://www.brown.edu/academics/italian-studies/
ITAL 0100. Elementary Italian.
Elective for students without previous training in Italian. No credit for first semester alone. Fundamentals of Italian grammar and development of skills in speaking, comprehension, and writing. Overview of contemporary Italian society. Four meetings per week, audio and video work, two Italian films. Note: This is a year course.
ITAL 0110. Intensive Elementary Italian.
Covers the same material presented in Italian 100-200. One semester equivalent to the standard two-semester sequence. Daily meetings plus audio and video assignments.
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ITAL 0200. Elementary Italian.
See Elementary Italian (ITAL 0100) for course description.
ITAL 0300. Intermediate Italian I.
Review of the fundamentals of grammar, with emphasis on speaking and writing. Reading of representative short stories. Weekly compositions, presentations, and a paper. Three Italian films. Prerequisite: ITAL 0100-0200, or ITAL 0110, or placement by examination. Requirement for enrollment in the Bologna Program.
ITAL 0400. Intermediate Italian II.
Review of specific grammar problems. Reading of one novel and newspaper articles. Compositions and oral presentations. Three Italian films. Prerequisite: ITAL 0300, or placement by examination.
ITAL 0500. Advanced Italian I.
The purpose of this advanced course is to improve speaking and writing skills by offering extensive practice in a variety of styles and forms. Students will discuss various aspects of contemporary Italian culture. Reading, analysis and class discussion of texts (articles, songs, pictures, short stories, movies and television), oral presentations, based on research, and a writing portfolio (compositions, essays, blog and a journal). Prerequisites: ITAL 0400, or placement by examination.
ITAL 0550. Gold, Wool and Stone: Painters and Bankers in Renaissance Tuscany (HIAA 0550).
Interested students must register for HIAA 0550.
ITAL 0560. Constructing the Eternal City: Popes and Pilgrims in Renaissance Rome (HIAA 0560).
Interested students must register for HIAA 0560.
ITAL 0600. Advanced Italian II.
A sixth semester course with intensive practice in speaking and writing. Short stories, poems, music, and movies will be used to discuss Italian Society from the Second World War through the present. We will explore some important themes--family, religion, gender, and politics. Class discussion, compositions, oral presentations, and a final paper. Prerequisite: ITAL 0500, placement by examination.
ITAL 0750. Truth on Trial: Justice in Italy.
This seminar analyzes controversial trials in Italy between 1500 and 1800. From the persecution of heretics to the trial of Galileo and the increasing use of courts by marginal members of society, the judicial arena was crucial in defining political, social, scientific, and religious truth. Were law courts successful sites for the resolving what constituted deviance, legitimate knowledge and individual rights?
ITAL 0751. When Leaders Lie: Machiavelli in International Context.
This course examines the writing of Niccolò Machiavelli, a Renaissance author praised and condemned for his insistence on analyzing the realities of politics, rather than the ideals of political behavior. Machiavelli's view of the tenuous relationship of ethics to politics has cast him as the founder of political science and the proponent of "consequential morality" or the notion that the ends justify the means. We will also examine precedents for his ideas in the Greek and Islamic world and conclude by examining the relevance of Machiavelli's insights for understanding political practices and ethics in the twenty-first century. Enrollment limited to 19 first year students. Instructor permission required.
ITAL 0810. Performing Italy - Body, Voice and Politics: a Journey within Italian Theatre.
How does performance comment on, interact with, and influence society? And to what extent is this question culturally specific? Performing Italy focuses on Nobel-prize-winner Dario Fo, Franca Rame, Commedia dell’Arte, and Teatro di Narrazione. Engaging with theatrical materials, we will conduct comparative work driven by the students’ own experiences and explore how Italian theater intervened in historical and political discourses within Italian society between the 1960s and the 2000s. Topics will include: the years of lead (1970s terrorism); the influence of the Catholic church on Italian society; the Italian State and organized crime; gender and sexuality in modern Italian society.
ITAL 0950. Introduction to Italian Cinema: Italian Film and History.
How do we visualize the past? How has cinema influenced our understanding of contemporary history? The course will focus on how key moments of 20th-century History (Fascism, WWII, the Mafia and Terrorism) have been described or fictionalized by major Italian film-makers (including Benigni, Bertolucci, Cavani, Fellini and Pasolini). Subtitled films, readings and discussion groups. Reserved for First Year students. Enrollment limited to: 19.
ITAL 0951. The Grand Tour, or a Room with a View: Italy and the Imagination of Others.
Italy has for many decades been the place to which people traveled in order to both encounter something quite alien to their own identities and yet a place where they were supposed to find themselves, indeed to construct their proper selves. This course introduces students to some of the most important texts that describe this "grand tour." Readings, both literary and travelogues by Goethe, De Stael, Henry James, Hawthorne, Freud, among others, and films like "A Room With a View" - all in order to determine the ways in which Italy "means" for the cultural imagination of Western civilization. Enrollment limited to 19 first year students.
ITAL 0975. Let’s Eat, Italy: Italian History and Culture through Food.
We are what we eat. This course focuses on Italian traditions and its daily culinary practices to understand how food shaped and continues to shape Italian culture and identity. We will explore the historical, economic and social factors that have influenced the development of a national cuisine. How does food connect memory and identity? Sources considered are family memoirs and cookbooks; political programs of Futurism and Fascism and their relationship to Italian foodways; food representations in literature and cinema. Course will look at Italian - American cuisine and its key role in shaping identities in the new world.
