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Course Descriptions

Current course offerings can be found on SPIRE »

500-level courses and above are graduate-level courses unless otherwise indicated.

ITAL 110 - Elementary Italian I, 3 cr.
Training in the four basic skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. This course, the first of the two-part elementary Italian sequence, quickly takes students from knowing no Italian at all to the point where they can understand and enjoy the language. In addition to using the textbook and its online components, students also learn about Italy's culture through innovative activities in class. Oral drills, written exercises, 3 hours per week. Training in the four basic skills: speaking, reading, writing and understanding. Text: Avanti!, 2nd ed. with online component.


ITAL 120 - Elementary Italian II, 3 cr.
Continued training in the four basic skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Building upon what they learned in 110, students in this class are exposed to all principal grammar points that remain. Added emphasis on communication skills and on developing the ability to complete a wide range of linguistic tasks as well as on acquiring familiarity with Italian culture. Text: Avanti!, 2nd ed. with online componentPrerequisite: ITAL 110.


ITAL 126 - Intensive Elementary Italian, 6 cr.
Lecture with student participation. Acquisition of the four language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. For students with no previous study of Italian. Course covers the same material as one year of Elementary Italian (110 and 120). Successful completion of ITAL 126 followed by ITAL 246 allows student to satisfy CAS language requirement in one year. Especially recommended for students intending to participate in the Siena Program.


ITAL 230 - Intermediate Italian I, 3 cr.
Course taught in Italian. Readings, discussion, revision of grammar and exercises. Review of first-year grammar and further development of the four acquisitional skills: speaking, reading, writing, and understanding. Prerequisites: ITAL 120, 126 or instructor's permission.


ITAL 246 - Intensive Intermediate Italian, 6 cr.
Course taught in Italian. Reading and discussion, selective grammar review and conversation. Development of reading skills, introduction to modern Italian literary texts which will serve as basis for class discussion and writing assignments. Grammar review and reinforcement will respond to student needs. Selected readings from the works of contemporary Italian authors: short stories, poetry, film and/or theater. Prerequisite: ITAL 120 OR 126 OR permission of instructor.


ITAL 280 Language Suite Conversation, 2 cr.
Course taught in Italian. Thatcher House, by arrangement. First year Programs feature small classes or discussion sections of lecture classes taught in the residence halls. In order to participate, students must register for at least two residentially based courses in each of their first two semesters at the University. Honors Colloquium (ITAL 280 H01) available. 1 cr.


ITAL 297L –ST- New Horizons in Reading, Writing and Conversation 3 cr.
Prerequisites: Italian 240, 246, or special permission.
Italian 297 has the goal of bridging the gap between introductory language courses and upper-level literature and culture classes. Students will complete a variety of written assignments and participate in classroom discussions based on two contemporary Italian films, excerpts from blogs and newspapers, and readings of literary works included in the primary text. Students will review basic grammar and learn advanced grammatical constructs. Themes include, but are not limited to, the changing role and composition of the Italian family and the evolving gender roles in Italian society.


ITAL 297P – ST – Pic Lit: The Culture of Italian Comics 3 cr.
Course taught in English.
This course explores the history of Italian fumetti and graphic novels beginning with comics journals of the early 1900s and ending with contemporary comic books, strips and graphic novels. Students will learn how to read and interpret the hybrid language of comics, using an appropriate vocabulary for the medium. We will study a number of important historical moments in Italian history, including the ventennio of Fascism, the 1960s and 1970s, and the creation of the EU, connecting them to the history of publication of Italian comics and graphic novels.  With this newly-acquired historical knowledge, students will engage in critical analysis of the texts and will explore how these texts both reflect and engage with Italian society at the time of their production. Ultimately, students will acquire a general knowledge of contemporary Italian history and the ability to read and analyze the medium of comics. In addition, they will develop the skills necessary for critically engaging with pop culture and connecting art to socio-cultural history.


ITAL 303-WRITING ON LANGUAGE  3 credits 
Course taught in Italian. Readings and discussions will be in Italian; written assignments for most students will be in English, as this course satisfies the departmental jr. year writing requirement.  Students examine various genres of Italian cultural expression, including poetry, song, the short story, theater, cinema, the novel, and, to a limited extent, art history.  Emphasis is placed on developing and refining students'  written critical responses to the objects of study.  Each year the thematic content of the course will vary.  Students should contact the designated instructor to apprise themselves of forthcoming thematic content.  (Past thematic emphases have been 'La Cultura e la letterature del Mezzogiorno d'Italia', 'Il paesaggio letterario italiano', etc.)


