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italian studies

Undergraduate Courses in Italian

Spring 2013

For the full list of Italian Studies electives in Romance Languages and other departments, please see the master course list.

 

(Course information subject to change)
(Cross-reference with Course Timetables)


Italian 110
Elementary Italian I
Staff
See Timetable for times
 

Italian 110 is an introductory course. Classes are conducted in Italian and emphasize the development of listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. The course is organized around oral/aural communicative activities such as role-plays and interactive grammar exercises. Your listening skills will be greatly developed for you will be exposed to authentic language spoken at normal speed by native Italians. Some of these are short conversations, songs, poems, video and film clips. Your class work will be supplemented with homework using a workbook. 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 short paragraphs and building up to longer compositions.


Italian 112
Elementary Italian: Accelerated
Staff
See Timetable for times
 

Italian 112 is an intensive elementary language course for students who have never studied Italian before but who have demonstrated a certain facility for learning languages and who have already fulfilled the language requirement.

The course is designed to help students develop functional ability in reading, writing, listening and speaking and gain familiarity with Italian culture. The primary emphasis of the course is on the development of the oral-aural skills, speaking and listening. Readings from authentic material on topics in Italian culture as well as frequent writing practice are also included.

As in other Italian courses, class will be conducted entirely in Italian. Your listening skills will be well developed for you will be exposed to authentic language spoken at normal speed by native Italians. Among these are conversations, both brief and lengthy, songs, letters and poems. We will also view Italian film clips and an entire film. In class, you will be guided through a variety of communicative activities which lead from structured practice to free expression. You will be given frequent opportunity to practice your newly acquired vocabulary and grammatical structures in small groups and pairs, doing exercises which simulate real-life situations. 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. At the end of this course you should have the skills to function comfortably at a basic level in an Italian-speaking environment.


Italian 120
Elementary Italian II
Staff
See Timetable for times
  

Italian 120 is the continuation of the elementary level sequence designed to develop functional proficiency in the four skills. The course is designed to help students develop functional ability in reading, writing, listening and speaking and gain familiarity with Italian culture. The primary emphasis of the course is on the development of the oral-aural skills, speaking and listening. Readings from authentic material on topics in Italian culture as well as frequent writing practice are also included.

As in other Italian courses, class will be conducted entirely in Italian. Your listening skills will be well developed for you will be exposed to authentic language spoken at normal speed by native Italians. Among these are conversations, both brief and lengthy, songs, letters and poems. We will also view Italian film clips and an entire film. In class, you will be guided through a variety of communicative activities which lead from structured practice to free expression. You will be given frequent opportunity to practice your newly acquired vocabulary and grammatical structures in small groups and pairs, doing exercises which simulate real-life situations. 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. At the end of this course you should have the skills to function comfortably at a basic level in an Italian-speaking environment.

Prerequisite(s): Italian 110 or a score equivalent for placement in level 120 on the Italian placement exam (see Romance Languages Department


Italian 134
Intermediate Italian: Accelerated
Staff
See Timetable for times

Italian 134 is the intensive and accelerated course that combines in one semester the intermediate sequence (130 and 140). It 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 on your own. The course 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 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.


Italian 140
Intermediate Italian II
Staff
See Timetable for times

Italian 140 is the second 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 on your own. The course will allow you to explore culturally relevant topics and to develop cross-cultural skills through the exploration of analogies and differences between your native culture and the Italian world. The course will move beyond stereotypical presentations of Italy and its people to concentrate on specific social issues together with cultural topics.

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 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.


Italian 201
Advanced Italian I
Prof. Rossi

See Timetable for time

The goal of the Italian 201-202 sequence is to prepare students for study in upper level courses in Italian literature and cinema by guiding them through a selection of films and readings specifically chosen to bring students to the required level of linguistic and cultural competence. The sequence is also suggested for those students who do not intend to pursue a Major or Minor in Italian but would like to further improve their knowledge of the Italian language and culture. The course will focus on a recent movie by Italian director Tullio Giordana, La meglio gioventú (2002), which will be used as a point of departure to explore contemporary Italian culture following its development since the 1960s. Another recent movie, Mio fratello è figlio unico (2007), will be viewed and analyzed at the conclusion of the course as compared to La meglio gioventú. Pertinent literary texts, newspaper articles, as well as material in other media will complement the analysis of the film and allow an in depth discussion of the most important topics. The cultural material of the course will be also used as a basis for a review of the most difficult grammar structures, with an emphasis on those necessary to express opinion and formulate hypothesis.

