Culture, Politics, and Media in Italy
ITALIAN 355 A
Instructor: Dr Beatrice Arduini
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (the best way to contact me)
Office Hours: W at 12:30-2:20pm (Padelford C-249), and by appointment
Class meets: MW at 2:30-4:20pm in DEN 258
Course description: In this course we will read some Italian representative works in translation, to understand them in their diverse historical contexts, and -- on a more general note -- to develop a critical approach to literary texts. We will study the cultural and political circumstances in which these works were produced and read, as well as the rhetorical and stylistic notions indispensable to an analytical understanding of them. After completing this course students will be able to deepen their understanding of the central role of media in shaping Italian history, culture and politics. This course will add historical depth to the Italian curriculum by examining the process of preserving, copying, and circulating Latin and Greek, and later vernacular, classics in the medieval scriptorium of Monte Cassino, in the academic environment of Padua, and in Florence, the cradle of the Italian language. Students will familiarize with the widespread entrepreneurial culture that made Venice the capital of the printed book trade in the Renaissance, with the seventeenth-century decline of Italy generated by epidemics, economic hardship, and with the Italian acquisition of the features of modern Western cultures after the unification, between the two wars, and especially after World War II. Students will be able to trace many aspects representing today’s Italian culture, in particular Berlusconi’s media empire, in the ongoing relationship between power and cultural production: through the focused study of representative texts and their contexts, students will thus have the opportunity to compare and contrast the power-culture relationships at play in various periods of Italian history.
- better understanding of Italian cultural history
- deeper critical sensibility about cultural and political developments
- profounder comprehension of the role of media in shaping our society and our perception of the past
- stronger analytical and writing skills.
Required books: readings available on Canvas.
Requirements/Responsibilities: participation in class discussion, midterm test, weekly response papers, short research paper (5 pages+bibliography) or creative project, an oral presentation, a take-home final exam.
Final grades will be determined as follows:
10% Participation in class discussion
20% Response papers (due on January 14th, 23rd, 30th, February 3rd, 11th, 23rd, March 1st, 6th)
20% Midterm test (in class on Wednesday, February 5th)
15% Short research paper (5 pages + bibliography) / Creative project (due online on March 10th)
15% Oral presentation (on March 9th and online)
20% Final exam (take-home exam, due online on Monday, March 16th)
Important dates when the class is not going to meet in DEN 258:
- January 15 (Week 2): Visit to the exhibition ‘Flesh and Blood’ at Seattle Art Museum (with Gloria de Liberali, PhD candidate, Art History). The visit will start at 2:45pm. Meeting in front of the Seattle Art Museum (1300 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98101) at 2:40pm.
- January 29 (Week 4): Tour of Digital Resources, Suzzallo Instruction Lab (with Verletta Kern, Digital Scholarship Librarian)
- February 3 (Week 5): Visit at the Special Collections (with Sandra Kroupa, book arts and rare book curator for UW Libraries Special Collections division)
Student Academic Responsibility: Students at the University of Washington are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic conduct. Most UW students conduct themselves with integrity and are disturbed when they observe others cheating. The information on these pages should help you avoid unintentional misconduct and clarify the consequences of cheating:
Religious Accommodations: Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy (https://registrar.washington.edu/staffandfaculty/religious-accommodations-policy/). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (https://registrar.washington.edu/students/religious-accommodations-request/).
Note: the syllabus may be changed at any time if necessary. The online version of this syllabus is the most current one.
In this course we will read some Italian representative works in translation to understand them in their diverse historical contexts and to develop a critical approach to literary texts. We will study the cultural and political circumstances in which these works were produced and read, as well as their rhetorical and stylistic techniques. After completing this course students will be able to deepen their understanding of the central role of media in shaping Italian history, culture and politics and to trace many aspects representing today’s Italian culture in the ongoing relationship between power and cultural production. Through the study of representative works and their contexts, students will have the opportunity to compare and contrast the power-culture relationships at play in various periods of history.
This course will include a visit to the SAM exhibition Flesh and Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum in January.