BA Latin and Italian

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Italian Cultural Studies

Course unit fact file
Unit code ITAL10300
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Italian Studies
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course unit is designed to provide an introduction to the culture and society of contemporary Italy in the post-war period, with the particular aim of identifying and challenging traditional stereotypes. In Semester 1 the course identifies the major political, economic, and social changes which have affected Italy since the Second World War. In Semester 2 we begin to consider how we make sense of the process of Italian cultural production in multiple media and across multiple centuries, from the medieval and Renaissance period to the modern era, directing our attention towards the study and interpretation of different kinds texts (poetic, narrative, and filmic) created in this cultural context.


Available on which programme(s)? 

Italian Studies Single Hons; Italian Joint Hons (both MFL and Joints); Post A- Level Flexible Hons 


The principal aims of the course unit are as follows:

  • To develop knowledge and understanding of post-war Italian culture and society, along with modern and premodern cultural production.
  • To develop critical thinking and higher order conceptual reasoning and analytical skills
  • To equip students with working definition for key concepts in the Italian context: ‘nation’, ‘ideology’, ‘multiculturalism’, ‘canon’, etc.
  • To enable to students to analyse and interrogate a variety of forms of cultural production.




Knowledge and understanding

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

  • Apply their analytical skills to render Italian texts, films, and other forms of cultural representation meaningful
  • 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

By the end of this course 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

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

  • Engage in independent reflection and enquiry.
  • Write a report on a piece of original research.
  • Engage in group discussion (both in the class and online).
  • Work as part of a team.


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

Assessment task  

Formative or Summative 


Weighting within unit (if summative) 

Semester 1 Literature review and referencing exercise  

To be submitted Thursday Week 5 


500 words 


Semester 1 Commentary 

To be submitted by Thursday Week 11 


1250 words 


Semester 2 Fictional Forms essay  

To be submitted Thursday Week 12 (semester 2) 


1750 words 



Resit Assessment

Assessment task  



2500 words 

Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Collective feedback in class for both formative and summative work

Formative and Summative

Individual written feedback in Bb9

Formative and Summative

Additional one-to-one feedback available (during consultation hours or by appointment).

Formative and Summative


Recommended reading

  1. New Perspectives in Italian Cultural Studies, ed. by Graziella Parati (Madison – Teaneck: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2012)
  2. John Foot, Italy’s Divided Memory (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). Online access via Library ebook portal.
  3. Paul Ginsborg, A History of Contemporary Italy: Society and Politics 1943-1988 (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1990).

Further reading is recommended in CU Booklet (in Bb9) and in Reading Lists Online in which digital content is embedded and seminar readings available.

Study hours

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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Stephen Milner Unit coordinator
Guyda Armstrong Unit coordinator

Additional notes



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