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introduction

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the language requirement in italian

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italian studies

Spring 2008

(Course information subject to change)
(Cross-reference with Department Roster)

Italian 100-301
Topics: Freshman Seminar
Petrarch and Boccaccio
Prof. Pellicone
MWF 2-3

Focusing on Boccaccio’s short stories (the Decameron) and Petrarch’s lyric poetry (the Canzoniere), this course will explore how these two friends responded to their fourteenth-century world as it survived the Black Death and the Hundred Years’ War in a great cultural transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Later writers who transmitted their work establish cultural continuities to our own day, indelibly influencing our own twenty-first century vision of modernity. Readings in English with dual-language edition of Petrarch’s poems. Course conducted in English. May be counted toward an Italian Studies major or minor.

Italian 100-401
Topics: Freshman Seminar
Italian Comic Films
Prof. Benini
MWF 1-2

In this course we will explore a popular genre in Italian cinema whose roots date back to the Commedia dell’Arte theatrical tradition. We will investigate the portrait of Italian society expressed through comic films, particularly in the golden age of Commedia all’Italiana, between the late Fifties and the early Seventies, with the tragicomic plots of Monicelli’s, Comencini’s, Risi’s and Germi’s films used as a powerful commentary on the social malaise of the Italian economic miracle. We will then approach the latest aspects of the genre, through the contributions of talented comic actors and/or directors such as Nichetti, Benigni, Troisi, Moretti, Salvatores, Virzì and Soldini. The course will also discuss theories of comedy with reference to Aristotle, Freud, Bergson and Bakhtin among others.

The course will be taught in English. May be counted toward an Italian Studies major or minor.

Italian 110
Elementary Italian
Staff
MWF 10-11, TR 9:30-10:30

A first semester elementary language course for students who have never studied Italian before or who have taken a placement test and received a score below 380. All students who have previously studied Italian are required to take the placement test. Classes are conducted in Italian and emphasize the development of listening comprehension and speaking, with training in reading and writing. The course is organized around oral/aural communicative activities such as role-plays and interactive grammar exercises. In Italian 110 your listening skills will be greatly developed for you will be exposed daily to authentic language spoken at normal speed by native Italians. Some of these are short conversations, songs, and poems. As the semester progresses the conversations will be longer. Your classwork will be supplemented with homework using a cassette with a workbook, to further enhance your listening skills. In class you will get ample opportunity to speak, as much of the class period will be spent working in pairs or small groups. You will also be exposed to simple Italian texts so that your reading skills will be developed. These texts will gradually become more complex as you acquire the vocabulary necessary to read at a higher level. You will also be challenged to work on your writing skills, starting with sentences and building up to paragraph-length essays.

Italian 112
Elementary Italian-Accelerated
Staff
MW 3:30-5, TR 4:30-6

Italian 112 is an intensive elementary language course for students who have never studied Italian before and who have already fulfilled the language requirement in another modern language. Students who have fulfilled the language requirement in a language other than a romance language, will be considered on an individual basis.

As in other Italian courses, class will be conducted entirely in Italian. Your listening skills will be well for you will be exposed to daily authentic language spoken at normal speed by native Italians. Among these are conversations, both brief and lengthy, songs, letters, and poems. You will be guided through a variety of communicative activities in class which lead you from structured practice to free expression. You will be given frequent opportunity to practice your newly acquired vocabulary and grammatical structures in a small group and pair work which simulates real-life situations. Your class work will be supplemented with homework using a cassette with a workbook, to further enhance your listening skills. You will also be exposed to authentic Italian texts so that your reading skills will be developed. These texts include articles from newspapers and magazines as well as literary pieces. They will become more complex as you acquire the vocabulary necessary to read at a higher level. You will also be challenged to work on your writing skills, for you will be given ample opportunity to write about diverse topics.

Italian 120
Elementary Italian II
Staff
(See timetables for times)

Prerequisite: Italian 110 or a score equivalent for placement in level 120 on the Italian placement exam (see Romance Languages Department). Italian 120 is the continuation of an elementary level sequence designed to develop functional proficiency in the four skills. The primary emphasis is on the development of the oral-aural skills, speaking and listening. Readings on topics in Italian culture as well as frequent writing practice are also included in the course.