ITAL 324- INTRODUCTION TO ITALIAN LITERATURE I  3 credits
Designed as one of the first courses in which students read to learn (as opposed to learning to read), Intro to Italian Lit gives a general overview of the main works and trends of pre-Modern Italian culture. Authors studied in this course include some of the greatest figures of all time: Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, Michelangelo and more. Counts toward Italian major and minor as well as GenEd (AL)


ITAL 325- INTRODUCTION TO ITALIAN LITERATURE II  3 credits
This course will examine the principal literary movements of the Italian tradition from the 16th century to contemporary times. Works by Galileo Galilei, Cesare Beccaria, Alessandro Manzoni, Giacomo Leopardi, Giovanni Verga, Cesare Pavese, and Natalia Ginzburg, among others, will be studied.  Discussions of modernity, Italian history, and literary genre will provide a contexts for the readings. 


ITAL 350 – Italian Film 3 credits
This course is an historical overview of how the most modern form of visual and narrative art responded to Italian culture, i.e. one of the richest traditions in painting, mosaic, and theater. From silent movies to current productions, the history of Italian film parallels and documents also the history of a modern nation, from pre-industrial to post-industrial economy. The course is conducted in English.


TAL 371 - Advanced Grammar and Composition, 3 cr.  Course taught in Italian. The goal of the course is to improve the understanding of Italian advanced grammar. This will be accomplished through: reading, analysis and discussion of a wide range of Italian texts, both literary and non-literary, in order to gain familiarity with many styles, registers and uses of the language. Students will also be involved in a substantial amount of guided writing in which they will have the opportunity to practice and experiment with topics in grammar, style, register and literary genres as they are discussed throughout the semester. Focusing on these areas will allow students to improve written and spoken communication skills. Active class participation is essential and will be a part of the evaluative process. Requirements: Weekly assignments, formal compositions, a midterm and a final exam. Prerequisite: Italian 240 or 246


ITALIAN  397K-ST- FOOD, HISTORY, & CULTURAL IDENTITY IN ITAY 3 credits
Course taught in English. Reading in Italian available for Italian majors.
Italian bread, Italian seasoning, Italian herbs, Italian breadcrumbs, Italian sausage, Italian vinaigrette, and finally "Ristorante Italiano" appear to refer, outside of Italy, to a concept of Italian cuisine that is universally recognized, though very generic and undefined. From the Alps to the coasts of Sicily, over the centuries, Italy has produced countless individual culinary traditions, which express themselves through local products, recipes, rituals, and cooking techniques. Though clearly distinct from each other, these traditions do share a sense of belonging to a national cuisine - loosely identified with the Mediterranean diet - of international recognition, which has in its dramatic diversity and almost infinite variety, its most distinctive traits. The local traditions that make Italian cuisine are the result of the interaction between centuries of history that have forged Italian culture and identity, and a territory that has shaped the inhabitants who are deeply rooted in it. This course will investigate possible strategies to elaborate a credible definition of "Italian cuisine" that is applicable to food in Italy as well as outside the country.


ITAL 397MD ST- ITALY &  THE MEDITERRANEAN  3 credits
Course taught in English.
This course will approach the rich Mediterranean tapestry by focusing on connections among the various cultures of the Mediterranean basin. Emphases on art/architecture, literature, environmental practices, commerce, and food, from a historical perspective. Examples will be taken chiefly from Sicily and Southern Italy, North Africa, Venice, Turkey (Constantinople) and the Middle East, Spain, and France; from the medieval period to more recent colonial occupations and contemporary migrations. 


ITAL 497AF - The "Maestri" Antonioni and Fellini, 3 cr. Prof. Andrea Malaguti
Course taught in Italian. This course examines the parallel work of two recognized masters of world cinema, Michelangelo Antonioni (1912-2007) and Federico Fellini (1920-1993) between the 1950s and the early 1970s, from their common origins and collaborations to their gradually diverging ways of coping with Italy’s progressive modernization and finally to their complementary ideas of the world and of cinema, which have now become global paradigms. Course crosslisted at the 400 and 500 levels, with different course requirements for graduate and undergraduate students.


ITAL 497CF- A HARD LOOK ON REALITY: ITALIAN NEO-REALISM AND BEYOND.  3 credits
1946-1953: after the end of the war, Italy finally gets its chance of becoming a modern nation. Political and historical contradictions, memories of the recent past, expectations for the imminent future, and social conflicts converge into some of the most important productions in the history of the film form, which historians will later regroup under the rubric ‘neo-realism.’ Actors and film directors like Vittorio De Sica, Luchino Visconti, and Roberto Rossellini revolutionized the film form and function in a way that would later prove crucial throughout worldwide filmmaking. The course investigates the writings and the major feature films of these directors and of others to understand the aesthetic and ideological implications of their ways of representing reality.


