How Italian filmmakers address their country's history through cinema

Join us to examine how some of the central historical and social phenomena that have shaped Italy over the past 150 years have been represented in the masterpieces of Italian cinema.

We’ll begin by taking a close look into the birth of modern Italy and continue by studying the growth of Italian liberal democracy, World War I, the rise of fascism, World War II, the creation of the Italian Republic in 1946, the economic boom, social upheavals of the 1960s, crises of the 1970s-90s, and new social dynamics arising from recent waves of immigration.

In our week together, we will discuss five or six feature films, with accompanying readings on Italian history and society to set the context for our discussion. Student presentations and small-group discussions will be an integral part of this course, along with guest lectures by Italian scholars, authors, and journalists.

All films are available with English subtitles.

Course Details

This course combines four hours of live lecture/discussion with approximately three hours of pre-recorded course materials, along with supplemental resources. To get the most out of this course, you'll need online access to one or two commercially available Italian films selected by Professor von Wittelsbach.

Upon registration, choose from one of the following meeting times:

  • Section 1: M, W, TH, and F from 2:00–3:00 p.m. EDT
  • Section 2: M, W, TH, and F from 3:30–4:30 p.m. EDT

Class size is limited to 20 students in each section, so register early to secure your preferred time.