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.

Winter 2019 (January 14 – March 22)

Introduction to Italian Language and Culture INT D 125 (*3) Roberto Bondi

Through this introduction to Italian culture, you will gain the basic skills to communicate effectively in your daily interactions and a better appreciation of the similarities and differences between Italy and Canada. Learn about the ‘real’ Italy and how to not only survive but thrive as you go to classes, order food and travel across the country. Not open to students with credit in ITAL 111/112 or any higher level Italian course.
 
Power and Visual Arts in Fascist Italy INT D 325 (*3) Dr. Alessandro Celani
This course explores Italian Fascism from the 1920s to early 1940s through an analysis of visions of power and propaganda in Fascist Italy, and how the entire visual vocabulary of Italy was recreated to celebrate Italian heroes and geniuses, such as Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Bernini, Machiavelli and Lorenzo de Medici. This historical view provides insight into modern leadership and conflicts, giving us a lens through which we can understand how leaders use history to construct their public image and inform their policies. Field trips to be announced at a later date. Prerequisites waived.

 

The Archaeology of Ancient Italy: From Greeks to Romans CLASS 399 (*3)  Dr. Maurizio Gualtieri/ Dr. Helena Fracchia

Surveying Ancient Italy from ca. 800 BC to 200 AD, this course includes field trips to a number of key archaeological sites and a discussion of the main cultures of Ancient Italy: the Greek colonies in Southern Italy, the Etruscans in Central Italy, the indigenous people in inland areas, and the Romans who unified all of Italy. Ancient Italy’s influence in the foundation of the Renaissance, the concept of Western Civilization, and present day Italy will be discussed. The weekend field trips to Poseidonia/Paestum, Pompeii, and Herculaneum serve to aid the understanding of not only the ancient world but also how, what and why modern societies remember through museums and the use/restoration of ancient sites today. Prerequisites waived.

 

Renaissance City HADVC 211 (*3) Dr. Marco Pacioni

A study of the elements that contributed to the conception and construction of the Italian Renaissance city, focusing on the changes in medieval cities before and after the Black Plague and on the new architectural elements of the Renaissance. Elements that will be examined include squares, gardens, palaces, villas, aqueducts, fountains, open galleries, public monuments, domes, and theaters. We will follow the social and urban evolution of cities such as Florence and Rome, including the ideal cities that have been built or only planned. Urban spaces and their usage by different social groups in terms of gender differences will be discussed. Field trips will be to Rome and Florence. Prerequisites waived.
 

The Grand Tour European Culture toward the Italian Landscape and Arts HIST 300 (*3) Dr. Marco Pacioni

This course considers the main elements of the “Grand Tour,” a historical trip across the main centres of Europe undertaken to gain an appreciation of culture such as architecture, language, and art. The Tour’s cultural and political elaborations in Europe will be examined with a focus on significant works of artists and writers mainly from the 18th and 19th century. These works contributed to the aesthetical paradigm of the Italian landscape with its archaeological sites, cities, monuments, and habits of local populations. The previous heritage of Italian humanists to the Grand Tour and its later transformations into the pop-culture of modern tourism will be considered. Field trips will be to Rome and Florence. Prerequisites waived.

 

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.

 

Modern 'Italiannes' through its Cultural Context  ITAL 205 (*3) Roberto Bondi 

This course will provide students with a real, in-depth view of modern Italian culture that opposes stereotypes seen in shows such as “The Godfather” or “Jersey Shore.” Cultural expression through identity, culinary habits, gender (particularly the status of women), unemployment, regional differences, immigration, religious practices, and language will be discussed. A review of relevant Italian history, movies, songs, and the English writings of Italian writer Beppe Severgini will further the understanding of Italian culture. Field trips will be to Siena and Chiusi as well as in-class food tasting. Prerequisites waived.

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. 

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

Our world is a small world. We move and see things much faster than only a few years ago. Everything around us seems to show this is the right way to do. On the other hand more and more the environment shows how this is not sustainable in the long term. Landscapes, architectures, animals, people suffer and decay because of that. This course is about unveiling the impact of mass tourism to our environment and lives. And it is about showing alternative ways to move, get in touch with places and people, contribute to the maintenance of monuments, traditions, behaviors. The development of tourism in the last 100 years will be covered with readings, films and photos, novels and documentaries. New ways of interaction with places will be analyzed and developed with students thanks to on site visits and field trips. Each student will be asked to create and propose his/her own model of sustainable experiences in a tourist environment. Prerequisites waived.

Spring II 2019 (May 28 – June 20)

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

The course aims to give students some sense of the rich panoply of Italian cinema in the mid 20th century, and to showcase some of the most important filmmakers who have worked within the industry within that time. Because of the brevity of the course, the films studied will be disposed in the following schema: two films each from the 1930s and 1940s, one from the 1950s, two from the 1960s, and one each from the popular genres of spaghetti western and giallo. The intent of the two works from the 1930s is to give at least a taste of the scope and vitality of Italian cinema before World War II—a period normally elided in introductory accounts. The two 1940s films are from the Italian Neorealist movement, the most important and influential moment in the history of Italian cinema. The three films from the 1950s and 60s are representative of the peak of post-war European art-cinema as it unfolded in Italy. Italy’s three most popular genres, successful internationally even more than at home, are peplum (heroes and superheroes of classical mythology and antiquity), the spaghetti western of especially the 1960s and 1970s, and the horror/giallo cinema of terror and blood enacted with much style and baroque violence. Although these films present a great range of contrast, they can almost all be oriented to an Italian struggle to bridge the past and the present, and to find meaning in a modern world that stands in such contrast to an incredibly long and glorious history whose remnants continue to surround its inhabitants. Italy’s consciousness of a heroic distant past, its poisoned romance with Fascist theatricalizations of that past, the inglorious ambiguity and perfect non-success of its participation in World War II, and its economic struggles to catch up with the late-industrial western world, are all reflected in these films, even when those same films are also expressing the strong creative visions of their directors. This course will prove to be a fascinating journey. 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.

 

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.

 

 

T. B. D. 
T. B. D.