IT10MIA-Making Italians: History and Culture of Modern Italy (Advanced language only)

Module Provider: Modern Languages
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded: IT1L1 Beginners Italian Language IT1L2 Intermediate Italian Language IT10MI Making Italians: A Journey in the History and Culture of Modern Italy
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Daniela La Penna


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module introduces advanced students of Italian to the history and culture of Modern Italy from the early struggles for unification (1861-1870) to the present day, through guided study of texts and films in the original language. Through a series of lectures and seminars, student 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.


The course aims at providing an introduction to the study of modern and contemporary Italian literature and civilization.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that students will have:

•    a knowledge of aspects of Italian history from1861 to the present day;

•    a general knowledge of some core issues related to the Italian culture and society of the same period;

•    a detailed knowledge of the cultural products of that same period.

Assessable learning outcomes:

Students will be introduced to the basic methodologies related to the study of history, literary works (especially prose narrative) and films. The module will help students to develop their ideas into well argued points of view, to express their point of view clearly, both orally and in writing; to make good use of appropriate reference materials (e.g. dictionaries, works of criticism, etc.); to carry out group discussions and, where appropriate, to improve their team-working skills.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content: During the first term, students will be introduced to modern Italian history and culture from the early nineteenth century to the end of the Fascism. They will attend a series of lectures on the history and literature of the period. Two literary texts relating specifically to the period of Fascism and the Resistance will be studied in more detail in tutorials. In the second term, lectures will introduce the history, literature, cinema and the visual culture of post-war Italy, and students will study in detail at least one film and one literary text which deal with crucial cultural issues of the period. Literary works and films will be studied in the Italian original. The texts will normally be taken from the following list: Either Ugo Foscolo’s Le ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis or Tomasi di Lampedusa’s Il Gattopardo; Elio Vittorini’s Conversazione in Sicilia; Primo Levi's Se questo e' un uomo; and one film component.

Outline content:

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.

Requirements for a pass:

40% overall


Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:


Students will write one 1,500- word essay (formative assessment) to be submitted on the Friday after the end of Autumn term on the topics studied during the term. This essay cannot be resubmitted in the Summer Term. Student will be required to submit a 1,500-2,000 word essay by Summer term (summative assessment), based on the topics studied during each term. The mark received for this essay will form 50% of the students' assessment mark. 

Relative percentage of coursework: 50%


One two-hour paper which will count for 50% of the assessment of the module.

Formative assessment methods:

Students will write one non-summative but compulsory assignment to be submitted by Friday after the end of the Autumn Term (based on one of the topics studied in the term. This essay cannot be resubmitted in the Summer Term).

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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:

    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


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