ITAL 0981. When Leaders Lie: Machiavelli in International Context.
This course examines the writing of Niccolò Machiavelli, a Renaissance author praised and condemned for his insistence on analyzing the realities of politics, rather than the ideals of political behavior. Machiavelli's view of the tenuous relationship of ethics to politics has cast him as the founder of political science and the proponent of "consequential morality" or the notion that the ends justify the means. We will also examine precedents for his ideas and conclude by examining the relevance of Machiavelli's insights for understanding political practices and ethics in the twenty-first century.
ITAL 0985. Visions of War: Representing Italian Modern Conflicts.
This interdisciplinary course addresses issues of war within Twentieth century Italy. As a phenomenon that crucially defines the "short century," war occupied a central role in various cultural products. This class will embrace fictional, non-fictional, musical, and visual texts that recount the experience of conflicts as seen through the eyes of Italian intellectuals. We will discuss works by authors such as Ungaretti, Calvino, Levi, and Monicelli, and analyze sources such as soldier's songs and military posters. Readings will range from literary theory and trauma studies to history. Prerequisite: ITAL 0600 or Brown in Bologna Program. The course will be conducted in Italian.
ITAL 1000A. Luigi Pirandello: Masks and Society.
Twentieth century Italian society as seen through the eyes of an outstanding contemporary author, Nobel Prize winner Luigi Pirandello. Focuses on the relationship between literature, theatre, and social reality through linguistic and stylistic analysis of texts (fiction and play) and their filmic or other media (e.g. radio) adaptations. Conducted in Italian, as a seminar-type discussion followed by writing assignments.
ITAL 1000B. Reading Recent Italian Fiction.
Readings of contemporary Italian fiction. The course aims to develop students written and oral expression in Italian. A broad range of themes will be discussed. Prerequisite: ITAL 0600, a semester in Bologna, or by placement.
ITAL 1000C. Nord - Sud e Identità Italiana.
Sebbene l'Italia sia da tempo uno stato unitario, permangono ampie differenze tra le varie regioni, specialmente tra Nord e Sud. Tra gli studiosi e' sempre vivo il dibattito sull'identità italiana. Facendo ricordo a materiali letterari, cinematografici e d'attualità in una prospettiva interdisciplinare, ci porremo la domanda: esistono realtà che possono definire l'Italia o sarebbe più corretto parlara di "Italie"?
ITAL 1000D. Italian National Identity: Criticisms and Crises.
This course investigates Italian identity since its inception in 1860 to the present through multiple perspectives: literature, history, politics, film, music and art. We will focus on important crisis points in this trajectory: the founding of the national state, the collapse of liberalism and the fascist experiment, the birth of the republic and Italy in the new Europe. In English.
ITAL 1000E. Masterpieces of Italian Cinema - Capolavori del cinema italiano.
The course will consist of a broad and varied sampling of classic Italian films. We will consider the works which typify major directors such as Rossellini, De Sica, Visconti, Fellini, Pasolini, Antonioni, Germi, Risi, Scola, Olmi, and Rosi. The aims of the course is offering a historical survey, and discuss the way how Italian cinema has reflected, amplified, and criticized important moments of Italian history, books and national identity. Classes will include close visual analysis of films, and its relations with the sisters arts (literature, painting, music). The course will be taught in Italian. Prerequisite: ITAL 0600.
ITAL 1000F. 20th Century Italian Poetry.
This course examines representative poets and poetic movements of Italy from the late 19th through the 20th centuries within and cultural and historical context. We will read works by internationally renowned poets such as D'Annunzio, Montale, Quasimodo, Marinetti, Ungaretti and Pasolini, and look into the development of Italian poetry through the major literary and artistic movements of the 20th century, including Crepuscularism, Futurism, Hermeticism, Neo-Realism and the Neo Avant-garde. We will address issues related to the shaping of a literary canon and consider the ways in which poetry reflects and defines a culture. The course will also incorporate translation and composition exercises as a technique of text analysis. Intensive practice in spoken and written Italian is an essential component of this course. Conducted in Italian. Advanced knowledge of Italian required. Prerequisites: ITAL 0600 or permission by the Director of the Italian Language Program.
ITAL 1000G. Italian Identity.
This course examines the process of the construction of Italian identity from National Unification until today. Through a close reading of Manzoni, De Amicis, Verga and Lampedusa’s works, we investigate the formation of Italian identity through language, literature, food, and opera. We will also examine the problems of Post-Unification Italy: the economic and cultural gap between North and South and the Southern Issue. Finally, we will examine documentaries and readings that assess Italy today to analyze the feeling of not-belonging and estrangement, and the problematic search for a cohesive identity in a multicultural Italy within the European Union. Taught in Italian.
ITAL 1000H. Resounding Cinema.
This course explores the significance of sound, noise and music in Italian film: from recording, editing, mixing, to spatializing, emotionalizing and politicizing through the score. We will watch, and listen to, films by major Italian directors (Fellini, Antonioni and Pasolini) who worked ‘ear to ear’ with such award-winner composers as Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone. Materials include also exemplary horror and comedy genre films. The synergetic impact of sound will be discussed drawing upon critical listening and elaboration of most influential sound theories.
ITAL 1010. Dante in English Translation: Dante's World and the Invention of Modernity.
Primarily for students with no knowledge of Italian. Given in English. Concentrators in Italian should enroll in ITAL 1610; they are expected to read the material in the original. Close study and discussion of Dante's deployment of systems of retribution in the Inferno and rehabilitation in the Purgatorio with a view to imagining a society based on love and resistant to the effects of nascent capitalism and the money economy. Dante's work summarizes and transforms the entire ancient and medieval tradition of literature, philosophy, and science.
