2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog


Students may complete a major or minor in Italian.

Faculty at Bryn Mawr College

Dennis J. McAuliffe, Visiting Associate Professor
Gabriella Troncelliti, Language Assistant
Roberta Ricci, Associate Professor and Chair of Italian, Director of Summer in Pisa Program
Nancy J. Vickers, Professor
Giuliana Perko, Lecturer

Faculty at Haverford College

Ute Striker, Instructor

Based on an interdisciplinary approach that views culture as a global phenomenon, the aims of the major in Italian are to acquire a knowledge of Italian language and literature and an understanding of Italian culture, including cinema. The Department of Italian also cooperates with the Departments of French and Spanish in the Romance Languages major and with the other foreign languages in the TRICO for a major in Comparative Literature. The Italian Department cooperates also with the Center for International Studies (CIS).

College Foreign Language Requirement

The College’s foreign language requirement may be satisfied by completing ITAL 105 (intensive) with a grade of 2.0, or by completing ITAL 101 and 102 (non-intensive) with an average grade of at least 2.0 or with a grade of 2.0 or better in ITAL 102.

Students may obtain permission from the instructor to transfer from a regular language course to an intensive language course.

Major Requirements

Major requirements in Italian are 10 courses: ITAL 101, 102 and eight additional units, at least three of which are to be chosen from the offerings on the 300 level, and no more than one from an allied field. All students must take a course on Dante (301), one on the Italian Renaissance (304), two on modern Italian literature, and one on literary theory/literary criticism. Where courses in translation are offered, students may, with the approval of the department, obtain major credit provided they read the texts in Italian, submit written work in Italian and, when the instructor finds it necessary, meet with the instructor for additional discussion in Italian.

Courses allied to the Italian major include, with departmental approval, all courses for major credit in ancient and modern languages and related courses in archaeology, art history, history, music, philosophy, and political science. Each student’s program is planned in consultation with the department.

Students who begin their work in Italian at the 200 level will be exempted from ITAL 101 and 102 or from ITAL 105.


The opportunity to conduct a project of supervised sustained research (ITAL 403 Independent Study) is open to all majors with a 3.7 GPA. Students who want to graduate with honors are asked to write a senior thesis and to defend it with members of the Italian Department and/or a third outside reader at the end of the senior semester. Students wishing to do so will present a topic that a faculty member is willing to supervise, a written proposal of the topic chosen, and, if approved by the department, will spend one semester in the senior year working on the thesis.

Minor Requirements

Requirements for the minor in Italian are ITAL 101, 102 and four additional units including two at the 200 level and two at the 300 level. With departmental approval, students who begin their work in Italian at the 200 level will be exempted from ITAL 101 and 102 or from ITAL 105. For courses in translation, the same conditions for majors in Italian apply.

Study Abroad

Italian majors are encouraged to study in Italy during the junior year in a program approved by the College. The Bryn Mawr summer program at the University of Pisa offers courses for major credit in Italian (both in Intensive Elementary/Intensive Intermediate and in Italian Literature/Culture/Cinema), or students may study in other approved summer programs in Italy or in the United States. Courses for major credit in Italian may also be taken at the University of Pennsylvania (Department of Italian).

ITAL B001, B002 Elementary Italian I/II: Non-intensive

The course is for students with no previous knowledge of Italian. It aims at giving the student a complete foundation in the Italian language, with particular attention to oral and written communication. The course will be conducted in Italian and will involve the study of all the basic structures of the language-phonological, grammatical, syntactical-with practice in conversation, reading, composition and translation. The readings are chosen from a range that includes journalistic prose, recipe books, the language of publicity, literary prose and poetry, and use of the language is encouraged through songs, games and creative composition. (McAuliffe, Troncelliti, Perco, Language Level 1)

ITAL B005, B006 Elementary Italian I/II: Intensive

This intensive communicative course is an accelerated introduction to speaking, understanding, reading, and writing. Aspects of Italian culture and contemporary life also are introduced through the use of video, songs, film, etc. The course is taught completely in Italian, and authentic contemporary materials are used to immerse the student into an integrative linguistic environment. (Perco, Language Level 1)

