Is there an Italian Theory? What are its origins and the reasons for its popularity outside of Italy? Why do most of its protagonists, regardless of their philosophical positions, share a tense and troubled relationship with political (and religious) power? The seminar will address these and other questions and introduce students to the most important figures of modern and contemporary Italian thought. Readings will include not only Antonio Gramsci and Giorgio Agamben but a wide selection of classic authors, such as Benedetto Croce, Giovanni Gentile, Norberto Bobbio, Ernesto de Martino, Adriana Cavarero and Toni Negri. Particular attention will be given to the Italian debate on the ‘political’ (borrowing the concept from Carl Schmitt) and to the relationship between theory and politics that marked Italian philosophy from Fascism to the cold war era until today.
The course is taught in English with readings in English.