ITAL 1020. Boccaccio's Decameron.
Close study and discussion of Boccaccio's collection of 100 tales told by ten young Florentines over a period of two weeks, while in flight from the devastating plague of 1348. The Decameron defined the standard of Italian prose narrative for four centuries and deeply influenced Renaissance drama. We will also pay particular attention to visualizations and adaptations of the Decameron into a variety of media, from manuscript illumination to painting, theatre and film. Students will contribute to the Decameron Web, the award-winning Boccaccio web site administered by the department of Italian Studies. Sections in English and Italian. Enrollment limited to 40.
ITAL 1029. World Cinema in a Global Context.
Introduction to World Cinema and history through an original lens: The Cinema Ritrovato film festival at the Cineteca of Bologna, one of Europe's most renowned film restoration centers. Looking at World Cinema as a polycentric global phenomenon, students will become acquainted with recently restored mainstream, art house, alternative, experimental and avant-garde films, ranging from the silent period to world classics and Italian neorealism. Students will also attend a production workshop at the Bologna Cineteca, with of one of Italy's young award winning directors. Lectures and seminars in English by Brown and University of Bologna scholars and screenings.
ITAL 1030A. Fellini.
The career of one of the undisputed masters of 20th-century film, revisited on the 20th anniversary of his death: from his contributions to neo-realism (Oscar nomination as screenwriter of Rossellini's Open City) to the "magic" realism of the 1950s (Fellini's first of four Oscars for La strada); and from his modernist masterpieces (La Dolce Vita, 81/2) to his meta-cinematic fictions (Intervista, The Voice of the Moon). In reviewing Fellini's oeuvre, we will focus on issues of authorship, art film and psychoanalysis, myth and memory, realism and hyperrealism. Taught in English with a discussion group in Italian.
ITAL 1030B. Modernity, Italian Style.
The Golden Age of Italian Film. The legacy of Neo-Realism and the rise of the New Wave, against the backdrop of the neo-capitalist modernization of Italian society in the 1960s. Review the cinematic construction of the Modern in 11 B/W films from a six year-period (1960-66), focusing on issues of space/composition, time/narrative, fashion/form, and genre/gender. Analyze and discuss major works by Fellini, Antonioni, Rosi, Olmi, Germi, Bertolucci and Bellocchio within the context of European Art cinema and the politics of Auteurs, and in light of the most influential critical theories of the 1960s (Bazin, Metz, Pasolini and Deleuze). Taught in English. All films subtitled. Discussion group in Italian.
ITAL 1262. Women, Gender, and Feminism in Early Modern Italy.
This course explores the variety of Italian women’s histories, issues of gender and sexuality, and ingenious responses to circumvent the social, economic, religious, and political limitations placed upon them during the early modern period (1400-1800). Italian women produced some of the foundational texts of historical feminism, the intellectual and cultural movement that advanced the idea of equality across genders and the necessity of equal access to opportunity and education. This course surveys the alternatives proposed to the gender hierarchies of Italian society and will include selections from archival documents, letters, literature, treatises, and the visual arts.
ITAL 1310. Literature of the Middle Ages.
Readings in early Italian literature, including religious writers and love poets of the 13th century, Petrarch, Boccaccio, the Humanists of 15th-century Florence, Ferrara, etc.
ITAL 1320. Great Authors and Works of Italian Renaissance.
The major authors and trends of 16th-century Italy (Machiavelli, Giucciardini, Ariosto, Tasso, classicism and anti-classicism, petrarchism, mannerism).
ITAL 1340. The Panorama and 19th-Century Visual Culture.
Throughout the 19th-century, the Panorama was a wildly popular ‘vision machine,' the model for many later attractions from theme park rides to immersive educational spectacles like IMAX movies. In this course, we will use 21st-century vision technology to study the role of these cultural artifacts, optical media and storytelling devices in the shaping of 19th-century "virtual reality." We will focus on three case studies: the Garibaldi panorama at the Brown library ; the panorama of the Pilgrim's Progress at the Saco, Maine museum; and the Whaling Voyage 'round the world, at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Taught in English.
ITAL 1350A. Transmedia Storytelling and the New Italian Epic..
Transmedia Storytelling and the New Italian Epic. "New Italian Epic" describes a network of stories blending fiction and non-fiction across a variety of media, from books to blogs and zines, from feature or documentary films to TV/YouTube series and video games. These Unidentified Narrative Objects often explore conflictual aspects of contemporary society, such as migration, organized crime, trafficking and corruption, environmental upheavals, from a militant perspective. We will look at the way these UNOs both exploit and evade technological and industrial constraints in order to shape their realistic, utopian or dystopian strategies. Sections in both Italian and English.
ITAL 1350B. Non Fiction.
What is fiction and what is nonfiction? How to read a nonfictional text (diary, description, memoir, etc). Examples from well known Italian writers and further examples from photo and documentary cinema. Taught in English.
ITAL 1360. Renaissance Italy.
This course explores the history of the Italian Renaissance, a period of remarkable intellectual, artistic, and cultural change between the fourteenth and the sixteenth centuries. Renaissance innovations will be considered in a broad context: how did the Renaissance happen and how far did its transformations extend in society? Course topics include the changes in learning, art, political theory, and science, as well as transformations in family life, court culture, urban and rural society. Enrollment limited to 40.