ITAL  497DF- ST THE DIVAS: FEMALE ICONS IN ITALIAN CINEMA 3 credits
The course explores the social role and meaning of some of the most important actresses of post-WWII Italian cinema (Anna Magnani, Sofia Loren, and Monica Vitti, among others) as both metamorphic representatives and problematic probes of a rapidly modernizing society, and proposes a model of the female figure as ?the active face of the crisis? (Giorgio Tinazzi).  Conducted in English.


ITAL 497EM- EXPRESSIONS OF THE MODERN  3 credits 
This course addresses the notion of "Modernity" in Europe through the wide rage of its expressions in different fields such as philosophy, literature, figurative arts, music, etc. Italian Modernism will be presented against the backdrop of the European modernist movement, emphasizing its constant dialogue with other national cultures, as well as with its own cultural tradition and contemporary social and political situation.
Course taught in Italian. Undergraduate and graduate sections combined with different requirements.


ITAL 497FB ST- ITALIAN FILM/HISTORY & MEMORY- FASCISM REVISITED BY THE ITALIAN DEMOCRACY.  3 credits 
The course examines how major film directors, novelists, and poetshave revisited the encumbering inheritance of the ventennio fascista (?twenty years of fascism?) in a nation whose cultural identity is based on anti-fascism and whose constitution forbids the reconstitution of the Fascist Party.  Questions of national identity will be addressed. Lectures and readings shall be in English, but primary texts of fiction and poetry shall be available (and required) for those who need credits in Italian.


ITAL  497FL ST- F. FELLINI: THE LIAR  3 credits 
The course investigates how Federico Fellini's work collaborates to construct the fiction now globally understood as Italian identity also through the relationship between the camera and the audience.


ITAL 497J-ST-DANTE & THE DUECENTO  3 credits 
Taught in English.
In this course, students will become familiar with the major currents of thirteenth-century Italian poetry and will explore Dante's <i>Divine Comedy</i> as an encyclopedic compendium of medieval thought as well as a very personal vision of the individual's place in the universe, a journey that is as meaningful now as it was 700 years ago. Counts toward Italian major and minor as well as the Medieval Studies Certificate. Crosslisted with ITALIAN 608.


ITAL 497L-ST-LIT, THEORY, & THINKING   3 credits  
Course offered in Italian in two sections at 400 and 500 levels, with different course requirements for graduate and undergraduate students. The course will address, in particular, the relationship between literature, theory and thinking in Italo Calvino's late works and essays. Special emphasis will be placed on Calvino's effort in approaching the complexity of modern experience through his encyclopedic writing technique. Requirements: weekly readings and assignments, two compositions, midterm, presentation and final exam. Taught with ITALIAN 597O.


ITAL 497LP-ST-Literary Periodicals/Italy  3 cr.
The 20th century in Italy is often referred to as "the century of periodicals". This is due to the lively cultural debate that took place on dozens of literary periodicals that sprung up all over the Nation. Evidently, this was the result of the urgent need felt by intellectuals, often young and highly engaged, to create new opportunities outside the formal academic context to share ideas and participate in the cultural debate of one of the most interesting and exciting eras of Italian and European history. This course will provide a synchronic view of this cultural debate as it happened in real time through the pages of some of the most representative periodical publications during the first six decades of the last century, from the pre-WWI years to the immediate WWII aftermath. Born around the tables of literary cafés in Florence, Rome, or Turin and animated by the newest literary theories, artistic avant-garde movements, and social and political turmoil, literary periodicals offered an open forum to Italian intellectuals to share ideas and to explore and interact with the other European cultures, at a time - such as the fascist ventennio - of strict cultural nationalism and censorship. The UMass and Five College libraries offer an outstanding collection of literary periodicals. Throughout the semester we will hold a number of hands-on classes in our libraries in order to familiarize ourselves with the original documents and the appropriate research techniques.


