Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness - Mark Twain

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Florence Sp 2014 Course Descriptions

Dorrie Mazzone, Diablo Valley College

POLSC 220, Comparative Politics
This course provides a comparative analysis of the political systems of selected European states, including Italy, and the U.S.  We will investigate the origins and nature of politics, philosophies, and cultures and their expression in political institutions and processes.  We will explore the major political and economic aspects of democratic and authoritarian regimes examining the operations of nationalism, fascism, capitalism and imperialism.  We will consider the role of Italian nationalism, as promoted by Giuseppe Garibaldi and Giuseppe Mazzini, in the unification of Italy; compare the fascisms of Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler; and consider their quest for empire in relation to the imperialism of Great Britain and the U.S.
POLSC 240, Political Theory
This course examines selected political theorists, issues and/or concepts to illustrate various theoretical approaches used to study political power.  It is not enough to describe political events; the point is to understand them.  Political theories and ideologies help us make sense of our world.  In this particular offering, our inquiry will revolve around questions of the state:  state formation, organization, disintegration and rebuilding.  Our readings will include works by leading Italian political theorists such as Niccolo Machiavelli, Benito Mussolini, Gaetano Mosca, Antonio Gramsci, Errico Malatesta and Antonio Negri.

POLSC 250, International Relations
This course provides an introduction to various aspects of international relations and politics, and will assist students in obtaining the knowledge and theoretical frameworks necessary to understand world events. We will examine relations among states, international institutions (such as the United Nations, NATO, World Trade Organization, and the European Union), and historical and contemporary events.  We will consider issues of state sovereignty, international law, human rights, war and conflict, globalization, and political economy. We will focus on Italy’s role in world politics by examining contemporary issues facing Italy in relation to its membership in various international organizations, and we will consider U.S. foreign policy from an Italian and/or European perspective.

Valerie Kidrick, Sacramento City College

HUM 300:  Classical Humanities
This course studies the history, philosophy, and art of three major periods in European history:  Greece (c. 750 -150 BCE), Rome (c. 500 BCE – 300 CE) and the Middle Ages (c. 300 – 1400 CE).  Much of the material we cover will be familiar; this includes Athenian democracy and the writings of Plato and Socrates, as well as Roman contributions to engineering and the Empire’s expansion into nearly all areas of Europe.  And the great Age of the Cathedrals, resplendent in their stained glass windows and dizzying heights, is familiar to many.  But there is much more to learn in this period: how science, medicine, and Humanism contribute to Ancient Greek life, culture, and art;  how great advances in engineering and building helped Roman might reach deep into the far corners of Europe.  And how the ideas that lie at the core Christianity were interpreted by various philosophers and clerics to create the magnificent art and architecture that distinguishes the Gothic era.  The Italian peninsula was the birthplace (or adopted home) of many of the important ideas, events, and art of these periods of history, so we will be able to visit and experience the worlds of Greece, Rome, and the Middle Ages outside our doors.  Classical architecture—especially the great works of public engineering of the Romans—dot the landscape throughout Italy.  Medieval history, and the arts and philosophies of the time are often overlooked in the shadows of Greece and Rome, but are plentiful and intriguing.  This class will help us recognize and understand the contributions of the ancient and medieval worlds to our own time.

ARTH 303:  Ancient Art to 14th century
ARTH 303 covers the art and architecture of a broad range of time periods and cultures in Europe; we will focus on the works  of the great cultures of the ancient world, including the Egyptian, Greek, and Romans, as well as those of the Middle Ages.  Since Italy has been at the center of many of those cultures, we are able to see first-hand their material culture. The early cultures of Egypt and the Aegean (including the Minoans and Mycenaeans) are studied as precursors of the great Classical civilizations.  Greek cities in Italy, such as Paestum (Poseidonia) will be used to show how the Greek world expanded beyond its geographic boundaries. Athens—the center of Greek politics, philosophy, and art—will be discussed as the major contributor to the Roman world.  And evidence of Roman domination is wide-spread in and around Florence, Tuscany, and the Campagna. It’s even possible to see how every-day Romans lived, by studying the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.  With the rise of Christianity, and the emergence of culture into the Middle Ages, Italy stays at the center art and architecture.  The astonishingly beautiful mosaics in Ravenna provide us the best-preserved works of the Byzantine period. Romanesque sites, such as the Pisa Campanile (The ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’) and churches in Lombardy, will be studied to trace the continuation of ideas borrowed from the Classical world.  Major Medieval contributions to art and architecture will also be studied, including those found in Florence (San Minato al Monte), Rome (Santa Sabina and Santa Costanza), Ravenna (San Apollinare and the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia) and Venice (the Ca’ D’or).  The course provides an essential foundation for the study of the history of art and architecture from the Ancient world up to the Renaissance.