ITAL 1380. Italy: From Renaissance to Enlightenment.
Between 1500 and 1800, Italians made significant contributions to European debates about the boundaries between orthodoxy and heresy; the legitimacy of social and gender hierarchies; the future of republics in an age of empires; and the possibilities for reform. Works by Machiavelli, Bernini, Galileo, Tarabotti, Goldoni, and Beccaria (among others) enrich this survey of ealry modern Italian history.
ITAL 1390. Modern Italy.
A look at the dramatic events that transformed Italy over the past two centuries and the ways that this history has been represented in film. For the nineteenth century, the focus is on the violent birth of the modern Italian nation-state. For the twentieth century, the course focuses on the drama of Benito Mussolini and the birth, life, and death of Italian Fascism. In addition to examining the transformation of Italian history, the course investigates the many issues involved in turning a book of history into a commercial film.
ITAL 1400A. "Italian (Mediterranean) Orientalisms" Major Italian Writers and Filmmakers.
Major Italian writers and filmmakers (including Amelio, Antonioni, Bertolucci, Celati and Pasolini) have attempted to incorporate non-European (African, American, Asian or Balkan) perspectives in their work (fiction, travelogues, documentaries etc.). The course will discuss these works, giving particular attention to their reception in the cultures they portray. Subtitled films, readings and discussion group in English.
ITAL 1400B. Fascism and Antifascism: Culture and Literature between the Two World Wars.
Introduces and examines the most significant aspects of literary, cultural, and political life in Italy between the two world wars. The most significant tendencies in the various literary genres (novel, descriptive prose, mass market fiction, propaganda, poetry) are considered against the backdrop of a general historical and literary overview and situated in the context of the debate carried forward by the most important literary periodicals of the '20s, '30s, and '40s, from La Ronda to Solari.
ITAL 1400C. Literature and Adolescence.
From Collodi's Pinocchio and De Amicis's Cuore to works by Saba, Pavese, D'Arzo, Moravia, and Calvino, the course focuses on some of the most remarkable literary treatments of childhood and coming of age in late 19th- and 20th-century Italian literature. In Italian.
ITAL 1400D. Photography and Literature: Italian Examples of an Uncanny Relationship.
The course will explore the interrelation of Italian Literature and Photography from early Moderism (Luigi Pirandello) to post- Modernism (Antonio Tabucci). Major theoretical essays on photography (Sontag, Barthes) will set the stage for close readings of narrative texts by two of the most important authors of Twentieth Century Italian literature.
ITAL 1400F. Twentieth Century Italian Culture.
Contact the department for course information.
ITAL 1400H. Early Modern Italy.
A survey of Italian history between 1500 and 1800. Italy's varied political cultures from absolutism to republicanism; impact of Catholic reformation and the baroque; the woman's question and transformations in family life and the social order; the contribution of Italian writers to the debates of the Enlightenment and ordinary people to social change in the eighteenth century.
ITAL 1400I. Rituals, Myths and Symbols.
The course will analyze the diverse forms of sacralization and the esthetics of politics utilized by nationalism and Italian fascism to encourage participation by the masses in a collective liturgy. The study will begin with the Risorgimento and the nationalization of the Italians. It will then turn to the end of the nineteenth century and the period preceding the First World War with the birth of futurism and the Nationalist Party. It will look at the fascist creation of a symbolic-monumental machinery capable of inventing new rituals or of re-elaborating old myths and giving life to innovative symbolic forms. The final part will be dedicated to the years of the regime and the progressive acceleration of its fascistization of society. The analysis from inside the symbolic universe of these political movements will instead be effected through the study of culture, art, the collective imaginary, the lifestyles, the dispositions, the ceremonies, the cults and the rites of these two new lay and secular religions.
ITAL 1400J. The Many Faces of Casanova.
Philosopher or charlatan, magician or trickster, seducer or seduced, Casanova's life contains multitudes. His name, unlike those of Sade or Sacher Masoch, does not designate a "perversion," but a sort of exuberant hetero-sexual "normalcy." He is the Venetian alter-ego (and possibly real-life inspiration) of Mozart's Don Juan. In this course, we will dissect the myth of Casanova, from his own monumental autobiography to novels, films and plays which cast him as protagonist (films by Federico Fellini, Ettore Scola, Lasse Hallström, impersonations by Donald Sutherland, Marcello Mastroianni and Heath Leger). Lectures in English; discussion group in Italian.
ITAL 1400K. Italy as Other.
This course traces the variety of ways in which Italy has been viewed as the Other of the European and American imagination. We will read some of the key texts in a long tradition that traverses a broad spectrum of disciplinary fields: literature, art history, travel narrative and cinema. Works include the writings of De Stael, Goethe, Stendhal, James among others.
ITAL 1400L. History of Masculinity and Femininity from the Unification to 1968.
The first part of the course will concentrate on gender and queer studies to provide students with a general theoretical framework of these topics. It will then focus more specifically on the analysis of the evolution of sexuality, homosexuality, masculinity and femininity from the Unification of Italy until 1968. An interdisciplinary approach will be adopted using novels, films, newsreels, paintings, sculptures, manifestoes and advertising posters. Anthropology, art, literature, politics and history will be interwoven in order to reveal changes and continuities in the image of woman and man and the dynamics of the relationship of couples. Finally ample space will also be given to the medical and judicial treatment of these topics and to the transformation in lifestyles and the collective imaginary. Using this historical approach fosters understanding of how the dichotomous and hierarchic distinction between sexual norm and transgression becomes an essential paradigm of scientific, political, religious, judicial and artistic thought. Course is taught in Italian.
