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COURSE NAME: "Rome: Modern City (On-site)"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Summer Session II 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Simone Poliandri
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 9:00-12:45 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.
This course explores the relations between the seemingly eternal character of the city and it ever-changing urban geography, the transformed identities of its population, and the ways in which the city is adapting to globalization. On-site classes will be held in a variety of neighborhoods to analyze the area's role as a social entity and its relationship with the wider urban context. Lectures and readings before each on-site class will provide you with historical, topographical, and sociological information about the area and will introduce relevant theories through which to interpret its specific issues. Class material (readings and sections of films), discussions, and assignments will encourage you to apply theories to the realities observed on site. We may talk to residents of the city (in on-site conversations or with guest speakers) to analyze the different discourses through which the city is narrated.

By the end of the course you should be able to:

1) Demonstrate knowledge of the city’s urban development from the late 1800s to today;
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 and spatial features of each neighborhood;
5) Demonstrate familiarity with major theories of urban sociology and apply them to the case-study neighborhoods to assess their validity and relevance for understanding the particular situation of Rome;
6) Possess research and oral presentation basic skills by carrying out projects, based on bibliographic and fieldwork research techniques, and discussing your findings with the class.


CLASS PARTICIPATIONAttendance in all classes and field visits is mandatory and you are expected to arrive on time. Participation involves actively engaging in class discussions, taking detailed notes, and asking pertinent questions.15%
WEEKLY PHOTO REPORTSWeeks 1-3: You are required to submit a 250-300 word written report on a photograph of a meaningful element of Roman life you have taken during the previous days. As part of the assignment, you must give a 2/3-minute presentation on your findings and lead the discussion on it. (10% each)30%
RESEARCH PRESENTATIONStudent carry out bibliographical research and do fieldwork observation in one Roman neighborhood or on a relevant issue of contemporary Roman life. They give a 10/15-minute oral presentation to the class on their findings. Detailed guidelines are provided in class.30%
FINAL EXAMIn-class: 2 essays on sociological issues concerning contemporary Rome discussed throughout the course.25%

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.
B This is 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.
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. The work suffers from some errors or omissions.
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.


Attendance at all classes, including on-site visits, is mandatory. More than two (2) unexcused absences will result in the student automatically failing the course.

Missing a bus, not knowing how to get to the appointment site, bus delay, etc. are not reasons that excuse you from coming to class. Public transportation in Rome is rather unpredictable. Therefore, you need to give yourself ample time to arrive on time at the on-site appointment.
Flight delay and other inconveniences you may when traveling for personal reasons (in non-emergency situations) that prevent you from attending classes are not considered.
Traveling with parent\friends\significant others (for non-emergency reasons) during class time is considered an unexcused absence.

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.



  Tuesday 7\9

First part: In-class course introduction; What is a city?

Second part: On site. A walk in Trastevere and the Gianicolo Hill

  Thursday 7\11

In class: The development of Rome from 1870 to the present

In-class: Weekly Photo Reports

In-class film and discussion: Caro Diario (Nanni Moretti, 1993)  [Chapter on Rome]

Clough Marinaro, Isabella, and Bjorn Thomassen. 2014. “Into the City: The Changing Faces of Rome.” In Global Rome: Changing Faces of the Eternal City, ed. by I. Clough Marinaro and B. Thomassen, 1-18. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.



  Tuesday 7\16

On-site. Learning from the Forum: The modern landscape of ancient Rome

[Appointment: 9:15 in Piazza del Campidoglio under the equestrian statue of Emperor Marco Aurelio]

- Russell, Amy. 2014. Memory and Movement in the Roman Fora a from Antiquity to Metro C. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 73(4): 478-506. [Read 478-482 and 494-503; skim 484-494 and notes]
- Agnew, John. 1998. The Impossible Capital: Monumental Rome under Liberal and Fascist Regimes, 1870-1943, Geografiska Annaler. Series B, Human Geography, Vol. 80, No. 4: 229-240.

  Thursday 7\18

First part: In-class – Library Workshop

Second part: In-class – Urban ghettos and ethnic exclusions

                     In-class: Weekly Photo Reports

- Schwarz, Guri. 2009. The Reconstruction of Jewish Life in Italy after World War II.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 8(3): 360–377.

Third part: On-site. The ex-Jewish ghetto

[We will walk together from the University]



  Tuesday 7\23

On-site. Testaccio: From Monte de’ Cocci to the Global Village

[Meeting Point: Bus 23 stop Marmorata-Galvani, near Via Marmorata 35, at 9:15]

- Mudu, Pierpaolo. 2014. “Where Is Culture in Rome? Self-Managed Social Centers and the Right to Urban Space.” In Global Rome: Changing Faces of the Eternal City, ed. by I. Clough Marinaro and B. Thomassen, 246-264. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
- Thomassen, Bjorn, and Piero Vereni. 2014. “Diversely Global Rome.” In Global Rome: Changing Faces of the Eternal City, ed. by I. Clough Marinaro and B. Thomassen, 21-34. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

  Thursday 7\25

On-site. Villaggio Olimpico, Lungotevere, and Stadio Olimpico: Global and local sport

[Meeting Point: Bus 982 stop De Coubertin near AUDITORIUM at 9:15]

- Martin, Simone. 2014. “Roma, Città Sportiva.” In Global Rome: Changing Faces of the Eternal City, ed. by I. Clough Marinaro and B. Thomassen, 159-171. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
- Dyal, Mark. 2014. “Football, Romanità, and the Search for Stasis.” In Global Rome: Changing Faces of the Eternal City, ed. by I. Clough Marinaro and B. Thomassen, 172-184. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

On-site: Weekly Photo Reports



  Tuesday 7\30

On-site. Multiculturalism in Rome: The Esquilino neighborhood

[Meeting point: 9:15 by steps in the park in the center of Piazza Vittorio (Metro line A)]

- Mudu, Pierpaolo. 2006. “
The New Romans: Ethnic Economic Activities in Rome.” In Landscapes of the Ethnic Economy, ed. By D. Kaplan and W. Li, 165-176. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
- Cervelli, Pierluigi. 2014. “Rome as Global City: Mapping New Cultural and Political Boundaries.” In Global Rome: Changing Faces of the Eternal City, ed. by I. Clough Marinaro and B. Thomassen, 48-61. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

  Thursday 8\1 

 On-site. Green Rome: The evolution of Rome’s parks. The case of Villa Borghese

[Meeting Point: Terrazza del Pincio 9:15 (Bus 119 from P.za Venezia, stop P.za del Popolo)]




  Tuesday 8\6  (Class starts at 9:30am)

In-class: Student Research Presentations

Course evaluations


  Thursday 8\9

In-class: Final Exam and Course Conclusion, 9:30-12:30

Reading to prepare for the exam:
- Higgins, Valerie. 2014. “Rome’s Contemporary Past.” In Global Rome: Changing Faces of the Eternal City, ed. by I. Clough Marinaro and B. Thomassen, 185-201. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.


Enjoy the rest of your summer!