BA Politics and Italian / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Reading Italy: Medieval to Modern

Unit code ITAL10500
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Italian Studies
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit forms a foundation for studying Italian Studies by providing students with the intellectual and analytical tools needed at university level. Semester 1 classes explore the specific relationship between language and culture, introducing students to key concepts required for the systematic study of these two central ideas that underpin their programme of study. More specifically, we will analyse linguistic texts, poems, still images, film, and longer literary texts in order to understand how these objects, and our readings of them, are shaped by their own particular ‘language’. In semester 2, the focus shifts to the analysis of forms of reading under the themes of space and the city, cultural translation, and misrepresentation and misinformation in the Italian context. Seminars focus on Italian language-specific and area-specific material that relate to the themes covered in lectures, allowing students to develop further linguistic and cultural competence in their language of study.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Italian Cultural Studies ITAL10300 Co-Requisite Compulsory

Please note that if you  take ITAL10500 at Level 1, you cannot take ITAL20500 at Level 2.


The principal aims of the course unit are as follows:

  • To develop knowledge and understanding of specific aspects of Italian culture and society from the medieval period to the present day
  • To develop critical thinking and higher-order conceptual reasoning and analytical skills
  • To equip students with working definitions for key concepts in the Italian context such as periodization, identity, ‘nation’, ‘ideology’, ‘multiculturalism’, etc.
  • To enable students to analyse and interrogate a variety of forms of written and visual cultural production in their contexts.
  • Students on this course will hone their skills of analysis, academic writing and independent research.


Learning outcomes




Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate their ability to analyse the formal qualities of a range of different kinds of Italian cultural production, including visual artworks, political propaganda, poetry, films, novels and children’s literature.
  • Apply their analytical skills to render Italian texts, films, and other forms of cultural representation meaningful in their historic contexts
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of some of the major aspects of national and cultural identity in Italy in the modern period.

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Engage in independent reflection and enquiry.
  • Engage in the discussion and critical evaluation of Italian cultural production
  • Use empirical evidence to support synthetic conclusions and interpretations
  • Analyse a body of data and provide a synthesis of the most relevant findings.

Practical skills

On successful completion of this course unit, students will be able to:

  • Use library, electronic, and on-line research resources
  • Follow correct citation procedure for the professional presentation of academic writing
  • Build argumentative frameworks for the analysis of cultural artefacts
  • Carry out individual research and select material judiciously

Transferable skills and personal qualities

On successful completion of the course unit, students will be able to:

  • present information, ideas and arguments, orally and in writing, with due regard to the target audience;
  • participate constructively in group activities (e.g. class discussions);
  • assess the relevance and importance of the ideas of others;
  • demonstrate powers of analysis.


Employability skills

The course will have particular benefits for any student interested in pursuing a career in teaching and learning, diversity and identity management. The course enhances skills of analysis, synthesis, oral presentation, and written reporting. The course content also encourages students to reflect upon the world outside the University, thereby providing confidence in the use of academic research in a variety of non-academic environments.

Assessment methods

Commentary (sem1) 40%
Portfolio of three 150-word summaries in Italian Formative
Commentary (sem2) 60%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Comments made during class discussion regarding the relevance and coherence of student responses/participation in discussion.


Individual written comments on all submitted work within 15 working days of submission, plus additional face-to-face discussion available during consultation hours or by appointment.

Formative and Summative

Global feedback on all submitted work (delivered orally in classes and via Blackboard).

Formative and Summative


Recommended reading

Weekly readings and visual texts will be supplied in seminars and on Blackboard. Secondary readings will be provided via Blackboard.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Francesca Billiani Unit coordinator
Guyda Armstrong Unit coordinator

Additional notes



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