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ITALIAN 3X03 Italy Today thru Film (Englsh (C01)

Academic Year: Fall 2018

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Wendy D'Angelo


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 504

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24780

Office Hours: Thursday 12:30-1:30 (Please email for 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 be challenged to consider how recent historical, political and social events have shaped Italy today.

Students will learn about topics through: lectures, academic articles, news articles, documentaries, film and music. Classes will consist of: a) short lecture; b) film viewing/music discussion; c) short in class participation activity (based on assigned readings). Weekly discussion questions are based on readings, films and music viewed/studied in course. Guided study questions for the exams are provided to students at the start of the course. 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 are available in Mills or online.

Method of Assessment:


  • Quizzes (online/open book though Avenue): 20% [weekly]
  • Midterm Exam: 35% [in class: October 29]
  • Final Exam: 35% [in class: November 26]
  • Final Reflection (collaborative written assignment): 10% [in class: December 3]

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Time extensions are provided only to students with documentation from SAS or with accommodation for religious observances. 

NB. SAS documentation must be presented to the instructor from SAS before the assignment/exam in question is due. Requests for accommodation for religious observance must be presented to the instructor in writing (via email) before the assignment in question is due.

Exams: Please see your academic advisor in the event of a missed exam due to illness/personal reasons. An electronic MSAF will not suffice for missed exams where no prior accommodations have been sought by the student (i.e., SAS/religious observance). Arrangements will be made for a make up once permission has been granted to the student.

In the event of missed classes, please catch up on notes with a classmate. You should have the contact information of at least two peers in your class. Lecture slides are provided on Avenue and all study questions for readings are contained in the courseware. If you miss a class, there is no need to report your absence to me via email. Please do feel free to email me if you are communicating a request for religious accommodation in advance, confirming/making SAS arrangements in advance or confirming my receipt of an MSAF or if you wish to meet to discuss course material.


NB. Students shall not submit one/a single MSAF for multiple pieces of graded 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:

Lecture 1 - Introduction / Divided Italies and Post-War Italy                           Mon Sept. 10


  • p. 88 Linguistic Variety and Linguistic Minorities 
  • p. 19 Imagined Italies 
  • p. 72  Images of the South


  • p.65-75 The Republic 


  • Fratelli d’Italia (The Italian National Anthem)


  • Ladri di biciclette


Lecture 2 - The Economic Miracle and Cultural Consumption I                      Mon Sept. 17


  • p.13-23 Italian Society Transformed
  • p. 273 Cultural Consumption, 1940s to 1990s


  • Tu vuò fa’ l’americano by Renato Carosone
  • Il ragazzo della via Gluck by Adriano Celentano


  • La dolce vita

Lecture 3 -The Economic Miracle and Cultural Consumption II                    Mon Sept. 24


  • p. 233 Television and Its Critics
  • p. 344 Paninari


  • I ragazzi della terza C; Carosello


  • L’Italiano (Lasciatemi cantare) by Toto Cutugno


  • Pane e cioccolata

Lecture 4 - Gender Relations and Family                                                               Mon Oct. 1


  • p. 144 Gender Relations


  • p.1 Women, Families, Feminism and Youth
  • p.23-26 Italian Society Transformed


  • Raffaella Carrà


  • Pravo; Berté; Giannini; Mina (women singers)


  • Divorzio all’italiana

BREAK – NO CLASS                                                                                              Mon. Oct. 8

Lecture 5 - The Years of Lead                                                                                Mon. Oct. 15


  • p.107 Political Identities


  • p.75-92 The Republic
  • p.21-27 Italian Society Transformed


  • Pensa by Fabrizio Moro 


  • I cento passi

Lecture 6 - Mafia and Corruption                                                                        Mon. Oct. 22


  • p.29 Così fan tutti or Everyone’s on the Take
  • p.47 Corruption and The Mafia


  • Characters and Events in ‘Il Divo
  • Excellent Cadavers


  • Il Divo


  • Fight da faida by Frankie Hi-NRG

MIDTERM EXAM IN CLASS                                                                              Mon. Oct. 29

Lecture 7 - The Birth of the Second Republic/ The Berlusconi Years                 Mon. Nov. 5


  • p.93 Epilogue: From the First to the Second Republic: Italy 1980-2001


  • Maudit by Litfiba 


  • Il Caimano  

Lecture 8 - The Politics of Corruption and Eco Mafia                                       Mon. Nov. 12


  • p. 34 Comparing Italy: The Case of Corruption


  • Ecomafia: The Land of Fires, Italy's “Gateway to Hell”


  • Nu juorno buono by Rocco Hunt


  • Gomorra

Lecture 9 - Otherness in Italy/ The New Italy                                                     Mon. Nov. 19


  • p. 160  Immigration and Social Identities


  • Io non mi sento italiano by Giorgio Gaber
  • L’Italia by Marco Masini


  • Lacreme Napulitane (short film)
  • Mare Nostro (short film)

FINAL EXAM IN CLASS                                                                                     Mon. Nov. 26

Final Reflection (In class: Topic: TBA)                                                                  Mon. Dec. 3