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ITALIAN 203: Women's Voices in the Italian Literary Tradition: From Catherine of Siena to Elena Ferrante

Women have been historically marginalized ? when not systematically excluded ? from participation in both the social sphere and the process of cultural production since the origin of the Italian literary tradition. And yet, well-educated, creative, literary Italian women throughout history have been able to reformulate the canonical language, style, and themes of the male-centered tradition in a continuous attempt to give voice to their unique identity and redeem their historically weak social agency. Starting with the study of classical, late-antique, and medieval misogynistic works that established authoritative misconceptions on women'fres moral and biological identities (the legacy of which is still evident in modern-day society), this course intends to revise the Italian literary canon to fully include women as pivotal agents in the historical formation of the national cultural identity. As the work of these writers often emerged through a constant, fruitful dialogue with their co more »
Women have been historically marginalized ? when not systematically excluded ? from participation in both the social sphere and the process of cultural production since the origin of the Italian literary tradition. And yet, well-educated, creative, literary Italian women throughout history have been able to reformulate the canonical language, style, and themes of the male-centered tradition in a continuous attempt to give voice to their unique identity and redeem their historically weak social agency. Starting with the study of classical, late-antique, and medieval misogynistic works that established authoritative misconceptions on women'fres moral and biological identities (the legacy of which is still evident in modern-day society), this course intends to revise the Italian literary canon to fully include women as pivotal agents in the historical formation of the national cultural identity. As the work of these writers often emerged through a constant, fruitful dialogue with their contemporary male counterparts, our investigations will apply an integral definition of gender, which simultaneously defends the equal dignity and acknowledges the differences of the sexes. Course materials will include a wide range of cross-medial genres and works by or about Italian women (poetry, novels, short stories, drama, non-fictional narrative, visual arts and films) dealing with issues of identity, emotional life, politics, and social justice. All the readings will be in English translation; there are no prerequisites or language requirements. Students will be occasionally allowed to select their own primary readings and are expected to produce a research essay on an elective topic, as well as several informal writing assignments.
Terms: Win | Units: 3-5
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