Italian

Bruce Arnold, Chair

Denise Falk, Academic Department Coordinator


112 Ciruti Center
413-538-2885
https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/italian

Overview and Contact Information

The major in Italian seeks to foster linguistic fluency and appreciation of the multifaceted culture of the Italian people. In addition to acquiring advanced oral and written proficiency in the Italian language, majors and minors will have the opportunity to access Italy’s rich literary and cultural heritage through cinema, literature, music, art, the Web. Besides selecting courses offered at Mount Holyoke and in the more extended Five College community, students are encouraged to investigate the many study abroad options available to them in such culturally diverse cities as Bologna, Florence, and Padova. A major in Italian language and culture can lead to a variety of national and international careers, from foreign service to fashion marketing, from international banking and trade to film, from a career in nonprofits to teaching.

The weekly Italian table provides a welcoming environment for spontaneous expression and cultural exchange, and the ongoing extracurricular activities of the Italian club, lectures, and films round out the multifaceted learning experience at MHC.

See Also

Faculty

This area of study is administered by the Department of Classics and Italian. Italian faculty include:

Ombretta Frau, Professor of Italian, Teaching Spring Only

Morena Svaldi, Language Instructor in Italian

Bruno Grazioli, Visiting Lecturer in Italian

Martino Lovato, Visiting Lecturer in Classics and Italian

Requirements for the Major

A minimum of 32 credits:

ITAL-209Conversation and Composition4
ITAL-221Introduction to Italian Culture and Literature I4
or ITAL-222 Italian Modernity: Introduction to Modern Italy
Four 300-level courses in Italian literature and culture to be approved by the department 116
8 additional credits in Italian8
Total Credits32
1

At least one 300-level course must be taken in the senior year.

Additional Specifications

  • Courses lower than ITAL-209 cannot be counted toward the major.
  • Independent Study (ITAL-395) may not be used as part of the minimum major requirements.
  • One 200- or 300-level course may be in English translation but must be approved by the department.
  • Students thinking about a major in Italian or studying abroad should contact Professor Frau or Language Instructor Svaldi.

Requirements for the Minor

A minimum of 16 credits

ITAL-209Conversation and Composition4
ITAL-221Introduction to Italian Culture and Literature I4
or ITAL-222 Italian Modernity: Introduction to Modern Italy
At least one course at the 300 level4
One additional course at the 200 or 300 level4
Total Credits16

Additional Specifications

  • Courses lower than ITAL-209 cannot be counted toward the minor.
  • Independent Study (ITAL-395) may not be used as part of the minimum minor requirements.
  • One 200- or 300-level course may be in English translation but must be approved by the department.

Teacher Licensure

Students interested in pursuing licensure in the field of Italian can combine their course work in Italian with a minor in education. In some instances course work in the major coincides with course work required for licensure; in other cases, it does not. For specific course requirements for licensure within the major of Italian, please consult your advisor or the chair of the Department of Classics and Italian. Further information about the minor in education and the Teacher Licensure program is available in other sections of the catalog, or consult Professor Lawrence in the psychology and education department.

Licensure also requires a formal application as well as passing scores on the Massachusetts Test of Educator Licensure (MTEL) in both the literacy component and the subject matter component. Copies of the test objectives for the MTEL are available in the Department of Classics and Italian and in the Department of Psychology and Education.

Additional information about the Licensure Program, including application materials, can be found on the Teacher Licensure Program website.

Course Advice

Guidelines for New Students

All courses satisfy distribution requirements unless otherwise indicated.

Courses are normally conducted in Italian. Courses offered in translation are listed at the end of the Italian course descriptions.

Students with no previous training in Italian should elect ITAL-101ITAL-102.

Students with two years of high school study should elect ITAL-201. Students whose proficiency in the Italian language is superior and who wish to study literature should elect ITAL-221 or ITAL-222, in the fall semester. Students who are unsure about their level should contact Professor Frau for a proficiency test.

Students contemplating a junior year in Italy should elect an Italian course in the first semester of their first year.

Course Offerings

ITAL-101 Elementary Italian I

Fall and Spring. Credits: 4

This course emphasizes understanding, speaking, and writing in a contemporary context. It also promotes creativity with presentations and original group projects. It includes Web activities, films, short stories, and frequent conversation sessions with language assistants who are native speakers.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Language
O. Frau, B. Grazioli, M. Lovato, M. Svaldi
Notes: Successful completion of both Italian 101 and 102 will give students a full grammatical knowledge of basic Italian and it is highly recommended.

