The depiction of Italy as a member of the G8 and NATO, a leading provider of fashion, cinema, cars, design, and cuisine, is relatively recent, though widely held. But Italy as the seat of a highly prized way of life traces back through the centuries, with many writers declaring their admiration, from Goethe, De Stael and Stendhal, to Milton and Shakespeare. To understand Italy’s contemporary image in the world, this course seeks to understand some of the earlier representations of Italy and Italians from Dante, through the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the Risorgimento, the Great Migration, the Economic Boom and la dolce vita, and down to the present time. A primary goal of the course is to connect students’ experiences in Rome and Italy more generally with the experiences of other travelers and with the rich and diverse history of what being Italian is. Specific themes will include geography, the persistence of classicism in Italy to the present day, paganism and Christianity, northern Europe vs. the Mediterranean, post-Renaissance decline, rationalism vs. passion, localism vs. nationalism, civilization and the natural. Students will come to realize that, beyond the Italian state, there are many “Italies” conditioned by a variety of historical, political, economic, social, cultural, and religious circumstances.
Partner Course Code:
UArizona Equivalent Course:
ITAL Departmental Elective, Lower division. Tier 1 Traditions and Cultures or Tier 2 Humanities.