ARTH 307:  Italian Renaissance Art
This course focuses on the art and architecture of the Italian Renaissance (c. 1250 – 1600), the greatest explosion of Western art the European continent has ever seen.  Beginning with the revolutionary works of Giotto and his contemporaries, we will study the rise of Humanism and its relationship to the history and literature of the 13th and 14th centuries, as well as its roots in the teachings of Saint Francis.  Some of of our time will be spent studying the great works of art and architecture of the 15th century, the Florentine Renaissance, including the Florence Duomo, the Baptistery Doors, and the Pazzi Chapel, as well as paintings by Fra Angelico and Masaccio.  All of these works are located in our own neighborhood, so the works we’re looking at will be outside our door.  The High Renaissance (c. 1480 – 1525) masterworks of Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Donatello are the main focus of the course, and nearly all of them are in local Florentine museums.  The 16th century Renaissance of Rome will be explored in depth as well, and since Rome is a relatively short train trip from Florence, students are able to visit the great works we see in the classroom.  The Vatican Museums, with Michelangelo’s masterworks such as the Pieta and the Sistine Chapel ceiling, are a must-see, but many other major paintings and sculptures await us, including works by Leonardo and Raphael.  In fact, there’s so much to see in the region, that this class, with its focus on just Italian Renaissance art and architecture, may be your best bet to immerse yourself in the history, art, and culture of a most magnificent period of art.

Doniella Maher, College of San Mateo

Lit 113- The Novel- 19th, 20th and 21st Century Novels
3 units                                   
Prerequisite: Completion of  English 100 or equivalent reading and composition course with a grade of a “C” or better.
CSU/UC; AA/AS Area E, CSU GE Area C2, UC Area 3B
Study of a representative selection of Italian and European novels of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries and of various aspects of literary criticism.  This course focuses on the development and trajectory of the novel and major literary movements of this period.  Italy was unified in 1851 and this course will explore questions of national identity, modernity, and changing social structures that dominated this period.   Readings will explore the contributions of romanticism, realism, futurism, neorealism and magical realism.

Lit 101-20th Century Literature
3 units                                   
Prerequisite: Completion of  English 100 or equivalent reading and composition course with a grade of a “C” or better.
CSU/UC; AA/AS Area E, CSU GE Area C2, UC Area 3B
This course is a study of a representative selection of 20th century Italian and European fiction, poetry and drama.  The 20th century saw dramatic changes in art and literature throughout Europe and this course will place an emphasis on innovations of the Century’s major writers within this context.  Particular focus will be placed upon historical changes with major implications on  literary and cultural movements of the 20th century, including the World Wars and the rise and defeat of fascism.  This course will explore the wide variety of explorative writing during this period including manifestos, poetry, propoganda and theatre.  This course will also explore the changing role of women and the rise of the female author.   Literary genres will include the development of the avant-garde, neorealism, magical realism and post-modernism.  

LIT 220- An Intro to World Literature
3 units                                   
Prerequisite: Completion of  English 100 or equivalent reading and composition course with a grade of a “C” or better.
CSU/UC; AA/AS Area E, CSU GE Area C2, UC Area 3B
This course is a study of Italian and World Literature and texts (poetry, prose, drama and film) from antiquity to the present with a focus on major authors representing changing literary traditions.  As the home of Italian literature hard-hitters such as Dante, Guido Cavalcanti, Petrarca and Bocaccio among others, Florence provides a unique environment to explore this literary history.  This course focuses on the significant national and international literary contributions of major Italian and other European authors and poets.

Wendy Wisely, Santa Rosa Junior College

Theater Arts 1: WORLD THEATRE
Italy is the birthplace of Commedia dell Arte --the slap stick genre which influences the comedy from Moliere to Charlie Chaplin to Seinfeld and The Office.
The lure of Italian culture and history was so strong that Shakespeare placed many of his plays there, despite the fact that he never got to visit Italy himself --But you can!  See for yourself what Shakespeare only could dream about.   We ‘ll also be studying the works of more modern Italian playwrights such as Pirandello and Dario Fo who were responding to a very different time period -post WWII.  We’ll examine these and the theater traditions and plays from around the world throughout history.

Field trip opportunities:
Teatre dell Pergola - professional theater within walking distance which presents works of Pirandello to Oscar Wilde!
Teatro di Rifredi which brings contemporary and new works to the stage.  It specifically  reaches out to younger (more “hip”) audiences.
* Tour the Teatre Verdi which is a beautiful example of 17th century proscenium stage with the ornate, gilt stage frame and the many balconies. 

The home of the Renaissance is a wonderful place to introduce students to the spectacle of live theater and it’s unique place within society.  There is a sense of the theatrical in almost everything in Florence from the architecture to the fascination with fashion!  Language is not a barrier to appreciating the sights and sounds of a live opera, appreciating the costume and  lighting design of a ballet or laughing at the physical comedy of street performers performing in ancient commedia dell arte.  There will be several opportunities to get out of the classroom and experience the theatrical first hand, many offered with discounted prices through the AIFS cultural calendar.

Other possible  theatrical adventures:
Backstage tour of the Teatro Communale - noted for it’s state of the art contemporary facility and acclaimed costume shop.
Travel to Fiesole to see a partially restored Roman amphitheater.
Explore various mask and puppetry shops and perhaps get to see how they are made!

“If you ever have any doubt about the power of movies to affect change in the world, interact with life and fortify the soul, then study the example of (Italian) neorealism” -Martin Scorsese.

Neorealism was Italy’s cinematic response to  World War II and an absolute rejection of the glamour of studio films from Hollywood.  It is a gritty and honest approach that relied on making the most out of the least, something most students can relate to. 

This course explores film from several different points of view: Socio-Political, Mythological, Auteur, Historical, and Artistically.  We will be viewing, discussing, and writing about not only works from American masters but such films as THE BICYCLE THIEF (Vittorio di Sica),  LA STRADA (Fellini) and even LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL which re-introduced Hollywood to Italian cinema awarding Roberto Benigni an academy award.

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