ITAL B101, B102 Intermediate Italian

This course provides students with a broader basis for learning to communicate effectively and accurately in Italian. While the principal aspect of the course is to further develop language abilities, the course also imparts a foundation for the understanding of modern and contemporary Italy. Students will gain an appreciation for Italian culture and be able to communicate orally and in writing in a wide variety of topics. We will read a novel, as well as newspaper and magazine articles to analyze aspects on modern and contemporary Italy. We will also view and discuss Italian films and discuss internet materials. (Ricci, Language Level 2)

ITAL B105 Intensive Intermediate Italian

This course builds on the previous two courses of intensive Italian (001-002) in the development of speaking, understanding, reading, and writing, and completes the study of Italian grammar. In addition to enriching students’ knowledge of both written and spoken Italian, this course will provide a window onto aspects of contemporary Italian culture and society. In addition we will study aspects of the evolution of Italian from a literary language through SMS messaging; festivals and folklore; political satire; popular songs as windows onto their times; and detective movies. The students will practice writing and will revise compositions after initial draft versions. (Perco, Language Level 2)

ITAL B200 Pathways to Proficiency: Culture, Language, Writing

The purpose of this course is to increase fluency in Italian and to facilitate the transition from language to literature courses. The course, taught in Italian, integrates language and cultural studies. Students are exposed not only to different topics, but also to different writing genres: from literary narrative texts, to academic texts, to argumentative or informative texts taken from Italian newspapers and periodicals. Students will also produce different types of texts: from descriptions, to letters, to film or book reviews, to argumentative texts, in order to build the skills necessary to write academic papers. (Perco)

ITAL B201 Prose and Poetry of Contemporary Italy

A study of the artistic and cultural developments of pre-Fascist, Fascist, and post-Fascist Italy seen through the works of poets such as Montale, Quasimodo, Ungaretti, and through the narratives of Carlo Emilio Gadda, Ginzburg, Italo Svevo, Primo Levi, Moravia, Pavese, Pirandello, Silone, Vittorini, Calvino, and others. We will examine issues of gender, identity, and politics, colonial and post-colonial, modernity and post-modernity. (staff, Division III) Not offered in 2009-10.

ITAL B203 Italian Theater (in Italian)

The course consists of a close reading in Italian of representative theatrical texts from the contemporary stage to the origins of Italian theater in the 16th century, including pieces by Dario Fo, Luigi Pirandello, Carlo Goldoni, the Commedia dell’arte and Niccolò Machiavelli. Attention will be paid to the development of language skills through reading out loud, performance, and discussion of both form and content, enhanced by the use of recordings, videos and You Tube. Attention will also be paid to the development of critical-analytical writing skills through the writing of short reviews and the research and writing of a term paper. (McAuliffe, Division III)

ITAL B204 Manzoni

Why is I promessi sposi considered by many the best historical novel in Italian and one of the best in any language? What contribution did Manzoni’s novel make to the development of the Italian language? To the Italian unification movement? to the understanding of Italian Catholicism? To the Italian romantic movement? Seminar discussions will be based on a close reading of the novel, as well as short selections of Manzoni’s other works. A variety of critical methods of interpretation will be explored both in class and in research projects leading to a critical analytical research paper. Conducted in Italian. (McAuliffe, Division III) Not offered in 2009-10.

ITAL B207 Dante in Translation

A reading of the Vita Nuova and Divina Commedia in order to discover the subtle nuances of meaning in the text and to introduce students to Dante’s tripartite vision of the afterlife. Dante’s masterpiece lends itself to study from various perspectives: theological, philosophical, political, allegorical, historical, cultural, and literary. Personal and civic responsibilities, love, genre, governmental accountability, church-state relations, economics and social justice, the tenuous balance between freedom of expression and censorship—these are some of the themes that will frame the discussions. (Ricci, McAuliffe, Division III) Not offered in 2009-10.

ITAL B208 Petrarca and Boccaccio in Translation

The course will focus on a close analysis of Petrarch’s Canzoniere and Boccaccio’s Decameron, with attention given also to their minor works and the historical/literary context connected with these texts. Attention will also be given to Florentine literature, art, thought, and history from the death of Dante to the age of Lorenzo de’ Medici. Texts and topics available for study include the Trecento vernacular works of Petrarch and Boccaccio; Florentine humanism from Salutati to Alberti; and the literary, artistic, and intellectual culture of the Medici court in the 1470s and 80s (Ficino, Poliziano, Lorenzo de’ Medici, Botticelli). (Ricci, McAuliffe, Division III) Not offered in 2009-10.

