R5B, Section 1: Anema e Core — Heart and Soul: Histories, Images, and Music of Southern Italy

TuTh 8-9:30 | Dwinelle 233 | Instructor: Marina Romani

Units: 4

Stunning Mediterranean coastlines, millennia of multicultural encounters, invaluable artistic traditions, friendly folks and delicious food: this is what comes to mind when the idea of Southern Italy is evoked. Yet these bright images are offset by disquieting shadows: organized crime, mass migration to North and South America because of poverty and lack of opportunities, political corruption. So how can we define il Sud? In this course, we will explore the many facets—literary, visual, and musical—of Italy’s Southern regions. We will take into consideration works that address, reinforce, or challenge stereotypes and give life to vibrant and complex versions of Southern Italy across the centuries, before and after the unification of Italy in the 19th century. Through a range of activities, we will ourselves challenge our own preconceived notions and build a multi-dimensional understanding of Southern Italy and of Italian cultural traditions in a European context.

Required texts to be purchased at campus bookstore or online


  • Leonardo Sciascia, The Day of the Owl, translated by Anthony Oliver, with an introduction by George Scialabba (New York: New York Review of Books Classics, 2003) ISBN 978-1590170618
  • Amara Lakhous, Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio, translated by Ann Goldstein (New York: Europa Editions, 2008) ISBN 978-1933372617



Additional readings

These materials will be available electronically on bCourses. They will include selections from:

  • Giovanni Verga, Cavalleria rusticana (1880)
  • Pier Paolo Pasolini, Lutheran Letters (1976)
  • Elena Ferrante, My Brilliant Friend (2011)
  • Essays by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Terry Eagleton, How to Read Literature (2013)
  • Ernesto De Martino, The Land of Remorse (1961)
  • Edward Said, Orientalism (1978)
  • Jane Schneider, ed., Italy’s Southern Question. Orientalism in One Country (1998)
  • Nelson Moe, The View from Vesuvius. Italian Culture and the Southern Question (2002)



Films and Music

These items will be available at the Media Resources Center in Moffitt Library or on bCourses. They will include a selection from films, operas, and songs such as:


  • Pietro Mascagni, Cavalleria rusticana (Rustic Chivalry, 1890)
  • Films by Roberto Rossellini, Federico Fellini, and others
  • Folk songs from Naples and Puglia (pizzica, tarantella, etc.)
  • Songs by Nina Simone and other 20th– and 21st-century artists

Course Objectives

This course fulfills the second half of the Reading and Composition requirement, and its primary purpose is to prepare students for college-level work through the development of critical reading, writing, and research skills across different media. We will engage with the materials through frequent writing and research assignments, revisions, and peer-response groups. In our class, we will create a forum for sharing ideas and reflect on who we are as readers, writers, and creative analytical thinkers.

Due to the high demand for R&C courses we monitor attendance very carefully. Attendance is mandatory the first two weeks of classes, this includes all enrolled and wait listed students. If you do not attend all classes the first two weeks you may be dropped. If you are attempting to add into this class during weeks 1 and 2 and did not attend the first day, you will be expected to attend all class meetings thereafter and, if space permits, you may be enrolled from the wait list.