ITAL 1400M. Giorgio Agamben and Radical Italian Theory.
This course is dedicated to a close reading of the work of the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben and to an analysis of what has come to be known as "radical Italian theory." We will read the major works by Agamben, some key texts by other thinkers who were influential for Agamben (Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault etc), as well as other theorists who play an important role today in Italy: Roberto Esposito, Antonio Negri, Paolo Virno among others.
ITAL 1400P. The Southern Question and the Colonial Mediterranean.
This course examines Antonio Gramsci's interpretation of the Southern Question (quistione) in an attempt to better understand the politics and culture informing the colonial Middle East. Through an analysis of Gramsci’s critique of Southernism –the representation of Southern Italy as a semi-barbarous territory inhabited by “biologically inferior beings”– and his sociological description of pre-World War II Italy, we will acquaint ourselves with some of the key-concepts characterizing his political thought. Next, we will examine how critics of European colonialism in the Mediterranean have adopted this rich epistemological and analytical vocabulary.
ITAL 1400Q. From Neorealism to Reality TV.
This course explores the development of the aesthetic of reality in audiovisual media from film to television and portable screens in the context of modern Italian history while tackling notions of the pervasive infiltration of mass mediatic imagination into reality. The appeal and power of the medium to capture, show, and imbricate reality is intricately related with modes of production and distribution, social/ethical discourse, and any current political order. We will analyze the deployment of 'reality' on screen from the post WWII neorealist redemptive project after Fascism, through the contaminated explorations of art cinema, to television's twisted tales of reality.
ITAL 1400T. From the Hypernovel to Paranoid Fiction.
How can storytelling help us cope with complexity? How can novels help us detect and debunk conspiracy theories? We will read major works by Italian fiction masters Italo Calvino (If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler, 1979) and Umberto Eco (The Name of the Rose, 1980, Foucault’s Pendulum, 1988, The Prague Cemetery, 2010), tackling the paradoxes of “fake news” and “conspiratorial evidence” from Luther Blissett’s Q (1999) to Q’Anon. Taught in English with a discussion section in Italian.
ITAL 1420. Sex and the Cities: Venice, Florence, and Rome, 1450-1800.
This course examines the politics of sexuality and the sexuality of politics in Italy between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Italy's urban settings saw the development of some of the most sophisticated political systems in Europe, and issues of gender identity and sexual practices figured prominently in the political symbolism, political criticism, legal and social orders of these regimes. Lectures and course discussions also explore everyday practices and their implications for defining and defying the social and political norms of gender and sexuality in early modern Italy. Suggested prerequisites are HIST 0010 or any Italian Studies course at level 1000 or above. No prerequisites are required. Lectures in English. Discussion groups in English and Italian.
ITAL 1430. Popular Culture, 1400 - 1800.
From folktales to rebel songs, carnival play and everyday rituals, popular culture shaped the lives of ordinary people of the early modern world. In this course we explore the materials available at Brown for examining popular culture before 1800. Students write a final paper from the materials they select. Italy will be examined comparatively with other geographical areas in order to prepare students for their research. Topics will include the multiplicity of popular cultures; the relationship between popular culture and elite culture; transformations in the beliefs, rituals, and practices that provided meaning for peoples of the early modern world. (P)
ITAL 1431. Truth on Trial: Justice in Italy, 1400-1800 (HIST 1262M).
Interested students must register for HIST 1262M.
ITAL 1550. Italian Representations of the Holocaust.
A survey of some of the most important texts (fiction, history, philosohpy, films) that deal with both the Holocaust in Italy, and representations of the Holocast by Italians. Readings include Levi, Bassani, Loy, Agamben; films those of Benigni, Cavani, Wertmuller. There will also be discussion of the aesthetic and political complexities regarding portrayals of the Holocaust, such as trauma, witnessing, historical truth, kitsch. Taught in English, with the possibility of a section in Italian.
ITAL 1550B. Topics in the Early History of Printmaking: Festival and Carnival (HIAA 1550B).
Interested students must register for HIAA 1550B.
ITAL 1560A. Italy and the Mediterranean (HIAA 1560A).
Interested students must register for HIAA 1560A.
ITAL 1580. Word, Image and Power in Early Modern Italy.
This undergraduate lecture class is designed to introduce cultural and historical perspectives on Italy from Siena in the Middle Ages to Renaissance Florence and the early modern Veneto. Team taught by professors of Italian Art History, History, and Literature, we will move across Italy and the centuries focusing on monuments of literature, art, architecture, and history through different disciplinary lenses. In English.
ITAL 1590. Word, Media, Power in Modern Italy.
The role of media (print, news, art, music, photography, cinema, radio, television) in shaping national identity, nationalistic agendas, imperial aspirations, democratic revivals and populist consensus in Italy, from the post-Risorgimento age to the Fascist regime, and from the post-WW2 renaissance to the "decadent" Berlusconi era. The most influential genres and trends in Italian culture, from opera to futurism, from neo-realist cinema and literature to post-modern fashion and industrial design, will be analyzed against the backdrop of the most important social and political turning points of Italian and European history.
ITAL 1610. The Divina Commedia: Inferno and Purgatorio.
A close reading of the first two canticles of Dante's poem in the light of contemporary European and American critical interpretations. In Italian. Enrollment limited to 40.
ITAL 1620. The Divina Commedia: Dante's Paradiso: Justifying a Cosmos.
