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COURSE NAME: "Roots of Italian Identities HONORS (This course carries 4 semester hours of credits. A minimum CUM GPA of 3.5 is required)"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2017

INSTRUCTOR: Federica Capoferri
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 6:00-7:15PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisites: IT 302 or permission of the instructor

This course aims to give an insight into the linguistic, cultural and sociological complexity of the ‘notion of Italy.’ The topics studied, based primarily on literary texts, include some of the major themes of Italian culture as well as examples of the various ‘identities’ that Italy offers today: the question of political and cultural unity and the long-lasting question of a common national language; the role played by Italian intellectuals in the construction of Italy as a nation; the Mafia and the institution of family-based structures; the Italian literary canon and the contemporary ideas of culture and literature. The course is in Italian.
The topics studied, based primarily on literary texts but also taking into consideration other areas such as contemporary history, social studies, and art history, include some of the major themes of Italian culture as well as examples of the various ‘identities’ that Italy offers today: the role played by Italian intellectuals in the construction of Italy as a Nation, the Mafia and the long-lasting institution of family-based structures, the ideal of beauty, modern design, contemporary literary production. Some of the key authors of Italian literature such as Dante, Petrarca, Machiavelli, Calvino and Pasolini will guide us to the complex process of Italian culture configuration through different ages. Italian political cinema (Bellocchio, Moretti, Giordana) will be also part of our study of the multilayered identity of Italian culture tradition.

Upon completing this course, students will possess the ability to:

- analyze language and structures of literary texts

- identify main ideas in relationship to the historical and cultural context in which they arose

- identify broad ideological frames of current received ideas on certain aspects of Italian culture

- discuss the relevance of such ideas in connection with other information about topics in question

- discuss cultural heritage and modern aspects of topics studied

- establish comparisons between different media (reading passages, art works, films)


2 questionnaireshome-assignments based on specific questions. NO LATE ASSIGNMENTS. 25%
midterm exam 25%
Attendance and participation 10%
oral presentationHonors course students are required to give a 30 minutes presentation on a topic previously discussed with the Professor.10%
Final ExamHonors Course students are required to write a 15 pages paper on a topic discussed with the Professor.30%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


week 1--

Dante’s De Vulgari Eloquentia

Dante, De Vulgari Eloquentia (www.classicitaliani.it/dante/prosa/vulgari_lat.htm) libro 1. --Pietro Bembo.Prose della Volgar Lingua (http://www.italica.rai.it/scheda.php?scheda=rinascimento_cento_opere_bembo_prose Alessandro Manzoni e la lingua dell’Italia Unita-- http://www.classicitaliani.it/manzoni/unita_lingua.htm

Modern Italian Culture, pp. 17-33; 63-79-

Week 2--

Francesco Petrarca- Selection from Il Canzoniere http://www.classicitaliani.it/petrarca/prosa/epistole/boccaccio_dante.htm 

M. Di Gesù. Una nazione di carta. Excerpts


Week 3--

Divina Commedia- Inferno, Canto VI, vv.58-75 - (http://www.classicitaliani.it/dante/if02.htm#1-6) Purgatorio, canto vi, vv. 223-228 (http://www.classicitaliani.it/dante/pg02.htm#2-6) Paradiso, canto vi, vv.97-111 (http://www.classicitaliani.it/dante/pd02.htm#3-6) Petrarca “politico”: (http://www.classicitaliani.it/petrarca/poesia/petrarc4. htm#CXXVIII):Machiavelli, Il principe, http://www.classicitaliani.it/machiav/mac14.htm#cap24 http://www.classicitaliani.it/machiav/mac14.htm#cap25 http://www.classicitaliani.it/machiav/mac14.htm#cap26 http://www.classicitaliani.it/machiav/critica/Pricipe_traduzione_Bonghi.htm

M. Di Gesù. Una nazione di carta.

week 4-- 

Leopardi-http://www.classicitaliani.it/leopardi/prosa/Leopardi_discorso_costumi_italiani.htm Parte prima-http://www.classicitaliani.it/leopardi/canti/leopardi_Canti_01.htm#I. 

Modern Italian Culture, pp. 113-130.

M. Di Gesù. Una nazione di carta.


WEEK 5-- 

Pier Paolo Pasolini, Scritti Corsari (library Reserve),"Nuove prospettive storiche: la Chiesa è inutile al potere". "Alla mia nazione". Pasolini, Scritti corsari, "Sviluppo e progresso". 

Pasolini, Scritti corsari, "Sviluppo e progresso".

Modern Italian Culture, pp. 81-96; 283-291.

WEEK 6--

Pasolini, Scritti corsari, "Il romanzo delle stragi" R. Saviano, Gomorra (Library Reserve), pp. 231-240.

Modern Italian Culture, pp. 139-141.

A. Piepaolo. Dimenticare Pasolini. Intellettuali e impegno nell'Italia contemporanea. Selected chapters.


Week 7

midterm week. review and exam

Week 8

Italian intellectuals and massmedia. Gramsci's legacy

Modern Italian Culture, pp. 215-224: 293-309.

Pasolini,Scritti Corsari, "Acculturazione e acculturazione".
Modern Italian Language, pp.215-224.

A. Pierpaolo. Dimenticare Pasolini. Intellettuali e impegno nell'Italia contemporanea

--home screening: N. Moretti, Il caimano. --


Week 9

Pasolini  and Modern Italy- Screening La forma della città and class discussion

Modern Italian Culture, 49-61; 122-130;137-138. 

Week 10

Revising the Italian canon.

-Oral presentations.

Emiliano Alessandroni, Ideologia e strutture letterarie. Excerpts-

 Modern Italian Culture, pp.131-137.


Week 11

Revising the Italian Canon.

Oral Presentation


Week 12

Global and Local Italy-- 2 Oral presentations

The role of dialects in the Italian literary tradition.

A. Casadei. Letteratura e controvalori. Critica e scritture nell'età del web. Selected chapters.

Week 13

Postcolonial Italy- Igiaba Scego. La mia casa è dove sono. Selected chapters.



Week 14

Conclusions and review