Italian School Graduate Course Descriptions

– updated 28 January 2022

As far as we know, we will use the traditional method below for course advising and (in June) official course registration:

  • Read the 2022 course descriptions below.
  • After you submit your enrollment deposit, contact Professor Vitti ( to schedule a course advising session. Professor Vitti will be keeping a list of student course selections for enrolled students.
  • Look at the course schedule to make sure there are no scheduling conflicts in your tentative schedule. Please email or call Professor Vitti to modify your 2022 course selection if you notice a conflict.
  • Web registration details from the Registrar’s office will be forwarded to you by Joe in early June.
  • You will formally register for courses during the week of June 14. Online registration is a necessary formality, but should be a relatively stress free process since there is no danger of courses filling up before you have a chance to register (assuming you pre-registered with Professor Vitti).

As in all previous summers, there will be an add/drop period during the first week of class.




 ITAL 6503 (GLNG Attribute) WRITTEN AND SPOKEN ITALIAN – Gaia Capecchi

The course will concentrate specifically on grammar and style. Through analysis of various grammatical components, the student will acquire greater comprehension of Italian language and its varied uses. This study will be supplemented by reading and analyzing texts by great authors of Italian literature with attention to linguistic structure and stylistic themes. The student will also be required to write essays in which they will demonstrate their understanding of textual analysis and linguistic interpretation. The course aims to supply students with the tools to find their voice in spoken and written Italian while utilizing extraordinary examples from Italian Literature. (This course is 100 minutes and worth 1 Middlebury unit. Course required for all new graduate students who do not hold a MAJOR in Italian.)

TBA Islamic Fundamentalism: A Mediterranean Challenge – Karim Hannachi

In the Mediterranean region, Islamic fundamentalism is one of the most worrisome issues for societies and countries and one of the most prevalent issues in newspapers and audio-visual media. To understand this phenomenon, it is necessary to distinguish between terms such as; fundamentalism, radicalism, integralism, Islamism, jihadism. The introduction to the Islamic religion and the terminological understanding represent the first part of this course. The second part aims to deepen the complex and varied universe of Islamic fundamentalism: from its historical origins and the thought of the founders to its evolution in recent years, from the various groups and the association of the Muslim Brotherhood to al-Qà’ida and the ‘Organization of the Islamic State. Students will become more aware of this contemporary challenge, will possess a vocabulary appropriate to the issues covered and will present a paper treating one of the topics studied during the course.

All materials will be provided by the instructor.

TBA Sicily and Italy as Metaphors: Cinematic Adaptations of Leonardo Sciascia’s Literary Works by Some of the Most Important Italian Filmmakers – Antonio Vitti

The scope of this course is to examine the cinematic adaptation of Leonardo Sciascia’s literary works by some of the most important Italian filmmakers such as Damiano Damiani, Elio Petri, Francesco Rosi, Gianni Amelio, and others among the many directors drawn to the uncompromising work of the Sicilian author. Starting from Il girono della civetta (The Day of the Owl) and A ciascuno il suo (We Still Kill the Old Way) the course will explore and analyze how these directors have transposed in cinematic images the artistic, literary qualities of Sciascia’s masterpieces. We will also explore how the films have reused the unique form of his romanzo giallo (Sicilian mystery novel) as a medium to unmask the facts beneath the respectable veneer of Italian politics and society.

TBA Journeys in Italian Modern Art – Giuseppe Scravaglieri

Journeys in Modern Art 

This History of Modern Art course aims to illustrate the historical-artistic panorama in Italy through a series of paths that begin from the Renaissance and end with  Informalism of the 1900’s. These paths will be characterized by a continuous dialogue with the geographical, political, economic, social and cultural context. The stages of this long itinerary will be represented by the authors and the most significant masterpieces of Italian art that reveal the contours of the geographical areas and cities where the main artistic and cultural movements originated: from the Renaissance to the Baroque, from Vedutismo to Neoclassicism, from Romanticism to the Macchiaioli, from Divisionism to Art Nouveau,  from Futurism to Rationalism, and from Metaphysics to Informalism. The treatment of artworks having themes related to social commitment will be frequent and will, in some cases, include the role played by architecture during certain historical periods. In class, audiovisual materials will facilitate comprehension of this expressive language and will also permit exploration of both the major art capitals such as Florence, Rome, or Venice, and minor ones, such as Urbino, Mantua and Vicenza– equally rich in often lesser-known works of art. The course affords the opportunity to enrich vocabulary with specialized terminology and, finally, to visualize the location of the most famous museums in the various Italian cities.

TBA Lavorare stanca! Working and Workers’ Demands analyzed through Literature, Theater, Painting and CinemaEnrico Bernard

Prendendo spunto dal titolo del romanzo di Cesare Pavese il corso si concentra sulla tematica del lavoro  e della “questione” operaia al centro non solo della letteratura e del teatro, ma anche della pittura e del cinema. Il corso avrà un carattere sperimentale, sinergico tra arti visive e narrativa spaziando  dal 1934 al primo decennio del 2000. Dal capostipite della letteratura italiana “Tre operai” di Carlo Bernari al classico del dopoguerra di letteratura e industria “Donnarumma all’assalto” e a “La dismissione” di Ermanno Rea fino al recente testo teatrale “Sette minuti” di Stefano Massini. Da tutte queste opere sono stati tratti importanti film che verrano proposti in visione. Ma si parlerà anche del tema della fabbrica e del lavoro nella pittura, in particolare coi quadri di Sironi, il pittore che alla fine degli Anni ’20 del Novecento ispirò il primo neorealismo. 