ITAL-102 Elementary Italian II

Spring. Credits: 4

This course emphasizes understanding, speaking, and writing in a contemporary context. It also promotes creativity with presentations and original group projects. It includes Web activities, films, short stories, and frequent conversation sessions with language assistants who are native speakers.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Language
M. Lovato, M. Svaldi
Prereq: ITAL-101.

ITAL-112 Bridge to Italian 201 Part 1

Spring. Credits: 2

This course is particularly designed to create a new path for students who are taking (or have taken) Italian 101 and wish to have the necessary preparation to take Intermediate Italian (Italian 201) the following fall semester. They will be provided with the skills necessary to: understand, speak, and write Italian at the advanced beginner level, learn about contemporary Italian society, and develop the competence, interest and enthusiasm for the language that will inspire them to proceed to more advanced levels.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
M. Svaldi
Advisory: For students who are taking, or have taken, ITAL-101.
Notes: This course begins after spring break.

ITAL-113 Bridge to Italian 201 Part 2

Fall. Credits: 2

This course is particularly designed to create a new path for students who have taken Italian 112 only. They will be provided with the skills necessary to: understand, speak, and write Italian at the advanced beginner level, learn about contemporary Italian society, and develop the competence, interest and enthusiasm for the language that will inspire them to proceed to more advanced levels.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
M. Svaldi
Prereq: ITAL-112.
Notes: Half-semester course.

ITAL-201 Intermediate Italian through Film

Fall. Credits: 4

A review of Italian through film. Cultural and linguistic aspects of five to six films and related readings will be the focus of this course and the starting point for class activities, conversation, written exercises, and grammar review. This interdisciplinary approach offers students an opportunity to explore Italian culture deeply, while at the same time improving their reading, writing, and speaking skills. The course also features regular conversation sessions with language assistants who are native speakers.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Language
M. Svaldi
Prereq: ITAL-102 or ITAL-103.

ITAL-209 Conversation and Composition

Spring. Credits: 4

Offers practice of colloquial and idiomatic speech patterns in Italian to emphasize correct pronunciation and intonation. Includes oral presentations as well as frequent compositions, from short reports to full-length essays. Uses newspapers, magazines, and literary texts to discuss issues and lifestyles concerning Italian society.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Language
M. Svaldi
Prereq: ITAL-201.

ITAL-221 Introduction to Italian Culture and Literature I

ITAL-221DE Introduction to Italian Culture and Literature I: 'On Love, Death, and Other Frivolous Things: Early Modern Italian Writers'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course is an introduction to the major cultural movements of Medieval and Renaissance Italy, from Saint Francis of Assisi to Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, Machiavelli, and Vittoria Colonna. It surveys the major cultural and historical currents and introduces students to the masterpieces of Italy's literary tradition. Love and death will be the main themes covered in the course. Class discussions, written work, and movie screenings are aimed at developing skills in oral expression and expository writing in Italian. In Fall 2016, the course will include a special focus on Italian Theatre and Opera.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Language
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive
O. Frau
Notes: Taught in Italian

ITAL-222 Italian Modernity: Introduction to Modern Italy

Fall. Credits: 4

This course is an introduction to the major cultural movements of modern Italy, from Leopardi to Verga, Calvino and Pasolini. It surveys the major cultural and historical currents from the eighteenth century to the present. Representatives of romantic, realist, decadent, modernism and futurist works will be studied in their cultural and historical contexts. Class discussions, written work, and movie screenings are aimed at developing skills in oral expression and expository writing in Italian.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Language
M. Lovato
Advisory: Taught in Italian.
Notes: Taught in Italian. In Fall 2017, the course will include a special focus on Italian literature and nature.

ITAL-241 Italian Topics Taught in English

ITAL-251 Topics in Italian

ITAL-295 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 4

The department
Instructor permission required.

ITAL-301 Liars, Pranksters, and Jesters on the Italian Stage

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course explores the role of lies and practical jokes in Italian literary culture and the way the concept of humor has changed over time. We will investigate the intimate connection between power, religion, and laughter by reading some of the funniest and politically charged works. Our authors (Machiavelli, Goldoni, Pirandello, De Filippo, Fo) will take us through the streets of Renaissance Florence, eighteenth-century Venetian canals, as well as the improvised "factory theaters" of the 1970s.

Crosslisted as: THEAT-350JK
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
O. Frau
Notes: Taught in English. Students who wish to obtain Italian credit will have to do all of the readings/writings in Italian and participate in a tutorial with Professor Frau.