Italian 130
Intermediate Italian
Staff
MW 1-2, TR 1:30-2:30

Italian 130 is the first half of a two-semester intermediate sequence designed to help you attain a level of proficiency that will allow you to function comfortably in an Italian-speaking environment. The course will build on your existing skills in Italian, increase your confidence and your ability to read, write, speak and understand the language, and introduce you to more refined lexical items, more complex grammatical structures, and more challenging cultural material. You are expected to have already learned the most basic grammatical structures in elementary Italian and to review these. The course textbook, together with all supplementary materials, will allow you to explore culturally relevant topics and to develop cross-cultural skills through the exploration of similarities and differences between your native culture and the Italian world. As in other Italian courses at Penn, class will be conducted entirely in Italian. Your attendance and participation in Italian is of the utmost importance because you will work collaboratively with your classmates and your instructor towards increased linguistic competence and a more complex understanding of Italian culture. You will be expected to complete homework exercises in preparation for class. Written and oral assignments will provide structured practice of linguistic forms, while also challenging your creative skills.

Prerequisite(s): Completion of Italian 120 at Penn or a placement score between 450 and 540 on the Achievement Exam (SAT II).

Italian 134
Intermediate Italian: Accelerated
Staff
MW 2-3:30, TR 3-4:30

Italian 134 is an intensive intermediate course, covering the equivalent of Italian 130 and 140 in one semester. It is primarily designed for students who have completed Italian 112, but students with a particularly strong performance in Italian 120 are allowed to enroll with a departmental permit. Italian 134 covers the materials explored in 130 and in 140: see descriptions of Italian 130 (above) and Italian 140 (below).

Italian 140
Intermediate Italian II
Staff
(See timetables for times)

Italian 140 is the second half of a two-semester intermediate sequence designed to help you attain a level of competency that should allow you to function comfortably in an Italian-speaking environment. The course will build on your existing skills in Italian, increase your confidence and your ability to read, write, speak and understand the language, and introduce you to more refined lexical items, more complex grammatical structures, and more challenging cultural material.

The textbook Ponti and other material (readings, films, songs) will allow you to explore culturally relevant topics, develop cross-cultural skills through the exploration of analogies and differences between your native culture and the Italian world, thus building a bridge ( ponte) of cultural and linguistic awareness. The detective story Una storia semplice, will strengthen your linguistic abilities and introduce you to the fascinating world of Italian literature.

As in other Italian courses at Penn, class will be conducted entirely in Italian. Your attendance and participation is of the utmost importance, because you will work collaboratively with your classmates and your instructor towards an increased linguistic competence and a more complex understanding of Italian culture. You will be expected to read and to complete language exercises in preparation for class. Written and oral assignments will provide structured practice of the linguistic forms necessary for negotiating the concepts and questions presented through the course, while also challenging and improving your linguistic and creative skills.

By the end of the course, you will have refined and improved your ability to communicate in Italian while also acquiring a more subtle understanding of Italian culture. You will be given the tools to express your opinions, and to challenge and debate those of others, both in writing and in conversation. Writing assignments will develop your abilities to communicate creatively, practically, and persuasively. Listening to and reading the perspectives of Italians through authentic documents will help to enrich vocabulary and strengthen language skills. Also, by means of communicative activities, role-plays and sketches you will be able to achieve a greater fluency in the language.

Italian 180
Italian Conversation in Residence
Staff
TBA

Must be resident of the Modern Language House

Italian 202
Advanced Italian
Prof. Corradi
MTWR 12-1

This course aims at developing and deepening language abilities acquired in the first two years of study; it also prepares students for upper-level courses in literature, culture or cinema. Students will increase their vocabulary and speaking skills through the reading, analysis, and discussion of Niccolò Amanniti’s best-selling novel Io non ho paura. Other reading materials will open windows onto aspects of contemporary Italian culture and society. We will place special emphasis on a thorough review of advanced grammar. Short weekly compositions and a final project will develop writing skills. This course is a prerequisite for other 200-level courses.

