This course (3 credits) is designed for students who have completed the first two semesters of Italian and wish to learn more about Italy while strengthening their Italian language skills. In this course the emphasis will be on reading, listening, speaking, and writing in Italian, with the goal of gaining a knowledge and understanding of Italy, its history, politics, and culture through literature and popular culture. The semester is divided into five main blocks of three weeks, each examining a different topic. The course will focus on excerpts from literary texts, songs, films, and articles illustrating the various topics. Every block will also integrate grammar aspects of Italian language in context through in-class or take-home reviews of important grammar points previously studied as well as take-home written tests on Italian grammar.
In the first block we analyze the stereotypes commonly applied to Italians, to make the students reflect on how identity is constructed and transmitted through popular culture.
The second block explores Italian politics through the opposing ideologies and parties of the left and right.
The third block focuses on the Italian family as one of the main pillars of society. We will also reexamines in which ways the depiction of the family further contributes to the formation of stereotypes.
In the fourth block we investigate immigration within Italy from the Second World War onward, at which time we will reconsider the concept of national identity through the identification of differences between the North and the South.
In the fifth block, immigration from Italy to the United States becomes our way of reexamining how the cultures and identities created in Italy were either recreated or transformed through the passage from one continent to the other.