All courses are taught in the American liberal
arts tradition and follow a semester calendar with a 15-week fall session,
a 15-week spring session and a 5-week summer session. All
instruction is in English. Prior study in Italian is not required.
Course are designed to
immerse students into the Italian environment; on-site learning is an
integral part of the academic program.
A variety of co- and
extra-curricular activities including field trips in and around Tuscany,
museum visits, tours, and attendance at cultural events and
performances are often included in the course syllabi.
Our study abroad program is organized to offer
different courses in the fields of Social and Political Sciences, History,
Italian Language, Media, Fine and Liberal Arts.
Frequent guest speakers from industry,
politics and the entertainment environment will be adding another dimension
to the quality of classes run, as well as the visits to factories and
political institutions will enhance in the students the overall knowledge
and appreciation of their host society and its culture.
All students can enroll in a 3-credit
Italian language course. The introductory language course is designed to
assist students to quickly and effectively begin communicating in Italian.
Intermediate and advanced courses further practice the skills of students
with proficiency in the language. Italian is not a required course during
the summer session. Students choose from the variety of elective courses for
a minimum of 12 credits per semester. Part-time study is not permitted.
Beginning Italian Language
This is an entry level Italian
language course designed for students who have never studied the language
before. After completing this course, students will be able to communicate in
everyday situations such as introducing themselves, shopping for food or
clothing, asking for directions, and making reservations. The course goal is a
solid basic grammatical understanding of the Italian language, listening,
speaking, reading and writing skills.
Designed for students who have
attended at least one beginning level Italian course, students will build on
grammar and vocabulary learned in the first semester.
Advanced Italian Language
For students who have completed
two semesters of Italian Language, this course will develop further grammatical
proficiency, pronunciation and reading comprehension.
Culture and Society of Italy
After an introduction to the
geography and history of the peninsula and to the cultural significance of the
idea of Italy from its unification to the new millennium, the course will
analyze the political scene, the latest economic and social transformations, the
problems of contemporary Italy, the North-South ‘division’ and other regional
differences. Through an interdisciplinary approach, the course will explore the
main cultural and social components of contemporary Italy, and how they effect
the lifestyle of one of the most important European countries. Particular
attention will be devoted to the concept of Italy as a united entity and to its
political, cultural and social significance in the past centuries, as well as in
the present. The course aims to also show the tight link between history and
geography in Italy, and how it evolved during these recent centuries, by
lectures, handouts and specifically aimed field trips to Central Italian
Italian Cinema since 1945
This course surveys Italian
cinema from its origins to the present. Its objective is to acquaint the student
with a wide variety of genres and Italian directors. This course will present a
survey of films, directors and film styles in Italy from the 1940’s to the
present. The films will be studied as aesthetic objects in their own right and
in their relation to the wider social and cultural environment of post-war
Italy. Cinema’s role as a tool of historiographic inquiry will also be
investigated. Realist, modernist and post-modernist aesthetics will be discussed
in relation to Italian cinema in particular, and Italian society in general.
Film screenings will be supplemented by lectures, class discussions and
Films screened: Rome Open
City, Bicycle Thief, Umberto D, Voyage to Italy, La
DolceVita, Il Sorpasso, For a Fistful of Dollars, The
Night of the Shooting Stars and Lamerica.
History and Sociology of Mafia
The mafia of Sicily pursues power and money by cultivating the art of killing
people and getting away with it, and by organizing itself in a unique way that
combines the attributes of a shadow state, an illegal business, and a sworn
secret society like the Freemasons. Cosa Nostra is an exclusive secret society
because it needs to select its affiliates very carefully and impose restrictions
on their behavior in return for the benefits of membership. The chief demands
that it makes of its members are that they be discreet, obedient, and ruthlessly
The course analyses the Sicilian Mafia through an historical, social and
cultural perspective, tracing its progression from the National unity of Italy
to the present day.
An analysis of
the sociological aspects of the mafia is considered essential, including “the
code of silence” or
the many different ways of violence, the social relationships within the
organization, the role of women in Cosa Nostra, the way
communicate with each other and the external world, the structures of power, the
businesses of the mafia, and the relationships between mafia, politics, and
History of Renaissance
Through examination of the
historical and philosophical aspects of the Italian Renaissance, this course
considers major cultural developments in their historical contexts. In addition
to basic political history, the course also focuses on developments in music,
the arts, literature, science and changes in society. The situation in several
Italian city-states will be compared to developments in the rest of Western
Europe, leading students to consider the significance of the term "Renaissance"
History of Modern Italy
This course examines the
principle events behind the unification of Italy while considering the problems
it has raised. The rise of the Fascist movement and the government of Mussolini
will be studied in contrast to opposition movements on the Left. Post-WWII
recovery and difficulties in the Italian Republic will be studied in contrast to
the Italian tradition of the city-state, such as the contention between Rome,
the Vatican and the rest of the country, and the North-South divide.
POLITICAL SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
History and Politics of the
The course is based on an
analysis of the European unification process in a political-economic
perspective. The course considers the period from the Bretton Woods agreement to
the rise of the European Monetary Union and analyzes the evolution of the
international economic relations of the European countries, in particular
towards the U.S.A. Focal topics of the course are intra-European relations,
international financial history of the whole period, and International monetary
Lectures will be devoted to
understanding the evolution of European politics and economy from the conflicts
that generated World War II, to the development of a common policy.
