Category Archives: Fall

The world we lost: Italy in the 1950s between traditional culture and modernity

taranta-1-300x210Cultural Studies. Syllabus. Prof. Sara Iommi.

In a period in which Italy underwent big and quick changes, through both modernization processes and “cultural apocalypses”, it is particular interesting studying the diversity of local cultures.
In doing so it is useful to adopt the methodology of a new discipline – History of Ideas – with a point of view more anthropological than historical and using heterogeneous representations and sources, including photographs, paintings, documentary films, poems and tales.
Studying representations of the country different from the widespread stereotypes of Italian people and of being Italian, while investigating how such myths originate and spread helps to have a deeper understanding of the country.
We will consider four vaste geographical areas which appear to be especially representative: Lucania-Salento, Sardinia and other islands, the delta of the Po river, and the Northern Appennine mountains.
How do the “many and diverse Italies”, conveyed by folk culture still alive in this period, with their special rites, dialects, songs, dances and beliefs, interact with the current, “standard” image of the country?
What impact political and cultural … Continue reading

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Art in Bologna from the 15th and 16th centuries. From Giovanni da Modena to the Carracci

History of Art    Syllabus     Prof. Elisabetta Cunsolo

Throughout the centuries, due to its geographic position, Bologna has always been a place where foreigners stopped during their travels to the North or the South of Italy contributing to the spread of new ideas. The cultural and political prestige of Bologna and of many of its personalities is evident looking at its architecture and works of art still present in town. Nevertheless, its ambition to indipendence produced artistic expressions so original that they can be scarcely forced into traditional concepts. This course intends to recreate and analyse the lively atmosphere present in Bologna from the 15th to the end of the 16th century through the study of those works of art that captured it. Many lessons will be taught on site in order to allow students to appreciate each single work of art studying the object in its entirety (iconography, technique, dimensions, style), and to understand better in which historical context those masterpieces had been produced.



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Behind the scenes

Theatre   Syllabus    Prof. Gabriele Marchesini
The course takes a general approach to acting styles, providing a direct and in-depth involvement with the Italian language as it mediates between the theory and the practice of theatrical literature, a literature conceived as a recited art rather than as one to be read.
This way, we approach the theatre as protagonists, rather than simply practising our knowledge of another language and culture.
Following a series of lectures on the theory of theatre, we move into readings and analyses of a text or texts by a chosen author (the selections will depend on the number and composition of the participants).  Next, we rehearse and memorize lines in the theatrical space itself to prepare for the final performance.  The goal of the course is not to present an entire, real play, but rather to create a seminar-laboratory atmosphere in which to learn individual roles and their interaction with the working group.  Given that this is a very intense course, the student participants must commit to being consistently present.… Continue reading

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The Pathos of the body in Nineteenth-Century Italian Literature

Italian Literature   Syllabus    Prof. Vanessa Pietrantonio
In the first half of the 19th century, some European writers opted to avoid realistic descriptions in favor of images that were hallucinatory, ambiguous, murky, vague, or misshapen.  Such images were often housed in infinite or incomplete spaces, in places where horrors were depicted by grotesque figures, painful grimaces, or decomposing bodies.  Illustrious authors such as Hugo, Poe and Dickens, to name a few, were all part of this strain of writing, which also included the Italian writers Manzoni, Leopardo, and Verga.  Works such as I Promessi Sposi, I Canti di Leopardi, and Rosso Malpelo all shared the goal of illuminating the underlying link between representations of emotions and physical deformities, and between bodily pathos and altered mental states, using grotesque images as a means to speak of the unmentionable in a society still steeped in many taboos.

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Italy’s Path in the World Today. From the Rebirth of Democracy to the Global Economic Crisis: 1945-2012

History   Syllabus    Prof. Alberto Preti

In 1945 Italy was a predominantly agricultural society recovering from twenty years of dictatorship and a military defeat that had devastated the country and altered the collective identity of the Italian people.  In the decades that followed the population of Italy saw their country undergo a rapid period of industrialization, urbanization, and modernization as well as the establishment of a democratic Republic that quickly took root.  This course will examine this post-war period of progress, but with an eye toward the many contradictions involved.  Topics of discussion will include the differing paths of development in northern and southern Italy, the influence of the Catholic Church on both the Italian state and its people, the issue of limited national sovereignty due to the Cold War, and the problem of domestic terrorism.  The course will then move on to the transitional period beginning in the 1990s, ushered in by the end of the “bipolar” world characteristic of the Cold War era.  During this phase new political and institutional models have been sought out, although at … Continue reading

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