Close study of the third and final part of Divine Comedy, in which Dante unfolds how, in his view, the planetary and stellar spheres condition human life and fashion the Providential plan of history. There will be ancillary readings from Dante's other works: Convivio, the Monarchia, and the Epistles. In Italian. Prerequisite: ITAL 0500 or 0600, or instructor permission. Enrollment limited to 40.
ITAL 1920. Independent Study Project (Undergraduate).
Undergraduate Independent Study supervised by a member of the Italian Studies Faculty. Students may pursue independent research in order to prepare for their honors thesis or honors multimedia project, or they may enroll in the course in order to work individually with a faculty member on a specific area of Italian Studies not covered in the current course offerings. Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.
ITAL 1990. Senior Conference.
Special work or preparation of an honors thesis under the direction of a member of the staff. Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.
ITAL 2050. Microhistory.
Microhistory emerged in the 1970s in Italy, but was quickly embraced by scholars across the globe. Microhistory questioned totalizing explanations of historical change; rejected anachronism in all forms; and recovered the voices of individuals left out of traditional historical narratives. This course explores and critiques the method. Participants write an article in their area of interest, informed by microhistory.
ITAL 2100. Introduction to Italian Studies.
This seminar, a requirement for graduate students in Italian Studies, has three objectives: 1) to provide a panoramic view of the current research in the interdisciplinary field of Italian studies (literature, history, arts and media); 2) to provide a picture of the professional state of the field, within the framework of more global developments in academia and the job markets; 3) to provide useful information about the resources and the new tools and techniques for research available to students at Brown and elsewhere (special collections in the Brown libraries, digital resources such as data bases, electronic journals, web projects, etc.).
ITAL 2130A. Dante's Paradiso.
A close reading of the third canticle of the Commedia in its medieval context. While not essential, a knowledge of the Inferno and the Purgatorio would be desirable. Open to qualified undergraduates.
ITAL 2130B. The Lyric of Petrarch.
The style and structure of Petrarch's Canzoniere and Triumphi and their relationship to Latin and Romance precedents. In Italian.
ITAL 2150C. Monographic Studies in Major Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Authors.
Renaissance thought. From Pico della Mirandola to Giordano Bruno.
ITAL 2160. Family History: Early Modern Methods and Sources.
This course examines the world's oldest institution during the early modern period (1500-1800). Italian scholars have been especially innovative in advancing our understanding of the early modern family, relying on legal, quantitative, religious, literary, and visual sources in their efforts. Students may concentrate in their longer essay on controversies in family history currently debated in or beyond the Italian context.
ITAL 2170A. Seminar on Giacomo Leopardi.
Word and image, thought and feeling in the poetry (Canti), dialogues (Operette Morali), and philosophical writings (Pensieri, Zibaldone) of one of the major figures of European Romanticism. In Italian.
ITAL 2170B. Italian Modernity and the Novel: Twelve Great Books from the Long Nineteenth Century.
This seminar is designed as a survey of the Italian contribution to the novelistic genre. The course will be structured around 11 great Italian novels in 12 weeks and supplemented by theoretical, methodological and historical considerations that pertain to questions of reading and interpretation, to the novel as a literary genre, and to those problems centered on the specificity of Italian modernity. We will read novels by Foscolo, Manzoni, Verga and Pirandello, among others. Reading knowledge of Italian required.
ITAL 2190A. Carducci, Pascoli and D'Annunzio.
Close textual reading of the poetic works of the three great Italian Victorians. In Italian.
ITAL 2190B. Fascism and Antifascism: Culture and Literature between the Two World Wars.
No description available.
ITAL 2190C. La Poesia del Novecento (Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry).
No description available.
ITAL 2190D. Non Fiction.
What is fiction and what is nonfiction? How to read a nonfictional text (diary, description, memoir, etc). Examples from well-known Italian writers (Campana, Ortese, Delfini, Calvino, Celati, Bompiani) and further examples from photo and documentary cinema. All texts, films, and lectures are in Italian.
ITAL 2190E. Problems and Figures from 1860 to the Present.
Modern Italian poetry.
ITAL 2190F. Reading Recent Italian Fiction.
"Reading" here implies a special kind of attention to the linguistic formulation of the text and the construction of an imaginary hypertext based on the stimuli the text provides. The instructor exemplifies the process and students construct hypertexts of their own based on the texts. Of particular interest is the openness and interpretive richness derived from the readers not belonging to the cultural context in which the texts were produced.
ITAL 2190G. Letteratura Italiana del Novecento.
In questo seminario, leggeremo e discuteremo alcune delle più significative opere di narrativa e poesia novecentesca, da Svevo a Calvino e da Montale a Zanzotto, sullo sfondo delle grandi transformazioni della società e della cultura italiana, dal fascismo alla seconda Guerra mondiale e alla prima repubblica, alla luce delle teorie critiche più influenti, dal futurismo all'ermetismo e dal neo-realismo al post-modernismo. Taught in Italian.
ITAL 2220. New Perspectives on Fascism.
Examines the new light shed by recent research on Italian Fascism, placing Italy's Fascist ventennio (1922-45) in a larger European context. Among the questions to be addressed: What explains Mussolini's rise to power and his ability to stay in power? To what extent did Italians become Fascist? What role did force play in ensuring popular allegiance to the regime? What role did the Church play? Did Fascism remake concepts of gender? Attention will be paid to the role of the media, writers, intellectuals, and the arts. Comparison with Nazi Germany and other regimes labeled “Fascist” will be explored.
