Study Abroad

Course Offerings

All School in Cortona courses include field trips. Please note that the syllabi and field trips associated with the courses are subject to change depending on unforeseen emergencies and extraordinary current events. It is recommended that students limit any extensive travel plans to before the start of or after the end of the academic schedule. Due to the intensive nature of the School in Cortona, it is expected that students participate in all the classes in which they are registered and associated field trips. More than one absence from a class could result in a participation mark of zero.


** Please note there is currently a waiting list for both Spring 2019 sessions. As spaces become available they will be filled with those on the waiting list. Applications will be considered by date order. 

Spring I 2019 (April 29 – May 23)

The Medicis: The Ascent of Provincial Bankers to Global Power  ECON 203 (*3) Dr. Valentina Galvani

This course focuses on the Medici House to illustrate the birth of the modern banking system. To provide some highlights, the origins of the banking institution trace back to the early Renaissance period, as rich Italian merchants found new uses to the wealth they have accumulated through commerce. The use of credit, which is essential to international trade, placed Italian bankers in a favorable position to exploit the commerce between the resource-exporting states of the North of Europe and the producers of consumption goods located in the Far East, Middle East and, North Africa. Merchant/bankers quickly became crucial power players in Italy during the 1200-1400 period, as they exchanged their financial support with political influence and, eventually, in the Italian cities, with political dominance. The Medici House grew rapidly in importance due to its interaction with the most lucrative of all banking clients in Europe – the Papal Treasury. As the Medici became the Vatican’s bankers, enormous wealth flowed into the coffers of the Medici House thanks to a skilled management of a vast loan portfolio and to the commissions on the financial transactions of the Church. 
Under Medici rule, Florence grew greatly in wealth and political importance as well as it enjoyed the ascent to one of the cultural capitals of Europe. The Medici family combined a ruthless pursuit of political and economic power in the Italian peninsula with a keen attention to the development of the soft-power yielded by arts patronage. Artists like Botticelli and Michelangelo were familiar presences in the Medici household, their presence enhancing the prestige of their patrons’ court to an almost-royal level. Prerequisites waived. 

Sociology of Prisons & Punishment SOC 420 (*3) Dr. Sandra Bucerius

The criminological fathers writing on crime and punishment, Cesare Beccaria and Cesare Lombroso, were both Italian. Drawing on their classic texts and more contemporary sociological texts and field studies, in this course, we will explore why and how we have punished and continue to punish people in different national contexts. The course will have a particular focus on Italy, with students deeply engaging with the classic text of Beccaria and visiting some of the historic sites of punishment in Tuscany. At the same time, we will compare the contemporary situation of punishment and prisons in Italy with punishment and prisons in Canada. During the course, we will explore questions such as: 1) How does punishment feed off and into the major bases of social division and inequality — class, ethnicity, gender, age, and nationality? 2) What determines the level and scope of incarceration and what effects does it have on inmates, their families, and on the regions of social and urban space from which they come? 3) What are the institutional contradictions and cultural correlates of the growing penalization of poverty, and, for the Canadian context specifically, Indigenous populations? Prerequisites waived, although students are encouraged to have completed at least one Sociology course. 

** Please note there is currently a waiting list for this course. If you select this course you will be placed on the waiting list. As spaces become available they will be filled with those on the waiting list.

Sustainable Tourism: Ways of Moving and Seeing RLS 497 (*3) Dr. Alessandro Celani

This course unveils the impact of mass tourism to our environment and lives and helps students discover alternative ways to move, get in touch with places and people, and contribute to the maintenance of monuments, traditions and behaviours. In this course you will explore the development of tourism in the last 100 years through readings, films, photos, novels and documentaries. Through field trips to locations throughout Tuscany, you will analyze and develop new ways of interacting with places, and create your own model of a sustainable tourism experience. Prerequisites waived.

Spring II 2019 (May 28 – June 20)

Fifty Years of Italian Cinema 1930-1980 FS 399 (*3) Dr. William Beard

This course gives students a sense of the rich panoply of Italian cinema in the mid 20thcentury, showcasing some of the most important filmmakers of that time, including Blasetti, Paisà, De Sica, Visconti, Antonioni,  Fellini, Leone and Argento. Students will take a fascinating journey through masterpieces of Italian cinema, representing various genres such as the Italian Neorealist movement, peplum, horror/giallo cinema and the spaghetti western. Prerequisites waived.
Proposed films: 1800 (Blasetti 1933); La Signora di tutti (Ophuls 1934); Paisà (Rossellini 1946); Bicycle Thief (De Sica 1948); Senso (Visconti 1954), L’eclisse (Antonioni 1960); 8½ (Fellini 1963); For a Few Dollars More (Leone 1965) ; Tenebre (Argento 1980)

The Italian Mafia SOC 402 (*3) Dr. Valentina Raparelli

Like “pizza” and “spaghetti”, “Mafia” is a term that is central to stereotypical images of Italy. This course will take you beyond superficial representations of the Mafia in popular culture to examine the complexities of organized crime in Italy from a historical, social and cultural perspective, tracing its growth from the nineteenth century to the present day. The course analyzes sociological aspects of the mafia including language, message systems, the “code of silence,” the role of violence, structures of power and how it interacts with women. The course also pays attention to Mafia involvement in legal and illegal markets, as well as political implications and relations with others institutions like the Catholic Church. We then examine countries where Italian mafia groups migrated by the beginning of last century - such as the United States and Canada where Italian crime organization infiltration is a more recent issue. Field trips to be announced at a later date. Prerequisites waived.

** Please note there is currently a waiting list for this course. If you select this course you will be placed on the waiting list. As spaces become available they will be filled with those on the waiting list.

Italian Renaissance City: Arts, Society, Environment HADVC 211 (*3) Dr. Marco Pacioni

In 1347-1351 a wide spread and catastrophic epidemic created economic, social, and religious upheaval across Europe. It is from this disaster that the renaissance city emerged. What is the renaissance city and why it is important? New structures as wide and straight streets, palaces, offices, gardens, fountains, theatres, villas appeared in the landscape and created the modern forms that in many cases we can still experience in today cities. The course will focus on the cultural background, the architecture and the arts that contributed to the renaissance city, as well on the social changes that occurred in it. Field trips to Rome, Florence, and lessons on-site at Cortona and around will give the possibility to observe directly the original structures of the renaissance city and compare them with the components that we have in today cities. Though the history of the renaissance city, this course aims to furnish a wider comprehension of the cities where we live, study, and work, in a moment when effecting changes are happening in their environments.



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