ITAL B209 Humanism and the Renaissance in Translation

As well as a detailed analysis of some of the most fascinating texts of the period, this course offers the opportunity to explore broader questions, such as the impact of the massive expansion of the printing industry on literary culture, the nature of the cultural impact of the Counter Reformation on literature, the construction of gender and the place of women in cinquecento literary culture, the questione della lingua and its impact on literary culture, the chivalric and epic genre, and the neo-Platonic debate on beauty. Prerequisite: two years of Italian or the equivalent. (Ricci, Division III) Not offered in 2009-10.

ITAL B211 Primo Levi, the Holocaust, and Its Aftermath

A consideration, through analysis and appreciation of his major works, of how the horrific experience of the Holocaust awakened in Primo Levi a growing awareness of his Jewish heritage and led him to become one of the dominant voices of that tragic historical event, as well as one of the most original new literary figures of post-World War II Italy. Always in relation to Levi and his works, attention will also be given to other Italian women writers whose works are also connected with the Holocaust. (staff, Division III; cross-listed as COML B211 and HEBR B211) Not offered in 2009-10.

ITAL B212 Italia D’Oggi

This course, taught in Italian, will focus primarily on the works of the so-called “migrant writers” who, having adopted the Italian language, have become a significant part of the new voice of Italy. In addition to the aesthetic appreciation of these works, this course will also take into consideration the social, cultural, and political factors surrounding contemporary Italy and contemporary Italian. We will also interrogate the relationship between this multifarious discourse on other cultures and the question of the Italian national identity. Conducted in Italian. (staff, Division III) Not offered in 2009-10.

ITAL B225 Italian Cinema and Literary Adaptation

A study of Italian cinema with emphasis placed on its relation to literature. The course will discuss how cinema conditions literary imagination and how literature leaves its imprint on cinema. We will “read” films as “literary images” and “see” novels as “visual stories.” The reading of the literary sources will be followed by evaluation of the corresponding films by well-known directors, including Bellocchio, Bertolucci, Rosi, the Taviani brothers, and L. Visconti. (Ricci) Not offered in 2009-10.

ITAL B235 The Italian Women’s Movement

This course aims to dispel the amazement of those who wonder how feminism could have taken root in a country where, for centuries, women have been wearing black shawls and their public life has been limited to an appearance at mass. Emphasis will be put on Italian women writers and film directors, who are often left out of syllabi adhering to traditional canons. Topics to be explored are: the construction of gender, the relationship of writing to identity and subjectivity, the maternal discourse, and the continuity among women (mothers, daughters, and grandmothers). (Ricci, Division III) Not offered in 2009-10.

ITAL B255 Uomini d'onore in Sicilia

The course will explore historical and fictional presentations which contribute to the myth of the Italian and Italian-American mafia in Italian literature and cinema, starting from the “classical” example of Sicily. The course will introduce Italian studies and Italian narrative fiction from an interdisciplinary perspective and will present the historical development of the Sicilian Mafia from the mid-1800s through the 1980s with the examination of official documents, such as court files, documentaries and newspaper articles. Prerequisite: ITAL B102 or B105 or permission of the instructor. (Ricci, Division III)

ITAL B301 Dante

Prerequisite: two years of Italian and at least one 200-level course. Taught in Italian. See course description for ITAL B207. (Ricci, Division III)

ITAL B303 Petrarca and Boccaccio

The focus of the course is on The Decameron, one of the most entertaining and imitated prose works ever written. The Decameron will be read in its entirety in Italian. Special class presentations will treat questions of Boccaccio's belief system as manifested in the Decameron, his sources and his imitators, and the socio-cultural milieu in which he wrote. Attention will also be paid to Petrarca’s Canzoniere. Topics include how each author treated the courtly love tradition and how each represented women in the context of 14th-century Italy. Prerequisite: two years of Italian and at least one 200-level course . Taught in Italian. (McAuliffe, Division III)

ITAL B304 Il Rinascimento in Italia: letteratura e oltre

Prerequisite: two years of Italian and at least one 200-level course. Taught in Italian. See course description for ITAL 209. (Ricci, Division III) Not offered in 2009-10.

ITAL B398 Senior Seminar

(Ricci, McAuliffe)

ITAL B399 Senior Conference

Under the direction of a professor, each student prepares a senior thesis on an author or a theme that the student has chosen. This course is open only to senior Italian majors. (McAuliffe, Ricci)

ITAL B403 Supervised Work

Offered with approval of the Department.