Politics of Modern Italy
This course examines the main
features of Italy's development from unification in 1870 until the Second World
War. This course serves as an introduction to studies on contemporary Italy and
involves the study and analysis of selected speeches and documents in Italian in
order to familiarize students with the fabric of history and political
discourse. Among the topics discussed are: the birth of Political Catholicism;
Giolitti and Italian Liberalism; the development of the left through the
reformism of Turati to the Maximalism of Serrati; the formation of the Italian
Communist Party; the rise of Mussolini, the consolidation of Fascism and its
domestic and foreign policies.
Italian -American Relations
in the 20th Century
The course will examine the
relations between Italy and the United States from the 1891 New Orleans incident
to the present. Pivotal topics will be the controversy over Fiume at the end of
World War I, U.S. appeasement toward the Fascist regime, World War II and its
consequences, the role of the United States in Italy's postwar reconstruction,
American opposition to the Italian Communist Party with specific attention to
the 1948, 1953, and 1976 parliamentary elections, the attitude of the United
States toward the so-called opening to the Left, and Italy's participation in
NATO from the Cold War to the aftermath of the collapse of the Communist regimes
in Western Europe. The lobbying activities of Italian Americans in the United
States to the benefit of their ancestral country will also be analyzed.
Political Geography of
experiencing tremendous political, social and economic change with the continued
growth of the European Union and the transition to free-market economies in
Central and Eastern Europe. During this period, Europe has been described as
both one and many as the region experiences movement toward both
unification and division.
physical environment, demographic issues, political systems, cultural
landscapes, urban and regional development are major themes to be explored. The
course material will examine all of Europe, however, emphasis will be placed on
Western Europe, the Mediterranean Basin and the role of Italy within Europe.
Historical and Political
Geography of Italy
The course has an
interdisciplinary approach, presenting the relation between the different layers
of time (History) as they happened within space (Geography), with a particular
focus on Central Italy between Renaissance and the nineteenth century.
After an introduction to the
physical conformation of Italy and its geographical features, the course will
analyze how the most important central Italian historical happenings took place
within such spaces, and how the latter were modified by the former. Particular
attention will be devoted to the study of specific historical and
economic-political episodes that have transformed the Italian society since the
fifteenth century, and the way these transformations have changed the
(political) geography of the Italian peninsula, with a focus on the agricultural
changes and the transportation network.
The course will show the tight
link between geography, history and politics in Italy, and how it evolved during
these recent centuries, by lectures, original documents, maps and specifically
aimed field trips to Central Italian destinations (within the regions of Tuscany
This course will be based on
the texts and analysis of a selected number of fundamental works from the second
half of the 20th Century. The importance of the texts in question is linked to
their focus on the history and politics of Italy in crucial moments of Italian
history. In a series of lectures, extracts from Leonardo Sciascia, Ignazio
Silone, Carlo Levi, Elio Vittorini, Cesare Pavese, Italo Calvino and Giorgio
Bassani, and class discussions, students will become familiar with the
significant historical milestones in Italian history from the Resistance to the
power of the Mafia etc.
Italian Literature: Women’s
This course will be a general
introduction to women’s writing in Italy in the last 50 years. From reading the
works of Ortese, Morante, Capriolo, Duranti and Morazzoni, the importance of the
contribution of women’s writing to Italian literature will become apparent.
In a series of lectures,
readings and class discussions, students will become familiar with a variety of
styles and means of expression by analyzing different literary genres while
under the common theme of contrast between nature and truth.
Art History: Romanesque and Gothic
In the first half
of the Trecento, the masters of Florence and Siena created a new art that
revolutionized the vision of Western Europe and that seems to lead toward the
Early Renaissance. This course covers in particular the Romanesque and Gothic
periods of the late Middle Ages. The similarity to structures designed in
Florence in the early 15th century, have led most art historians to name this
period also the ‘Protorenaissance’.
lectures from only part of this course - as we are so ideally located, much of
our study will take the form of several on-site visits in Florence; included are
also trips to Siena and Assisi. Trip to Venice and Rome will provide golden
opportunities to see some of the period’s masterpieces.
Among the subjects
and artists covered by the course are: Florentine and Pisan Romanesque,
Florentine and Sienese Gothic, Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, Andrea Pisano,
Arnolfo di Cambio, Cimabue, Giotto, Duccio, Simone Martini, Pietro and Ambrogio
Lorenzetti and Orcagna.
High and Late Renaissance
High Renaissance Style in
Florence and Rome is examined. Development of this style is traced in northern
Italy, especially Venice. Works studied include Leonardo, Michelangelo and
Raphael in Florence and in Rome. The latter part of this course further examines
development of the ideal in classic high Renaissance style evidenced in works by
Giorgione. Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto and Palladio are studied
The classroom lectures form
only a part of this course - we are so ideally located, much of our study will
take the form of several on-site visits in Florence. Among the artists
covered by the course are: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raffaello, Andrea del Sarto,
Fra Bartolomeo, Correggio, Giorgione, Tiziano, Bramante, Serlio, Palladio.
Modern European Art
A review of modern Italian art
from its foundations in the nineteenth century with the work of the Macchiaioli
and the Divisionists up to contemporary developments including the Arte Povera
Movement and Transavanguardia. The rise of modern Italian art will be
considered in context with other European modern art concepts, the impact of
politics and historical events, and the reception in Italy of theoretical and
formal ideas derived from key sources from Impressionism and Post-Impressionism,
Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism, Dada and Surrealism, as well as considering critical
responses to and receptions of Italian modern art.
Theoretical and critical texts
are drawn from the artists themselves and their contemporaries which are used to
situate and define the changing aesthetic and ideological preoccupations that
have informed modern Italian art since the Risorgimento period in the nineteenth
century to the present.