  • Tre operai  di Carlo Bernari 
  • Donnarumma all’assalto di Ottiero Ottieri 
  • La dismissione  di Ermanno Rea 
  • Sette minuti di Stefano Massini 

TBA The Literature of the New Italians – Daniela Privitera

How did the Italian literature change in the last 30 years? The “New Italians” are 1st and 2nd generation migrant writers who live in a multicultural society. They come from Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Asia, and they produce their works in Italian. These writers represent the future of Italian literature and tend to highlight the importance of the past generations of Italian migrants for the Italian society. This course will be focused on the Italian Migration literature from the 90s to date and it will analyze the main themes and the language through the works of Carmine Abate, Igiaba Scego, Cristiana de Caldas Brito, Amara Lakhous and many others.

 Required Texts:

  • Carmine Abate , Tra due mari Editore: Mondadori Collana: Oscar 451 Anno edizione:2020 EAN: 9788804724780 anche in versione epub con DRM -Ean 9788852038679  Acquistabile sul sito IBS.IT
  • Igiaba Scego:  La mia casa è dove sono , 2010 LRizzoli ISBN carta: 9788817043106 ISBN E-book: 9788858651292    ( acquistabili su Rizzoli, Amazon ) E33BOO333
  • Amara Lakhous Scontro di civiltà per un ascensore a Piazza Vittorio, 2012 Editore: E/O    Anno edizione: 2011      EAN: 9788876418099  (disponibile anche in formato Epub con Drm )  – (Acquistabile su , Amazon )

TBA The Imaginary World of Pilgrimage in Dante and PetrarchPatricia Zupan

Authors on the cusp of the late Middle Ages and the early modern world, Dante and Petrarch offer two highly divergent literary interpretations of the phenomenon and the imaginary world of pilgrimage to holy places, the preeminent religious experience of their times. From the late ancient to the late medieval periods, the earthly experience of pilgrimage, first to Jerusalem, then to Rome, becomes the allegory of the soul’s ascent to the Celestial Paradise, finding its most complete expression in Dante’s Commedia. In his more distinctly modern imaginary construct, diffused throughout his works (e.g. Canzoniere, Lettera sull’ascesa di Monte ventoso [Familiares IV.1], Guida al viaggio da Genova a Terra Santa [Itinerarium Syriacum]) Petrarch intentionally reverses the movement of pilgrimage from otherworldly ascent, focusing instead on the phenomenal, natural, geographical world as an occasion for solitary meditation and self-knowledge.

Why, within several decades, does the imaginary world of pilgrimage change so radically in these “fathers” of Italian letters? Our study will include a study of the phenomenon of pilgrimage from the late ancient world to the mid-Trecento, concentrating on the late medieval period; pilgrims’ direct accounts; selected Dantean and Petrarch literary texts that engage the imaginary of pilgrimage; textual and contextual comparisons and contrasts. No previous knowledge of the Middle Ages, pilgrimage, Dante, or Petrarch is presupposed.

TBA The Hidden Mafia: Organized Crime in the Age of the Internet – Antonio Nicaso

The ongoing story of the Mafia, and organized crime generally, continues to have great appeal both as phenomenon of interest to criminology and as a pop culture narrative. It has evolved along with technology—that is, from being glamorized by TV programs and movies in the pre-Internet era, to being seen as an everyday virtual establishment on Internet sites, whose story is now told not by Hollywood writers by in a fragmented fashion by social media memes. The Mafia’s mode of operations and its social imagery have changed drastically, especially after the Silk Road case. It has become a sort of urban legend in the minds of people, rather than the mythical entity of the past. But, as in the past, the Mafia and other organized criminal gangs continue to manifest a dynamic synergy between the image they have of themselves, the image that people have of them, and the effects of these images on their operations. Today, criminal culture is an adaptive culture, evolving in synch with the ever-expanding digital technologies, and using these not only to update its popular image, but also the ways in which it conducts its secretive operations. The course examines fundamental aspects such as globalization and new technologies, exploring new scenarios such as the deep and dark web, cryptocurrencies and communication through social networks and other instant messaging applications.

Textbook TBA. Supplemtary materials will be supplied by the instructor.

TBA Verdi: Opera, and Risorgimento – Cosimo Colazzo

Giuseppe Verdi in his compositional itinerary reveals a versatile ability to draw, even analytically, composite masses, individuals and complex psychology. There we find the romantic impulse, but also the ability to observe humanity and some of its paradoxes ironically. 

His dramaturgical and musical language innovates while remaining communicative. A circle of mutual influences is created between his research and the advancing taste of the public. A reflection that concerns the show but also political instances.  Verdi is a synthesis of nineteenth-century Italian opera as a symbol of the Risorgimento.