ITAL-311 Advanced Topics in Italian

ITAL-311FA Advanced Topics in Italian: 'Fascisms'

Spring. Credits: 4

This course explores aspects of twentieth and twenty-first century culture in relation to Benito Mussolini's Fascist dictatorship. From Italian Futurism to today's Trump administration, we will follow the development of Fascism(s) with some of the authors who lived through it and who narrated their experience. From Silone to Ginzburg, from Viganò to Primo Levi, from Bassani to Carlo Levi, we will discuss literary trends, architecture, activism and visual arts.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Language
O. Frau
Notes: Taught in Italian

ITAL-341 Italian Topics Taught in English

ITAL-341CN Italian Topics Taught in English: 'Catastrophe and Rebirth in Italian Cinema: from Dolce Vita to Trumpusconi'

Fall. Credits: 4

In this course, we will look at contemporary Italy through the cinema of, among others, Rossellini, De Sica, Visconti, Pasolini, Fellini, Antonioni, the Taviani Brothers and Sorrentino. We will discuss Italian cinema masters' interpretation of the social and political development of modern and contemporary Italy, focusing on the resistance against catastrophe and disempowerment: from post-war rebirth to the contemporary migration crisis and rise of political populism.

Crosslisted as: FLMST-320CN
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
M. Lovato
Notes: Taught in English

ITAL-350 Topic:

ITAL-350LC Topic: 'Once upon a Time: Literature for Children in Italy from the 1500s to the 1900s'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course explores the development of gender roles, gender narratives, and patterns and metaphors of society through books and short stories aimed at children and young adults. Readings include classics such as Basile's Pentamerone, Collodi's Pinocchio and DeAmicis' Cuore, and less-known works by Salgari, Baccini, Capuana, Vamba, and Rodari. We will also examine the evolution of children's textbooks (with particular attention given to fascist schoolbooks), children's magazines, and the media.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
O. Frau
Notes: Taught in Italian

ITAL-361 Seminar in Romance Languages and Cultures

This interdisciplinary seminar will focus on a comparative study of Romance languages or literatures. Topics will vary from semester to semester. Seminar discussions will be conducted in English, but students wishing to obtain language credit are expected to read works in at least one original language. Papers will be written in either English or the Romance language of the student's choice.

ITAL-361HE Seminar in Romance Languages and Cultures: 'Heroes & Infidels: Masculine Identity and The Birth of Europe in Medieval Romance Classics'

Spring. Credits: 4

In this course we will read the canonical works that have shaped the national identity of European Romance countries such as Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, and Romania: from the medieval Chanson the Roland and Cantar del mio Cid to the early modern Don Quixote, Os Lusíadas, Orlando Furioso, and Mesterul Manole. We will discuss the performed masculinity of heroes, enemies, and mediators at the threshold between worlds. We will employ a decolonial critical approach to the Medieval, to question past and present wars against the infidel and their roles in the shaping of a modern European identity.

Crosslisted as: ROMLG-375HE, SPAN-360HE, FREN-321HE, MEDST-300HE
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
M. Lovato
Advisory: For Language Majors: two courses in culture and literature at the 200 level. Also open to non-language majors with no prerequisite.
Notes: Note: Students wishing to obtain 300-level credit in French, Italian, or Spanish must read texts and write papers in the Romance language for which they wish to receive credit.

ITAL-361MD Seminar in Romance Languages and Cultures: 'Mothers and Daughters'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Study of this crucial and problematic relationship in modern novels and films from Romance cultures. Exploration of the mother-daughter bond as literary theme, social institution, psychological dynamic, and metaphor for female creativity. Readings include Western myths and diverse theories of family arrangements (Rousseau, Freud, Chodorow, Rich, Irigaray, Giorgio, Mernissi, Nnaemeka). Authors and films will be grouped cross-culturally by theme and chosen from among: Colette, Vivanti, Morante, Ernaux, Tusquets, Roy, Roig, Rodoreda, Martin Gaite, Ramondino, Pineau, Beyala, Bouraoui; films: Children of Montmartre (La maternelle); Indochine; The Silences of the Palace; My Mother Likes Women.

Crosslisted as: SPAN-360MD, GNDST-333MD, FREN-321MD, ROMLG-375MD
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
E. Gelfand
Advisory: For Language Majors: two courses in culture and literature at the 200 level. Also open to non-language majors with no prerequisite.
Notes: Note: Students wishing to obtain 300-level credit in French, Italian, or Spanish must read texts and write papers in the Romance language for which they wish to receive credit.

ITAL-362 Advanced Topics in Italian

ITAL-395 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 8

The department
Instructor permission required.