Italian Studies

Graduate Seminars

The Graduate Program in Italian offers a wide array of seminars on topics of literature and culture, covering a chronological span from the medieval to the contemporary period and encompassing a variety of disciplinary approaches and methodologies, from cultural history to new philology, from cartography to philosophy and literature. Here below is a sample of graduate courses that the Italian faculty teaches on a regular basis.

ROIT 63090 – History of Italian Language 

T. Cachey

An advanced introduction to the history of the Italian language from Le origini to the High Renaissance with special emphasis on Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio during the medieval period and Bembo, Castiglione, and Machiavelli for the Renaissance.

ROIT 63113 – Dante’s World of Books

Z. Barański 

First, the course provides an overview of all Dante’s writings, the books he actually produced. Second, it explores his intellectual formation and his attitude towards the literary tradition—the books that were probably present in his ‘library’. Third, it explores the manner in which Dante synthesized his different ideological and poetic interests in order to develop an incisive and powerful assessment and critique of humanity’s position in the order of divine creation, or “God’s book”. The course thus attempts to investigate the complex inter-relationship that Dante forged between his books and the ‘book’ of God the Creator.

ROIT 63540 – Italian Renaissance Theatre: Origins through Commedia Dell’Arte

C. Moevs

The course traces the development of theatre in Italy from its medieval origins through the European-wide phenomenon of the Commedia dell’Arte, focusing in particular on humanistic and Renaissance comedies (including Ariosto, Bibbiena, Machiavelli, Caro, Bruni, Aretino, and Ruzante), but we also discuss tragedies and pastoral dramas, Renaissance dramatic theory, theatre design, set design, costuming, and staging, using documents from the time.

ROIT 63610 – Novels of Revolutionary Italy: Fictions of History 

S. Ferri

The course examines the relationship between history, fiction, and nation-making in Italy through the study of novels written between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. We also study shorter prose works and selections from key works of narrative theory. The course concludes with a foray into the 20th century. Authors include Vico, Cuoco, Foscolo, Manzoni, Nievo, and Tomasi di Lampedusa.

ROIT 63780 – After the Flood: Postwar Italy

C. Leavitt

This course explores the discourses of recovery, reconstruction, and redemption in postwar Italian culture. Through the analysis of Italian literature, cinema, theatre, and art, we will consider issues including the Allied occupation, the return of prisoners of war and survivors of the Holocaust, the Resistance and its mythology, and the continuity of conflict after the war. The questions we investigate include: How do you rebuild a country? How do you remake a culture, an identity, a society? What is the role of art in a moment of public reckoning and national reconstruction?

LLRO 63075 – Foreign Language Acquisition and Instruction

A. Blad

An introduction to theories of foreign language acquisition and methods of foreign language instruction related to them, including the direct, cognitive, communicative, and input (natural) approaches. 

ROIT 63010 – Introduction to Advanced Studies

This course consists of a series of lectures given by the Italian faculty in residence. It introduces students to a range of theoretical approaches and literary methods, to major questions in the field of Italian studies, to bibliographical and research methods, and to general matters of professionalization.