ITAL 5551: Italy Between Europe and the Mediterranean

Course Description

This course concentrates on pivotal representative moments of the intellectual history of Europe seen through the modern and contemporary Italian literary and cultural production. It explores the evolution of the idea of Europe and the development of a European consciousness as reflected in the writings of key literary, historical, and philosophical Italian figures, from the heroes of Risorgimento – Mazzini and Garibaldi—to the antifascist thinker Carlo Rosselli and the federalist politician Altiero Spinelli, down to protagonists of contemporary Italian culture like philosopher Gianni Vattimo, the controversial Northern League leader Umberto Bossi, and the internationally renowned Mitteleuropean writer Claudio Magris. This comparative and interdisciplinary investigation will allow students to appreciate the complexity of the European question in a nation trying to come to terms with regional localisms, Mediterraneanization, and globalization, and to familiarize themselves with the pivotal contribution of Italian literature to the European ideal.