Audiovisual materials and readings have been carefully chosen to develop students’ comprehension and production in Italian, and to enable them to function in an academic setting in which competence at the advanced level is required. Class work will center primarily on conversation to improve students’ fluency, vocabulary, and accuracy in speaking in the formal register. Homework will consist primarily, but not exclusively, of paragraph length blog entries and 1½-2 page compositions to improve students’ ability to express themselves correctly and elegantly in written Italian.


Italian 202
Advanced Italian II

Prof. Veneziano Broccia
See Timetable for time

The goal of the Italian 201/Italian 202 sequence is to prepare students for study in upper level courses in Italian literature and cinema by guiding them through a selection of films and readings. These courses are also suggested for those students who do not intend to pursue a Major or Minor in Italian but would like to further improve their knowledge of Italian language and culture. These courses will bring students’ language to the advanced level.

At the advanced level, students will be willing to participate in conversations and communicate with others about topics relating to themselves, their community, region and country, as well as the content covered in these courses. The advanced student will be able to speak in the past, present and future tenses about a variety of topics quite accurately, at paragraph-length, while using rich, appropriate vocabulary.

In Italian 202, taught exclusively in Italian, students will perfect their communication skills while exploring significant aspects of contemporary Italian culture and history. In addition, students will take further steps towards interpreting and contextualizing authentic Italian materials. Films and texts, like those of songs and readings, will be used as windows on Italian politics, society and history and will serve as a tool to investigate the many facets of an Italian identity and, at the same time, as a way to prepare those students who will continue with their study of Italian literature and culture. We will explore particular historical periods, cultural movements, political instances and social customs.

Speaking, listening, reading and writing activities – role plays, discussions, oral presentations, journals – will be based on audio-visual material and written texts provided by the instructor, and purchased and/or proposed by the students themselves based on their independent explorations and research. In this class students will continue learning Italian through its many practical uses and will be engaged in task-based activities that will allow them to utilize the language in a realistic and creative way. Linguistic structures will be revised as needed.


Italian 203
Italian Literature

Prof. Johnston

See Timetable for time

Italian 203 is an introductory course aimed at offering 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, up to the latest trends in Italian cinema, this course explores a wide range of literary genres, themes and cultural debates by analyzing texts within their socio-political context.

The course will help students expand their vocabulary, improve their skills in critical interpretation and reinforce their written and oral competence in Italian through a variety of activities such as class discussions, presentations, short papers and research projects.

All readings and class discussions will be in Italian. The prerequisite for this course is Italian 201 or an equivalent course taken abroad. This course is a requirement for all majors and minors in Italian Literature. It may be taken at any time in the curriculum after 201, and by permission from the Undergraduate Chair, concurrently with 201 or 202. The prerequisite for this course is the fifth semester course in Italian – Italian 201, or an equivalent course taken abroad.


Italian 204
Italian History on Screen
Prof. Benini

See Timetable for time

How has our image of Italy arrived to us? Where does the story begin and who has recounted, rewritten, and rearranged it over the centuries? In this course, we will study Italy’s rich and complex past and present. We will carefully read literary and historical texts and thoughtfully watch films in order to attain an understanding of Italy that is as varied and multifaceted as the country itself. Discussions and readings will allow us to examine the problems and trends in the political, cultural and social history from ancient Rome to today. We will focus on: the Roman Empire, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Unification, Turn of the Century, Fascist era, World War II, post-war and contemporary Italy.

