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ITALIAN 3X03 Italy Today thru Film (Englsh

Academic Year: Fall 2017

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Wendy D'Angelo


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 504

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24780

Office Hours: Thursday 2-3pm or by appointment

Course Objectives:

This course provides students with an overview of recent Italian history (largely post-1945) from a cultural studies perspective. Particular attention will be given to the understanding of Italy as a plural culture, the North/South relationship, regional differences and inequalities, the development of consumption after the economic boom, gender relations and the family, immigration/emigration, the mafia and political corruption. 

Students will learn about topics through: lectures, academic articles, news articles, documentaries, film and music. Each class will consist of: a) lecture; b) film viewing; c) short pair presentations (presentations will begin on Monday February 6th). Guided study questions are provided to students in each lecture and students are expected to read articles indicated on the syllabus before each class. All films and music studied are in the Italian language but are subtitled in/translated into English. Knowledge of the Italian language is not required.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

  • Forgacs, David & Robert Lumley Italian Cultural Studies: An Introduction. London: Oxford UP, 1996.
  • Italy Today [Custom Courseware] (available through Titles Bookstore)

NB: Films shown in lecture will be placed on reserve in Mills after viewing

Method of Assessment:

Midterm Exam: 40% (online through Avenue: October 25th)

Final Exam: 45% (online through Avenue: November 29th)

Group Presentation and Reflection Paper: 15% (In class/ Students will sign up for a presentation date: see syllabus)

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Time extensions are provided only to students with documentation from SAS. This documentation must be presented to the instructor from SAS at the start of term. With regard to missed/late work, appropriate documentation must be submitted to and approved by your faculty (MSAF/advanced notice of religious observance) in order to write the make up exam/submit a presentation/paper on a different date than that assigned and have it count towards any missed/late work. 

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

WEEK 1- September 6

LECTURE 1 Divided Italies and Post-War Italy

READINGS: p. 88 Linguistic Variety and Linguistic Minorities (Text: Forgacs and Lumley eds.);  p. 19 Imagined Italies (Text: Forgacs and Lumley eds.); p. 72  Images of the South (Text: Forgacs and Lumley eds.); p.65-72 The Republic (Courseware)

FILM VIEWING: Ladri di biciclette


WEEK 2- September 13

LECTURE 2 The Economic Miracle and Social Class

READINGS: p.13-23 Italian Society Transformed (Courseware); Catch up on readings from Week One!

FILM VIEWING: La dolce vita


WEEK 3- September 20

LECTURE  3  Consumption and Mass Culture

READINGS: p. 273 Cultural Consumption, 1940s to 1990s (Text: Forgacs and Lumley eds.); p. 233 Television and Its Critics (Text: Forgacs and Lumley eds.); Paninari p. 344 (Text: Forgacs and Lumley eds.)

FILM VIEWING: Pane e cioccolata


WEEK 4- September 27

LECTURE 4 Gender Relations and Family

READINGS: p. 144 Gender Relations (Text: Forgacs and Lumley eds.);

 p.1 Women, Families, Feminism and Youth (Courseware); p.23-26 Italian Society Transformed (Courseware)

FILM VIEWING: Divorzio all’italiana

PRESENTATIONS (Ladri di biciclette)


WEEK 5- October 4

LECTURE 5  The Years of Lead

READINGS: p.75-92 The Republic (Courseware) p.107 Political Identities (Text: Forgacs and Lumley eds.); Refer to: p.21-27 Italian Society Transformed (Courseware)                                                           

FILM VIEWING: I cento passi

PRESENTATIONS (La dolce vita)


WEEK 6 - October 11 - BREAK/No class


WEEK  7 - October 18 

LECTURE 6  Mafia and Corruption

READINGS: p.29 Così fan tutti or Everyone’s on the Take (Courseware); p.47 Corruption and The Mafia (Courseware); Characters and Events in ‘Il Divo” (Avenue to Learn)


PRESENTATIONS (Pane e cioccolata and Divorzio all’italiana)




WEEK 9 - November 1

LECTURE 7 The Birth of the Second Republic/ The Berlusconi Years

READINGS: p.93 Epilogue: From the First to the Second Republic: Italy 1980-2001 (Courseware)

FILM VIEWING:  Il Caimano  

PRESENTATIONS (I cento passi)


WEEK 10 - November 8

LECTURE 8 - The Politics of Corruption and Eco Mafia

READINGS: p. 34 Comparing Italy: The Case of Corruption (Text: Forgacs and Lumley eds.); Ecomafia: Online Article: The Land of Fires, Italy's “Gateway to Hell”




WEEK 11- November 15

LECTURE 9 - Otherness in Italy

READINGS: p. 160 Immigration and Social Identities (Text: Forgacs and Lumley eds.)

FILM VIEWING: Lacreme Napulitane/Mare Nostro (links provided to short films)



WEEK 12 - November 22

LECTURE 10 - Song as Social Protest

READINGS: Various musical scores in translation (available on Avenue to Learn): Please review these before class

NO FILM VIEWING (We will listen to and discuss some popular music.) PRESENTATIONS  (Gomorra)


WEEK 13 - November 29 



WEEK 14 - December 6