All Reading & Composition courses must be taken for a letter grade in order to fulfill this requirement for the Bachelor’s Degree. This course satisfies the second half or the “B” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement.
Loud, numerous, close-knit: the image of the Italian family is well-known around the world. Films like The Godfather, in which honor and loyalty to the family are the only values that matter, have helped reinforce ideas about the Italian family as strong in the face of all odds. In this course we will think about the power this image has on families in Italy. How have they struggled to live up to or move away from the stereotype? Limiting ourselves to the film and literature from Reconstruction through today, we will look at texts and films in which the stereotype of the Italian family is reproduced, critiqued and transformed both on and off the page. We will consider the impact of different historical events on the representations and dynamics of family life. We will read poems, short stories, theatrical dramas and novel. Among the texts we will consider are De Cespedes’ The Secret (1952), Ginzburg’s The Wrong Door (1965), Tondelli’s Camere separate (1989), and Murgia’s Accabadora (2010). We will also look to the rich tradition of Italian cinema; some of the films we will watch include Visconti’s La terra trema (1948), De Sica’s Two Women (1961), Bellocchio’s Vincere (2009) and Ozpetek’s Loose Cannons (2010). We will read some theoretical work on the representation of kinship and gender as well as scholarly work on the strategies and language of literary and film analysis. Students will be encouraged to pursue the theoretical line of inquiry that most interests them as they develop individual research projects.
All readings will be in English. Students from all majors and those still deciding majors are welcome.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of the “A” portion of the Reading & Composition requirement or its equivalent. Students may not enroll in nor attend R1B/R5B courses without completing this prerequisite.