Students will independently view one film per week, available at Rosengarten Reserve. Film screenings will also be scheduled for those that prefer to watch the movies as a class. All students are expected to see all films and be prepared to participate in in-class discussion as well as to write journal entries. All readings are also required and students are expected to read carefully, prepare specific questions to share with the class and contribute thoughtfully to their own journal entries and time lines. Course taught in English; films with English subtitles, all readings available in English. No prerequisites.


Italian 288
Blood, Sweat and Pasta
Prof. Pellicone

See Timetable for time

Popular culture frequently serves a bounteous spread of representations of Italian-Americans to an audience hungering for more. In this course we will explore historic events, social conditions, aesthetic trends, and political motivations behind the proliferation of ruthless gangsters, lovable buffoons, irresistible lovers, and claustrophobic families comprising the pantheon of Italian-Americans images of our shared American consciousness. To understand the rise of these popular stereotypes, and, perhaps, to dismantle them we will read novels by authors such as Pascal D'Angelo (Son of Italy), John Fante (Ask The Dust); Mario Puzo (The Fortunate Pilgrim); Pietro di Donato (Christ in Concrete); Jerre Mangione (Mount Allegro); Helen Barolini (Umbertina), and Francine Prose (Household Saints). We will also read Albert Innaurato’s comedic play (Gemini) and selected poetry of John Ciardi. In addition to literary analysis, we will discuss representation of Italian-Americans in American cinema and television, and films such as The Godfather, Saturday Night Fever, Rocky, Moonstruck, My Cousin Vinny, Raging Bull, Big Night, and Radio Days, as well as episodes of television shows such as The Jersey Shore, Friends, The Golden Girls,The Sopranos, and Everybody Loves Raymond.


Italian 300-301
Ideals of Femininity Across Italian Literature and Art
Prof. Johnston
See Timetable for time

This course will be taught in Italian and is open to students who have completed Italian 203. It will explore ideals of femininity in Italian culture as expressed in literary texts and in the visual arts, from the Thirteenth century to contemporary Italy, in terms of aesthetics and of behavioral models. We will examine, among others, written works by Dante, Petrarca, and Boccaccio as well as visual documents by Ambrogio Lorenzetti; the writings of male and female Petrarchist poets and of codifiers of society such as Baldassar Castiglione and Moderata Fonte, as well as paintings by Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Bronzino; the presence of women on the literary and artistic scene in the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth centuries, from Parini's vacuous aristocrats and Goldoni's budding business women to Francesco De Andrè prostitutes and Oriana Fallaci's rejection of motherhood, with an eye to portraiture and cinema.


Italian 300-401
Italian American Experience

Prof. Juliani

See Timetable for time

This course examines (1) the experience of Italians as immigrants to the United States from their earliest presence, then through the era of mass immigration, and now at a time of more recent arrivals; (2) their acculturation and assimilation in subsequent generations as Americans; and (3) the principal social, cultural, economic and political aspects of Italian American life today. While focusing on one of the largest immigrant groups in American history it has its own significance. But rather than being an isolated and self-contained matter, it has implications for other groups as well — whether they arrived before the Italians, or came with them, or have come more recently and are still coming — and together comprise the American people.  

The Italian case tested the capacity of America to absorb the foreign born and their descendants, by asking whether and how these newcomers and their culture were accepted. As a reflection on race and ethnic relations, it provides a measure of what awaits more recent newcomers in their own encounter with America.  

Although dealing with frequently controversial and provocative issues, the approach is clinical and analytic, rather than ideological, polemical or celebratory. Its interdisciplinary aspect includes history, anthropology, sociology, and social psychology. It is based on scholarly research and interpretation that seeks to connect the descriptive and the conceptual; the humanistic and the scientific; the personal and the objective. By studying this group and the social processes that serve to define its position in our society, students, whether they belong to that group or any other, should understand more about themselves.


Italian 333
Dante's
Divine Comedy

Prof. Brownlee

See Timetable for time  

In this course we will read the Inferno, the Purgatorio 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 serves 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 doing the written assignments in Italian.

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Please note that some graduate courses are open also to advanced undergraduates.  Check the graduate courses web page and speak directly to faculty members regarding availability.

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This page last modified on: March 8, 2013
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