Italian 203
Introduction to Italian Literature and Culture
Prof. Benini
MWF 11-12

This is an introductory course aimed to offer students the opportunity to discover Italian Literature and Civilization through readings and reflections upon significant texts of the Italian literary and artistic tradition. From the underworld of Dante to the love poetry of Petrarch, from the political vision of Macchiavelli to the scientific revolution of Galileo, from the modernist fragmentation of Pirandello to the postmodern creations of Calvino, the course explores genres, themes and cultural debates by analyzing texts within their socio-political context.

The course will help students to expand their vocabulary and to reinforce their written and oral competences through a variety of activities such as discussions, presentations, short papers and research projects.

All readings and class discussion will be in Italian. The pre-requisite for this course is Italian 202 or an equivalent course taken abroad. This course is a requirement for all majors and minors in Italian, as well as for all 300 level courses.

Italian 204
Italian History on Screen: How Movies Tell the Story of Italy
Prof. Kirkham
TR 12-1:30

Italian civilization in its encyclopedic sweep, from ancient Rome to the contemporary scene, will be studied through the historian’s eye and the film maker’s lens. How does history “change” depending on time, place, and medium of our retrospective? How do movies, with their stories of military conquests, cultural heroes, romantic intrigue and scandal, differ from accounts in the annals of history? Do directors from the other cultures see it differently from natives? Are there stereotypes? Readings (Machiavelli’s Prince, modern historical texts) will be paired with a range of film types (the spectacle with a cast of thousands, costume drama, Neorealist slice-of-life, political exposè, documentary recreation) focused on successive periods: the Roman Empire, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Unification, Turn of the Century, Fascist era, World War II, post-war years, and Italy today. Students will view one film per week; supplementary clips will be shown by the professor in class for comparison. Course taught in English; films with English subtitles and all readings in English. No prerequisites.

Italian 205
Italia Viva Voce
Prof. Longo
MWF 12-1

An advanced course on conversational interactions, the aim of this class is to enhance audio-oral skills of students and help them to understand and talk more easily and comfortably in a variety of formal and informal situations through communicative practice activities. Authentic listening and speaking activities will be based on Italian news broadcasts, interviews, debates, discussions, audio clips and selected readings on Italian contemporary culture. For each topic some time will also be allowed to revisit specific functions and points of grammar.

Italian 300
Italy and the World: A Long History of Migrations
Prof. Johnston
MWF 10-11

This course explores the history of migrations within, from, and to Italy, from the Middle Ages to the present in order to analyze Italian views of the world and the world’s views of Italy through literary, artistic, social and historical documents in print, film, and on the internet, ranging from Dante to the immigrant authors now publishing in Italian, in Italy.

Italian 333
Dante’s Divine Comedy
Prof. Brownlee
TR 10:30-12

In this course we will read the Inferno, the Pergatorio, and the Paradiso, focusing on a series of interrelated problems raised by the poem: authority, fiction, history, politics, and language. Particular attention will be given to how the Commedia presents itself as Dante’s autobiography and to how the autobiographical narrative searves as a unifying thread for this supremely rich literary text. Supplementary readings will include Virgil’s Aeneid and selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. All readings and written work will be in English. Italian or Italian Studies credit will require reading Italian texts in their original language and writing about their themes in Italian.

Italian 380-401
Italian Mothers in Film and Literature
Prof. Finotti
M 2-5

Mothers play a prominent role in Italian Neorealism. We will examine the cultural construction of motherhood after the World War 2, drawing on the movies of Rossellini, De Sica, Pasolini, Fellini, Benigni, Amelio, Soldini, as well as on novels and poetry. The course will investigate the issue of motherhood exploring the interaction between anthropology, society, politics. We will discuss the relationship between authority and freedom, tradition and innovation, normalization and difference, family and gender.

The reading material and the bibliographical references will be provided in a course reader. Further material will be presented in class. Requirements include class attendance, preparation, and participation, a series of oral responses, and a final oral presentation.

Italian 398
Honors Thesis
Staff

 

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This page last modified on: January 16, 2008
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