IT10MI-Making Italians: A Journey in the History and Culture of Modern Italy

Module Provider: Modern Languages
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded: IT1L3 Advanced Italian Language I IT10MIA Making Italians: History and Culture of Modern Italy (Advanced language only)
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Daniela La Penna


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module introduces students to the history and culture of modern Italy from the struggle for Unification (achieved in 1861-1870) to the present day. Through a series of lectures and seminars, based on texts read in English translation, students will learn about the factors that contributed to the birth of Italy as a nation and how these continued to shape the political debate in the fascist regime and in the Republic. Students will also learn how the narrative of national identity was used in the subsequent years after the Unification in literature and film.

This module aims to introduce students with no previous knowledge to the study of modern Italian culture, and to equip them to undertake a degree in Italian Studies. The course focuses on history and culture (both written and visual, including film) of modern Italy. Texts and topics in Italian culture are studied in translation.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:
- demonstrate a basic understanding of elements of the history and culture of modern Italy;
- analyse key themes and issues in a choice of set texts - historical or literary - and/or films;
- a detailed knowledge of the cultural products of that same period.

Additional outcomes:
The module also aims to encourage students to:
- express their points of view clearly, orally and in writing;
- develop their problem-solving abilities;
- make good use of appropriate reference materials (e.g. dictionaries, works of criticism, etc.);
- carry out group discussions and, where appropriate, to improve their team-working skills.

Outline content:

Students will study the history of Italy from the struggle for Unification to the Berlusconi years through a series of lectures. Students will also read a series of novels in English translation, analyse a series of films, and examples of Italian visual culture. The texts will be read in translation and will normally be taken from the following list: Either Foscolo's the Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis (1803) OR Tomasi di Lampedusa’s 'The Leopard' (1958) and Luchino Visconti’s filmic adaptation under the same title (1963); Either Elio Vittorini's Conversations in Sicily (1941) OR Italo Calvino’s 'The Path to the Spiders’ Nest' (1947); Primo Levi’s 'If This is a Man' (1947); and one film component.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The course will be taught through a combination of formal lectures and small-group tutorials in which students are expected to participate actively by providing presentations followed by group discussion. One hour per week will be devoted to lectures, and one hour to tutorials. Students will write one essay per term on one of the topics studied either through lectures or in tutorials.
The Autumn term's essay will be formative and the Spring term essay will be summative.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 10
Seminars 10 10
Guided independent study 80 80
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:
Two hours.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students will be required to submit a 1,500-2,000 word essay (wordcount does not include bibliography) by Summer term, based on topics studied during each term. Students cannot resubmit the Autumn Term formative essay for this task. The mark received for the Summer Term essay will form 50% of the students' assessment mark.

Formative assessment methods:

Students will write one non-summative essay (1,500 words excluding bibliography) but compulsory assignment to be submitted at the end of the Autumn Term.

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.
• where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
• where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
40% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:

Re-examination in August in the event of failure in this module and in Part 1 as a whole. Coursework bearing a confirmed mark of 40% or more can be carried forward; all other coursework to be resubmitted by 12 NOON  on the third Friday of August or, if the University is closed, by 12 NOON on the first working day thereafter. 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 20 April 2018


Things to do now