HS3CCO-Crisis, Change, Opportunity: Italy from 1968 to the Present

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Daniela La Penna

Email: d.lapenna@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

The module focuses on defining episodes of Italian history from 1968 to the present day, and it will shed light on how each of the selected themes and events have contributed to change the physiognomy of contemporary Italian society. 


This module aims to provide students with an understanding of Italian history, politics and society from the student revolt in 1968 to the present day. Exploring this key period in contemporary Italian history will allow students to engage with many of the most significant political and social developments of twentieth-century Italy. Students will discuss select case studies and will approach them through a variety of methods, sources, and media with the aim to understand how Italian society reacted to complex national and international challenges of the period under scrutiny.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:

  • identify the sources of the topics in question

  • trace their historical development

  • be aware of differing historiographical interpretations of the pattern and causes of the developments under scrutiny

  • understand how ideas and events are shaped by their historical contexts

  • organise material and articulate arguments effectively in writing, both under timed conditions and in assessed essays

  • demonstrate familiarity with bibliographical conventions and mastery of library skills.

  • research, organise, and articulate a rigorous scholarly argument in written form.

Additional outcomes:

The module also aims:

  • to encourage students to think independently 

  • to help students develop good oral and written communication skills 

  • to develop the effectiveness of students in group situations 

  • to develop IT skills through the use of relevant resources. 

Outline content:

The module will examine the period 1968-present and it will treat 1968 and 1989 as the catalyst years for a number of changes taking place in Italy in the cultural, political, social and legislative fields. The module will look at the changes in political and social life, the impact of the media on politics (with a special focus on Berlusconi), and address the role played by internal and external migration in defining Italian identity within the Mediterranean and Europe. The course will adopt a case-study approach and it will focus on key themes which may include the following:

  1. The feminist movement

  2. terrorism(s)

  3. regionalism, nationalism and populism in politics

  4. innovation and design

  5. citizenship, identity, and migration

  6. conglomerates in Italian media

  7. the mafia.

The course will be delivered through a series of lectures and se minars. Seminars will involve discussion of primary sources (including protest songs, manifestos, video footage, documentaries, printed and mixed media sources etc) and major historiographical theses. Discussion will be focused on these specific and significant national case studies, however students will be encouraged to contribute their own perspectives and to place Italy in a wider transnational context.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Each case study will require students conducting preparatory research and reading prior to lectures and seminars. Seminars will be structured around group discussion, and the presentation of theses or debates. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 10
Seminars 5 5
Guided independent study: 82 88
Total hours by term 97 103 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:


Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The module is assessed by means of (i) class involvement and leadership in group discussion and presentation (formative only), (ii) two essays of 2,500-3,000 words.

Two essays of 2500-3000 words (excluding bibliography and footnote), is to be submitted by 1st week of the Spring Term and Summer Term.

Formative assessment methods:

Contribution to class discussion and group presentation (formative assessment only)

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor 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: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
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 the degree 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: 1 October 2020


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