ITAL 497M – Literatures of Fascist Italy 3 cr.
Course taught in Italian.
Course crosslisted at the 400 and 500 levels, with different course requirements for graduate and undergraduate students. The course will present an overview of the many aspects of Italian literary culture during and around the years of the fascist regime: from the hi-brow poetry of Eugenio Montale and Umberto Saba to the cultural debate on pro-fascist and antifascist periodicals, to the bestsellers of the time such as the novels of fascist propaganda, those meant for educating the large public of female readers, the so called "erotic" literature and many other aspects of Italian culture under the regime. Strong emphasis will be placed on the social and historic circumstances of which each text examined was an expression, thus providing an accurate account of the many aspects of fascism in Italy in relation with the larger European context. Requirements: Two formal assignments, midterm, presentations and final paper. Prerequisite: Italian 240 or 246.


ITAL  497N ST-BOCCACCIO'S DECAMERON  3 credits 
This course, taught in Italian
, is an exploration of one of the most loved collections of short stories of all time.


ITAL 497S-ST-History of Italian Gastronomy, 3 cr.
Taught in Italian
and open to advanced undergraduate and graduate students. Graduate students should register for 500 level. The course provides an overview of the development of Italian cuisine and dominant taste from the Middle Ages to the late 19th century tracing the origins of modern Italian culinary tradition as we know it today. Through the analysis of original cookery manuals we will explore ingredients, recipes and menus of the medieval banquet and its importance as a social event, its transformation through the Renaissance and the culinary revolution of the 18th century, leading to the creation of the new cuisine of the upcoming middle class of modern times' Italy.


ITAL 497T-ST-Early Renaissance  3 cr.
This course presents a detailed look at the birth of Humanism, beginning with Petrarca, Boccaccio, Salutati, Valla, Poliziano and Alberti. We then follow selected humanistic themes into the High Renaissance, giving special attention to Ficino, Pico, Pulci, Michelangelo and the courtly scrittori and scrittrici. This is an undergraduate-graduate combination course, taught in Italian for all but separate requirements for each level. Graduates should enroll in Italian 514.


ITAL 514-ST-Early Renaissance  3cr.
This course presents a detailed look at the birth of Humanism, beginning with Petrarca, Boccaccio, Salutati, Valla, Poliziano and Alberti. We then follow selected humanistic themes into the High Renaissance, giving special attention to Ficino, Pico, Pulci, Michelangelo and the courtly scrittori and scrittrici. This is an undergraduate-graduate combination course, taught in Italian for all but separate requirements for each level. Undergraduates should enroll in Italian 497T.


ITAL 572 – Basic Methods of Teaching  3 cr.
This course is taught in English.  This course will explore the teaching of foreign/second languages from theoretical, historical, and practical perspectives.  Students will engage in a range of activities designed to reinforce their understanding of the material and guide its application to their developing language teaching practices. The course is intended for both experienced and inexperienced language teachers.


ITAL 597AF - The "Maestri" Antonioni and Fellini, 3 cr.
Course taught in Italian.
This course examines the parallel work of two recognized masters of world cinema, Michelangelo Antonioni (1912-2007) and Federico Fellini (1920-1993) between the 1950s and the early 1970s, from their common origins and collaborations to their gradually diverging ways of coping with Italy’s progressive modernization and finally to their complementary ideas of the world and of cinema, which have now become global paradigms. Course crosslisted at the 400 and 500 levels, with different course requirements for graduate and undergraduate students.


ITAL 597CF- A HARD LOOK ON REALITY: ITALIAN NEO-REALISM AND BEYOND.  3 credits
1946-1953: after the end of the war, Italy finally gets its chance of becoming a modern nation. Political and historical contradictions, memories of the recent past, expectations for the imminent future, and social conflicts converge into some of the most important productions in the history of the film form, which historians will later regroup under the rubric ‘neo-realism.’ Actors and film directors like Vittorio De Sica, Luchino Visconti, and Roberto Rossellini revolutionized the film form and function in a way that would later prove crucial throughout worldwide filmmaking. The course investigates the writings and the major feature films of these directors and of others to understand the aesthetic and ideological implications of their ways of representing reality. Graduate level.


ITAL  597DF- ST THE DIVAS: FEMALE ICONS IN ITALIAN CINEMA
The course explores the social role and meaning of some of the most important actresses of post-WWII Italian cinema (Anna Magnani, Sofia Loren, and Monica Vitti, among others) as both metamorphic representatives and problematic probes of a rapidly modernizing society, and proposes a model of the female figure as “the active face of the crisis” (Giorgio Tinazzi).  Conducted in English.


ITAL 597EM- EXPRESSIONS OF THE MODERN  3 credits 
This course addresses the notion of "Modernity" in Europe through the wide rage of its expressions in different fields such as philosophy, literature, figurative arts, music, etc. Italian Modernism will be presented against the backdrop of the European modernist movement, emphasizing its constant dialogue with other national cultures, as well as with its own cultural tradition and contemporary social and political situation.
Course taught in Italian. Undergraduate and graduate sections combined with different requirements.