ITAL 2300. Seminar in Italian Literature, Culture, and Criticism.
This seminar focuses on some of the most important contributions made to critical theory made by modern Italian thinkers, beginning with Antonio Gramsci and ending with Giorgio Agamben. Readings include, other than Gramsci and Agamben, works by Antonio Negri, Roberto Esposito and Adriana Cavarero. Open to juniors, seniors, and graduate students.
ITAL 2450. Exchange Scholar Program.
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ITAL 2540D. The Theater that was Rome (HIAA 2540D).
Interested students must register for HIAA 2540D.
ITAL 2550. Gender Matters.
This course examines the impact of gender as a category of analysis, focusing upon its varied repercussions on the study of history, with Italian history serving as one field of focus. Participants interested in other geographical, chronological, and disciplinary areas will have ample time to purse their interests. The study of gender has profoundly shaped the practice of history in the last half century, and the course outlines its impact and its transformations. The course places in conversation diverse but overlapping historical developments: the impact of the study of gender on history; influences from beyond history that have shared or shaped historians’ approach to gender and sexuality; the particular inflections of the study of gender in the case of Italy (1400-1800); the impact of the turn to the study of sexuality and queer studies. The course explores and critiques the limits of our gender constructs (theoretical, methodological, and modern) for explaining the culture of people in the premodern world and beyond the western hemisphere, fields of scholarship where the universality of contemporary notions of gender have been challenged. In English.
ITAL 2820. Italian Studies Colloquium.
The Italian Studies Colloquium is a forum for an exchange of ideas and work of the community of Italian scholars at Brown and invited outside scholars. Graduate students present their work in progress, and engage the work of faculty and visitors. They are expected to come prepared with informed questions on the topic presented. Presentations in both Italian and English. Instructor permission required.
ITAL 2900. Theory and Methods of Foreign Language Teaching.
Theory and practice of foreign language learning and teaching (theory of language, language learning and acquisition, approaches, methods and techniques, curriculum design, materials development, testing and evaluation). In English.
ITAL 2970. Preliminary Examination Preparation.
For graduate students who have met the tuition requirement and are paying the registration fee to continue active enrollment while preparing for a preliminary examination.
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ITAL 2980. Reading and Research.
Courses on special subjects individually planned and supervised. Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.
ITAL 2990. Thesis Preparation.
For graduate students who have met the residency requirement and are continuing research on a full time basis.
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Professor of History; Professor of Italian Studies
David I. Kertzer
Paul R. Dupee, Jr. University Professor of Social Science, Professor of Anthropology
Professor of History of Art and Architecture; Professor of Italian Studies
Ronald L. Martinez
Professor of Italian Studies
Professor of History of Art and Architecture; Professor of Italian Studies
Tara E. Nummedal
Professor of History; Professor of Italian Studies
Anthony J. Oldcorn
Professor Emeritus of Italian Studies
Professor of Italian Studies
Professor of Comparative Literature and Italian Studies
Senior Lecturer in Italian Studies
Dedda De Angelis
Senior Lecturer Emerita in Italian Studies
Allison M. Levy
Digital Scholarship Editor, Visiting Scholar in Italian Studies
Inherently interdisciplinary, the Italian Studies concentration allows students to strengthen their language skills in Italian and deepen their knowledge of Italian literature, history, art, and culture. Most concentrators have some background in Italian language. However, it is possible to concentrate in Italian studies without having studied the language before coming to Brown, although doing so requires an early start. After fulfilling the language requirement by completing up to Italian 0600 (or the equivalent), students enroll in a variety of advanced courses, reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the concentration. Junior concentrators often study abroad in the Brown Program in Bologna. All senior concentrators participate in the “senior conference” by delivering brief presentations on academic topics of their choice in Italian Studies. Concentrators might also pursue capstone research, writing, or multimedia projects.
The concentration requires that students demonstrate proficiency in the Italian language by completing up to ITAL 0600 (or the equivalent in Bologna). ITAL 0400 is the first language course that counts toward the ten required courses for the concentration (except for students who place out of ITAL 0400, who will need to complete a total of nine courses). At least four of the ten courses should be taken in Italian.
