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ITA339 Exploring Italian Culture

Supports researching the key aspects of Italy’s past and present, contextualized within historical, political, and artistic frameworks. Topics of study include World Wars, Economic Booms and Crises, Organized Crime, Gastronomy.

About the Course

The course involves the study of key aspects of Italy’s past and present, contextualized within historical, political, and artistic frameworks. Topics of study include World Wars, Economic Booms and Crises, Organized Crime, Gastronomy.


  • Survey and contextualize contemporary and historical Italian cultural touchstones within political, social, and artistic frameworks.
  • Probe and unravel stereotypes of Italian culture to assess how they reinforce or challenge norms with particular emphasis on gender and socio-economic development.
  • Identify and analyze a topic of interest for research that will situate and evaluate its impact in Italian culture either past, present or future.
  • Recognize convergent and divergent aspects with the students' own cultural experiences within and beyond their own social location.

MLA Citation Style

Suggested Research Process in This Course

research process

Introductory Works and Companion Works: A Sampler

The Cambridge Companion to the Italian Renaissance

Presents a lively, comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and current approach to the period that extends from the turn of the fourteenth century through the sixteenth.

A Short History of the Italian Renaissance

Beautifully illustrated overview guiding students through the complex history of the Renaissance.

The Italian Renaissance and the Origins of the Modern Humanities

The book focuses on the humanities, charting its roots in the Italian Renaissance and exploring its development up to the Enlightenment.

Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance.

Produced by the Teaching Company.
30-minute lectures; released 2004.
Course of 36 lectures introduces the art of the Italian Renaissance.

Images of Quattrocento Florence

Provides a panoramic view of fifteenth-century Florence in the words of the city's own citizens and visitors.

Encyclopedia of Contemporary Italian Culture

Genuinely interdisciplinary in character, treating traditional political, economic, and legal concerns, with a particular emphasis on neglected areas of popular culture.

The Cambridge Companion to Modern Italian Culture

Comprehensive account of the culture of modern Italy covering a wide range of political, historical and cultural questions.

Italian Cultural Lineages (online)

Tracing Italian life and art through several themes - viewing and spectatorship, fantasy, passion, justice, reputation, and lifestyles - White offers new ways of perceiving an ancient cultural tradition in the twenty-first century.

The Oxford Handbook of Italian Politics

Provides a comprehensive look at the political life of one of Europe's most exciting and turbulent democracies.

Measuring Wellbeing

In 150 years Italy transformed itself from a poor country into one where living standards are among the highest in the world.

The Oxford Handbook of the Italian Economy since Unification

A fresh overall view and interpretation of the modern economic growth of one of the largest European countries.

The Italian Legal System

The gold standard among English-language works on the Italian legal system.

The Beautiful Country

Italy has been a model tourist destination for longer than it has been a modern state.

Italian Cuisine

Combines an Italian culinary dictionary with a recipe inventory.

Encyclopedia of Pasta

A complete history of pasta in Italy, telling its long story via the extravagant variety of shapes it takes.


A chronicle of the beloved base ingredient, from its origins, agricultural riches, and controversy to the passion, pride, and nostalgia it inspires today.

A History of Italian Wine

Analyzes the evolution of Italian viticulture and winemaking in the contexts of culture, economics, and the environment from the 1860 to today.

A New Guide to Italian Cinema

A complete reworking and update of Marga Cottino-Jones' popular A Student's Guide to Italian Film (1983, 1993).

Italian Cinema: From the Silent Screen to the Digital Image

Leading scholars consider the issues, films, and filmmakers that have given Italian cinema its enduring appeal.

Italian Cinema : Gender and Genre

Popular genre cinema in Italy during the 1950s and 1960s, focusing on melodrama, commedia all'italiana , peplum, horror and the spaghetti western.

Mafia Movies : A Reader, 2nd ed.

Looks at mafia movies and television over time and across cultures, from the early classics to the Godfather trilogy and contemporary films.

Italian Fashion Since 1945

In the course of the twentieth century, Italy succeeded in establishing itself as one of the world's preeminent fashion capitals.

The Art of Objects : The Birth of Italian Industrial Culture, 1878-1928

A cultural history of early Italian industrialism, set against the political, social, and intellectual background of post-unification Italy.

Italians in Toronto

Many immigrants arrived in the new world with only a vague sense of nationality. In Italy, their identity had been primarily connected with their villages. In Toronto, a more emphatic sense of Italian nationalism developed.

The Routledge Companion to Italian Fascist Architecture

Questions about the built legacy of the fascist regime provoke polemics among architects and scholars.

A Selection of Oxford Bibliographies