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Ruin and Redemption: Narrating Twentieth-Century Italy
ITAL 222
Fall 2020
Section: 01   02  

When fugitive far-left terrorist Cesare Battisti was extradited to Italy in January 2019 to serve out a life sentence for crimes committed in the late 1970s, he provided fresh evidence for the way that 20th-century events still cast long shadows into contemporary Italy. The events, their narration and re-narration over time tell the story of unresolved conflicts and overturned verdicts in a context characterized by repression, revisionism, and rehabilitation. In this course we study three historical events of the past century that continue to haunt contemporary Italian society, culture, and politics: fascism; civil war and resistance; and the political violence of terrorism in the 1970s and 80s. We approach these events by examining the ever-changing narratives about them. For each narrative we focus on specific issues (e.g., for fascism: the rise of fascism, racism and anti-Semitism, colonialism, Mussolini's cult of personality, the exaltation of war, fascist intellectuals, the art of the regime, etc.), but we use these as an entry point to articulate contradictions and complexity. We explore these narratives through various media and forms of expression: from films to novels, from landmarks to newspaper articles, from poems to billboards. By exploring how the polarizations of these narratives flow into the 21st century, we unveil the fractures and conflicting agents at the core of contemporary Italy.

The course is conducted in Italian. Authors include: Italo Calvino, Liliana Cavani, Umberto Eco, Beppe Fenoglio, Dario Fo, Natalia Ginzburg, Primo Levi, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Cesare Pavese, Roberto Rossellini.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA RLAN
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ITST)(RMST)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on APR-22-2024
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