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David Birdsong, Chair 201 W 21ST STREET STOP B7600, HRH 2.114A, AUSTIN, TX 78712 • 512-471-5531

Fall 2007


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
38165 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
HRH 3.102A

Course Description

Italy occupies a prominent place in European culture, history, and thought. This course, focusing on a broad range of major Italian achievements, movements, and events from the Middle Ages to the present, comprises four multidisciplinary units: 1) in "Medieval Italy: Sinners and Saints" we will discuss selections from Dante's Inferno, Boccaccio's Decameron, religious writing and lyric poetry; 2) "Renaissance Italy: Heaven on Earth" will consider art history (from Giotto to Michelangelo), humanism (Petrarch), political thought (Machiavelli) and science (Galileo); 3) for "The Nation and Its Discontents," which treats Italy's rise to self-determination from unification through W.W. II and its aftermath, we will examine Romanticism (Leopardi) and the Risorgimento (Carlo Levi, Gramsci), futurism (Marinetti), fascism, and neorealism (De Sica); 4) literature (Calvino, Maraini), politics, and film (Soldini) will guide our discussion of contemporary Italy. Taught in English and cross-listed in European Studies, this course is intended for all students interested in Italy, including Italian majors (ITC 360 counts toward the major). There is no final examination.

Grading Policy

Study Questions on Dante's Inferno (1000-1500 words): 10%

Research Abstract and Annotated Bibliography: 10%

Two In-Class Exams (25% each): 50%

Preparation and Participation (including quizzes, as necessary): 30%

Attendance Policy: No student who misses more than 6 classes (3 weeks) for any reason can complete the course with a passing grade.


Dante Alighieri, Inferno (Bantam, trans. Mandelbaum)

Niccoló Machiavelli, The Prince (Cambridge, ed. / trans. Skinner and Price)

Christopher Duggani, A Concise History of Italy (Cambridge)

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities (Harcourt Brace, trans. Weaver)

Other readings, including Dacia Maraini's Darkness are contained in a Course packet available at I.T. Copy (512 W. MLK. Blvd; at Nueces; phone: 476-6662)

Films: The Bicycle Thief (De Sica), Bread and Tulips (Soldini)


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