The course aims to investigate, through the study of the most significant works in the various stages of production, the development of Verdi’s musical and dramaturgical language, which imprints new evolutions to the so-called ‘usual form’ marked in distinct ‘situations’, in the name of a plastic relationship of music-text-theater and in a perspective of organic overall unity of the form of the work.

Bibliografia essenziale: 

Giampiero Tintori, Invito all’ascolto di Verdi, Mursia, Milano, 2009, 302 p., ISBN-10: 8842541427; ISBN-13: 978-8842541424 

Letture da: 

Massimo Mila, Verdi, Rizzoli, Milano, 2012, 840 p., ISBN-10: 8817060437; ISBN-13: 978-8817060431 (libro acquistabile anche in formato e-book). 

ITAL 6611 Modes of Critical Theory – Gino Tellini

This course focuses on a selection of modes and vocabularies of critical theory within the context of the twentieth century but applied to the field of Italian studies. We will study aspects of structuralism, semiotics, deconstruction, hermeneutics, Marxism, psychoanalysis, feminism, and cultural studies.

Required text:

Gino Tellini, “Metodi e protagonisti della critica letteraria. Con antologia di testi e prove di lettura”, seconda edizione, Firenze, Le Monnier Università, 2019, ISBN 978 88 00 74955 8 (il volume si può acquistare online anche in formato ebook). 

ITAL 6613 Vocal Techniques of Italian Opera- Cosimo Colazzo & Patrizia Zanardi

This course provides singers of all levels the opportunity to work on vocal technique, style and skills of the classical singing actor, in a concentrated immersion environment. The course includes private (30 – 40 min., 5 days a week) and/or group lessons in vocal technique as well as rehearsals with pianist and voice faculty. Weekly labs will focus on musical interpretation and on learning opera scenes. All participants who wish will perform in a final concert. 

Suggested Texts: 

  • Alfred Tomatis, L’orecchio e la voce   Ed. Dalai – ISBN: 8880899678 – ISBN-13: 9788880899679 
  • Maria Callas, Lezioni di Canto, Ed. Longanesi – ISBN-10: 8830408549  ISBN-13: 978-8830408548 
  • Antonio Juvarra, Il canto e le sue tecniche. Trattato -Ed. Ricordi  ISBN: 8875920478 – ISBN-13: 9788875920470 
  • Lehmann Lilli, Il canto. Arte e tecnica. Meine Gesangskunst, Ed. Analogon  ISBN-10: 8890571365 – ISBN-13: 978-8890571367 

ITAL 6781 Italian Fashion – Gaia Capecchi

The scope of this course is to provide basic knowledge and critical tools for understanding the phenomenon of Italian fashion. Through chronological and thematic readings, various stages of the history of fashion and costume will be presented from the Middle Ages to today. In showing the transition from the atelier to mass production, fundamental issues will be discussed and illustrated through readings and study of iconographic documents. Special attention will be devoted to the last century to show how certain elements of Italian identity are also linked to a phenomenon such as fashion, seemingly ephemeral and in constant evolution

ITAL 6795 Teaching Italian: Theoretical Principles, Practical Applications, and New Technologies for Effective Material Development and Classroom Practice (NOTE – for DML Candidates, Advanced Graduate Students and Teachers – this course is worth 2 Middlebury units) – Daria Mizza

The course focuses both on the main theoretical principles and practical applications of teaching methodology and instructional technology for the teaching of Italian as Foreign Language (IFL). During the methodology section of the course, participants will be exposed to the main language teaching methodologies and classroom practices. This may include: the analysis of different approaches to course and syllabus design, the development of specific lesson plans, the integration of task-based instruction, and the assessment practices with the ACTFL proficiency guidelines. During the technology section of the course, students will develop critical skills for a meaningful integration of instructional technologies into their teaching/learning of Italian.  After conducting a review of instructional technologies available for learning and teaching foreign languages, students will be guided to analyze the opportunities and constraints in using specific technologies for Italian as Foreign Language instruction. Active and collaborative participation in the course activities is required and students will be encouraged to conduct readings, engage in face-to-face and online discussions, develop lesson plans, observe language classes, prepare task-based activities, and conduct technology-enhanced projects and teaching demonstrations. 

Required Texts: 

  • Balboni E., Margiotta U. (2012) Formare online i docenti di lingue e italiano L2. Utet (ISBN 8860081998) 
  • Diadori, P. (2010). Insegnare italiano a stranieri, Le Monnier. (ISBN: 88008604190) 
  • Pichiassi, M. (2007). Apprendere l’italiano L2 nell’era digitale – Le nuove tecnologie nell’insegnamento e apprendimento dell’italiano per stranieri. Edizioni Guerra – Soleil (ISBN 8855700626) 
  • Serragiotto, G. (2009). Sillabo di riferimento per la formazione degli insegnanti di italiano a stranieri. Venezia: Cafoscarina (ISBN 9788875432409). Available online at: 

DML 902 RESEARCH PAPER – Antonio Vitti