|ITALIAN STUDIES COURSES|
|Gold, Wool and Stone: Painters and Bankers in Renaissance Tuscany (HIAA 0550)|
|Constructing the Eternal City: Popes and Pilgrims in Renaissance Rome (HIAA 0560)|
|Advanced Italian II|
|Truth on Trial: Justice in Italy|
|When Leaders Lie: Machiavelli in International Context|
|Introduction to Italian Cinema: Italian Film and History|
|The Grand Tour, or a Room with a View: Italy and the Imagination of Others|
|Let’s Eat, Italy: Italian History and Culture through Food|
|When Leaders Lie: Machiavelli in International Context|
|Visions of War: Representing Italian Modern Conflicts|
|Luigi Pirandello: Masks and Society|
|Reading Recent Italian Fiction|
|Nord - Sud e Identità Italiana|
|Italian National Identity: Criticisms and Crises|
|Masterpieces of Italian Cinema - Capolavori del cinema italiano|
|20th Century Italian Poetry|
|Dante in English Translation: Dante's World and the Invention of Modernity|
|World Cinema in a Global Context|
|Literature of the Middle Ages|
|Great Authors and Works of Italian Renaissance|
|The Panorama and 19th-Century Visual Culture|
|Transmedia Storytelling and the New Italian Epic.|
|Italy: From Renaissance to Enlightenment|
|"Italian (Mediterranean) Orientalisms" Major Italian Writers and Filmmakers|
|Fascism and Antifascism: Culture and Literature between the Two World Wars|
|Literature and Adolescence|
|Photography and Literature: Italian Examples of an Uncanny Relationship|
|Twentieth Century Italian Culture|
|Early Modern Italy|
|Rituals, Myths and Symbols|
|The Many Faces of Casanova|
|Italy as Other|
|History of Masculinity and Femininity from the Unification to 1968|
|Giorgio Agamben and Radical Italian Theory|
|The Southern Question and the Colonial Mediterranean|
|From Neorealism to Reality TV|
|Sex and the Cities: Venice, Florence, and Rome, 1450-1800|
|Popular Culture, 1400 - 1800|
|Truth on Trial: Justice in Italy, 1400-1800 (HIST 1262M)|
|Italian Representations of the Holocaust|
|Topics in the Early History of Printmaking: Festival and Carnival (HIAA 1550B)|
|Italy and the Mediterranean (HIAA 1560A)|
|Word, Image and Power in Early Modern Italy|
|Word, Media, Power in Modern Italy|
|The Divina Commedia: Inferno and Purgatorio|
|The Divina Commedia: Dante's Paradiso: Justifying a Cosmos|
|Independent Study Project (Undergraduate)|
|Introduction to Italian Studies|
|Fascism and Antifascism: Culture and Literature between the Two World Wars|
|Letteratura Italiana del Novecento|
|New Perspectives on Fascism|
|COURSES IN OTHER DEPARTMENTS|
|Roman Art and Architecture: From Julius Caesar to Hadrian|
|Gold, Wool and Stone: Painters and Bankers in Renaissance Tuscany|
|Constructing the Eternal City: Popes and Pilgrims in Early Modern Rome|
|The Palaces of Ancient Rome|
|Women and Families in the Ancient Mediterranean|
|Pompeii: Art, Architecture, and Archaeology in the Lost City|
|Topics in the Early History of Printmaking: Festival and Carnival|
|Italy and the Mediterranean|
|Renaissance Venice and the Veneto|
|Siena from Simone Martini to Beccafumi|
|Topics in Italian Visual Culture: The Visible City, 1400- 1800|
|Italian Baroque Painting and Sculpture|
|Cities, Colonies and Global Networks in the Western Mediterranean|
Italian Studies Concentration and the Brown Program in Bologna
Concentrators who enroll in the Brown in Bologna program should fulfill the requirements according to the following sequence: prior to departure, the student should complete the level of Italian language study required (ITAL 0300) and enroll in one of the courses in the four distribution areas -- Italian literature; Italian History; history of Italian art and architecture; film or performance. Upon return from Bologna, the student should enroll in at least one advanced course offered by the department, preferably a course taught in Italian. Any student returning from the Bologna program must enroll in a course above the language level of ITAL 0600.
Credits toward the Italian Studies concentration may also be transferred from the Brown in Bologna Program. Concentrators may count three courses per semester toward the concentration (or six courses total for the year), although the course content must focus on Italy if the student wishes to count the course toward the concentration requirements. Concentrators should consult the concentration advisor to know which courses may or may not transfer as credits toward the concentration.
Honors in Italian Studies
Concentrators are encouraged to expand their understanding of Italian language, history, or culture through independent research that will result in a thesis, a translation, or a multimedia project, developed in consultation with the undergraduate concentration advisor and the individual faculty member who will advise the student’s project. The Honors thesis in Italian Studies is a two-semester thesis. Students who intend to complete an honors project should enroll for the first semester in ITAL 1920 (Independent Study), and have their project approved by their advisor by October 15. During the second semester, honors students enroll in ITAL 1990 and continue to work with their advisor to complete the project. ITAL 1990 does not count as one of the eight courses required for the concentration.
Capstone Experiences in Italian Studies
A Capstone experiences in Italian Studies would consist of a course or project that a student, in consultation with the undergraduate advisor, feels would integrate the various intellectual engagements of this interdisciplinary concentration, and constitute a culminating experience in Italian Studies at Brown. Such experiences are strongly encouraged, and should be arrived at through conversations with the concentration advisor or a professor in the department. This could include the Brown Program in Bologna, typically taken in the Junior year, and/or the honors thesis in the senior year. However, students may also apply early in the Fall or Spring semester of their senior year for permission to designate one of their courses (1000-level or above) a Capstone course. In consultation with the professor, students in Capstone courses complete an independent research, writing, or multimedia project that is well beyond the required assignment for the course. ITAL 1920 (Independent Study) may also be designated a Capstone course with the permission of the instructor.
The department of Italian Studies offers a graduate program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree.
Italian Studies at Brown not only teaches language and literature to students, but guides their research toward problems that are cross-disciplinary in both content and method, rather than merely confirming a fixed canon or predetermined field of study. The interdisciplinary program in Italian Studies offers students the opportunity to study the literature, history and culture of Italy under the guidance of internationally renowned scholars in Anthropology, History, History of Art, Literature and Media. Our program draws on traditional alliances with Comparative Literature, Musicology, and Philosophy, but we also join forces with disciplines such as History of Science, Film Studies, Cultural Studies, Women's Studies, and the use of Computers for the Humanities. Recent Ph.D. graduates have consistently published their dissertations on topics ranging from medieval to contemporary literature and culture, and currently teach at such institutions as the University of Massachusetts, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University and Wellesley College.
For more information on admission and program requirements, please visit the following website: