248: Italian Geographies

M 2-5 | 6331 Dwinelle | Instructor: Mia Fuller

Units: 4

Metternich famously noted in 1847 that Italy was no more than a “geographical expression” due to its merely notional geopolitical status at the time. This seminar rearranges this thought, taking as its premise that there is no Italian expression without geography. Literary and visual works of art invariably reflect (and reflect upon) their sites, whether these are regional or topographic. We will read essential works approaching Italy as Geography and through it, as representation, as cartography, as economy and agriculture, and military defense. While assigned texts will not be primarily literary, students will be invited to add relevant works to the mix if they choose. We will begin with selections from Lefebvre’s The Production of Social Space, and Cosgrove’s key Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape. As some examples, our further readings will include samples of works by Italian physical anthropologists of the late 19th century, anthropologist Jane Schneider, environmental historian Marco Armiero, geographer Thomas Puleo, and literary scholar Roberto Dainotto.