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COURSE NAME: "Rome: Modern City (On-site)"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Summer Session II 2018

INSTRUCTOR: James Schwarten
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 2:00-5:45 PM

This on-site course, which will be conducted in English, aims to introduce students to a sociological analysis of contemporary Rome. It focuses on the changes which are occurring in the city’s populations, its neighborhoods and patterns of daily life and commerce, and challenges conventional images of what it is to be a Roman today. On-site classes will be held in a variety of neighborhoods in the city in order to analyze the area’s role as a social entity and its relationship with the wider urban context. We will examine the issues and problems facing Rome today, such as housing, degradation and renewal, environmental questions, transportation, multiculturalism, wealth and poverty, social conflict and political identities. These issues will be contextualized within theories of urban sociology and also within an explanation of Rome’s urban development over the centuries and, in particular, since it became the national capital in 1870. Through readings, film clips, interviews and guest speakers, students will also analyze the way the city is narrated by some of its residents.

On-site classes will be held in a variety of neighborhoods in the city in order to analyze each area’s status as a social entity and its relationship with the wider urban context. These will include teacher-guided group discussions and observational activities to refine students’ skills of sociological analysis. Lectures and readings will provide students with historical, topographical and sociological information about the area and will introduce relevant urban theories through which to interpret its particular issues. In-class debates will encourage students to question the applicability of theories to the realities observed on-site. Students will watch excerpts of films, read various literary texts and talk to residents of the city (in on-site interviews or with guest speakers) in order to analyze the different discourses through which the city is narrated. Students are expected to do their assigned readings punctually and to follow developments in Roman and Italian society by reading newspaper articles throughout the semester.

Student Responsibilities:

Students will attend every class and arrive on time for all class sessions and on-site visits. They will keep up with assigned readings and out additional assignments. They will turn in assignments promptly. Five points will be deducted from each assignment that is not turned in on time for each day it is late.

The assessment criteria listed below refer to all assessment methods in the course.

Students are strongly urged to begin to familiarize themselves with the city's areas and public transportation system.


The research assignment makes up 35% of the course grade – 20% for the written paper and 15% for the oral presentation to the class. Students should choose a topic relevant to the course and write at least 1,500 words, based on research using at least three academic sources (library books, academic web material and supplemented by newspaper articles where relevant). Non-academic internet material is not reliable and should be avoided. If you have doubts about the appropriateness of a source, check with the instructor or seek the assistance of a reference librarian. All sources must be cited in the text and bibliography following a recognized citation system. Students should start researching their topic well in advance.

The oral presentations will take place in the final classes. Students will be required to give an explanation of the topic of their research paper, explaining its relevance to the course, the methods used to collect information, their main findings and conclusions and a brief discussion of the sources used. Classmates will be encouraged to ask questions and engage in debate/discussion.


Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

1) Demonstrate knowledge of the city’s urban development since it became national capital.

2) Demonstrate familiarity with the economic, political, social, religious, cultural and institutional diversity that characterizes the city of Rome today.

3) Describe individual neighborhoods and identify their key roles and relations with the broader urban context.

4) Identify the main sociological features of each neighborhood and, where problems and conflicts exist, propose solutions.

5) Demonstrate familiarity with major theories of urban sociology and apply them to the case-study neighborhoods in order to assess their validity and relevance for understanding the particular situation of Rome.

6) Analyze various cinematic, literary and interview discourses of the city by its residents.

7) Students will develop their research skills by carrying out a paper project, based on high quality bibliographical research as well as some fieldwork techniques, if appropriate. The methods, instruments, and conclusions of the paper will form the basis of an in-class oral presentation.

ParticipationAssessed qualitatively and quantitatively. Includes actively participating in class debates/discussions, offering insightful comments, asking pertinent questions, punctuality for in-class and on-site sessions, taking notes.10
Midterm Exam 25
Research PaperIn-depth research on an aspect of modern Rome (1,500-2,000 words) based on at least three academic sources. Handouts will be provided.20
Presentation (in class)In-class presentation of the research project. Handouts will be provided.15
Final Exam 30

A Work 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.
B This is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised. There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluate theory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture and reference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
C This is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
D This 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.
F This work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


Letter grades and corresponding percentages for this class

94 – 100 points = A

90 – 93.99 pts = A-

87 – 89.99 = B+

83 – 86.99 = B

80 – 82.99 = B-

77 – 79.99 = C+

70 – 76.99 = C

60 – 69.99 = D

59.99 – 0 = F 


Students 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.

Course-specific absence policy: Each unjustified absence (for whatever reason) beyond the second will incur a 3% penalty in the final-grade calculation.
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.


It is possible that dates of on-site visits will change. It is your responsibility to be informed of any changes. Please check your email and/or Moodle.

Readings may be changed and additional readings may supplement this list. All course readings will be provided.



Session Focus

Reading Assignment

Other Assignment

Meeting Place

July 3

Course introduction, syllabus, goals and expectations

What is a city? Introduction to Urban Sociology

The development of Rome from 1870 to the present

“Methods and Rules for the Study of Cities”

In class

July 5


Clough Marinaro & Thomassen ("Into the City: The Changing Faces of Rome")

Caracciolo ("Rome in the past Hundred Years")

Rhodes, ch. 1 (Stupendous, Miserable City) + "Waste in the Roman World"

On site

July 10


Delle Donne ("Rome the Capital")

Postiglione ("Looking at public spaces in contemporary Rome")

Piccinato ("Rome: Where Great Events Not Regular Planning Bring Development")

Research paper topic, annotated bibliography and outline due

On site

July 12


Rome's vast periphery

Cellamare ("The Self-Made City")

On site

July 17


De Michelis ("The garden suburb of the Garbatella")

Mudu ("Where Is Culture in Rome?")

Trabalzi ("Greening Rome")

On site

July 19


Lecture in preparation for upcoming classes / Ongoing discussion of expectations for research paper

In class

July 24

Research presentations




July 26


Fortier ("Community, Belonging, and Intimate Ethnicity"

Schuster ("The Continuing Mobility of Migrants")

Mudu ("The New Romans: Ethnic Economic Activities in Rome")

On site

July 31

Historical and contemporary forms of exclusion

Schwarz ("The Reconstruction of Jewish Life")

Debenedetti-Stow ("The Etymology of ‘Ghetto’")

Debenedetti ("October 16, 1943")

Clough Marinaro ("The Rise of Italy’s Neo-Ghettos")

Research paper due

In class and on-site

Aug 2

Course conclusions/Final Exam review

In class

Aug 3

Final Exam (Time T.B.A.)