ITAL 597FB ST- ITALIAN FILM/HISTORY & MEMORY- FASCISM REVISITED BY THE ITALIAN DEMOCRACY.  3 credits 
The course examines how major film directors, novelists, and poetshave revisited the encumbering inheritance of the ventennio fascista (?twenty years of fascism?) in a nation whose cultural identity is based on anti-fascism and whose constitution forbids the reconstitution of the Fascist Party.  Questions of national identity will be addressed. Lectures and readings shall be in English, but primary texts of fiction and poetry shall be available (and required) for those who need credits in Italian.


ITAL  597FL ST- F. FELLINI: THE LIAR  3 credits
The course investigates how Federico Fellini's work collaborates to construct the fiction now globally understood as Italian identity also through the relationship between the camera and the audience.


ITAL 597LP –ST-Literary Periodicals/Italy 3 cr.
The 20th century in Italy is often referred to as "the century of periodicals". This is due to the lively cultural debate that took place on dozens of literary periodicals that sprung up all over the Nation. Evidently, this was the result of the urgent need felt by intellectuals, often young and highly engaged, to create new opportunities outside the formal academic context to share ideas and participate in the cultural debate of one of the most interesting and exciting eras of Italian and European history. This course will provide a synchronic view of this cultural debate as it happened in real time through the pages of some of the most representative periodical publications during the first six decades of the last century, from the pre-WWI years to the immediate WWII aftermath. Born around the tables of literary cafés in Florence, Rome, or Turin and animated by the newest literary theories, artistic avant-garde movements, and social and political turmoil, literary periodicals offered an open forum to Italian intellectuals to share ideas and to explore and interact with the other European cultures, at a time - such as the fascist ventennio - of strict cultural nationalism and censorship. The UMass and Five College libraries offer an outstanding collection of literary periodicals. Throughout the semester we will hold a number of hands-on classes in our libraries in order to familiarize ourselves with the original documents and the appropriate research techniques.


ITAL 597M - Literatures of Fascist Italy, 3 cr.
Course taught in Italian. Course crosslisted at the 400 and 500 levels, with different course requirements for graduate and undergraduate students. The course will present an overview of the many aspects of Italian literary culture during and around the years of the fascist regime: from the hi-brow poetry of Eugenio Montale and Umberto Saba to the cultural debate on pro-fascist and antifascist periodicals, to the bestsellers of the time such as the novels of fascist propaganda, those meant for educating the large public of female readers, the so called "erotic" literature and many other aspects of Italian culture under the regime. Strong emphasis will be placed on the social and historic circumstances of which each text examined was an expression, thus providing an accurate account of the many aspects of fascism in Italy in relation with the larger European context.


ITAL  597N ST-BOCCACCIO'S DECAMERON  3 credits 
This course, taught in Italian
, is an exploration of one of the most loved collections of short stories of all time.


ITAL 597O-ST-LIT, THEORY, & THINKING   3 credits  
Course offered in Italian in two sections at 400 and 500 levels, with different course requirements for graduate and undergraduate students. The course will address, in particular, the relationship between literature, theory and thinking in Italo Calvino's late works and essays. Special emphasis will be placed on Calvino's effort in approaching the complexity of modern experience through his encyclopedic writing technique. Requirements: weekly readings and assignments, two compositions, midterm, presentation and final exam. Taught with ITALIAN 497L.


ITAL 597R-ST-History of Italian Gastronomy  3 cr.
Taught in Italian
and open to advanced undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate students should register for 400 level. The course provides an overview of the development of Italian cuisine and dominant taste from the Middle Ages to the late 19th century tracing the origins of modern Italian culinary tradition as we know it today. Through the analysis of original cookery manuals we will explore ingredients, recipes and menus of the medieval banquet and its importance as a social event, its transformation through the Renaissance and the culinary revolution of the 18th century, leading to the creation of the new cuisine of the upcoming middle class of modern times' Italy.


ITAL 608-ST-DANTE’S COMEDY 3 credits 
Taught in English.
In this course, students will become familiar with the major currents of thirteenth-century Italian poetry and will explore Dante's <i>Divine Comedy</i> as an encyclopedic compendium of medieval thought as well as a very personal vision of the individual's place in the universe, a journey that is as meaningful now as it was 700 years ago. Counts toward Italian major and minor as well as the Medieval Studies Certificate. Crosslisted with ITALIAN 497J