Course Descriptions

French | Italian | Spanish

To see course offerings from specific semesters, please see the Course Schedule.


 To be posted soon


Love, Science, and Magic (ITAL 480Z), Professor Stewart 
What is love? Medieval authors attempted to answer this question by drawing on knowledge from all spheres, including science. In this course we will read scientific and literary works as we consider the medieval views on such topics as the nature of lovesickness, the psychology of desire, the physics of love at first sight, the power of demons, and the magical properties of crystals. From Arthurian Romance to lyric poetry and bawdy short stories, we'll see how authors of all types of literature in the Middle Ages incorporated elements from both science and magic into their writings.

Italian-American New York in Film and Society (ITAL 481P), Professor Hennessey
This course explores Italian-American New York in cinema, television, and documentary. Films and television productions will be contextualized through readings in Italian-American culture, history, and literature. The bulk of the course focuses on Italian Americana in and around New York City, with films like Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather trilogy, Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull, Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, and television shows set in New Jersey: The Sopranos, Jersey Shore, and Boardwalk Empire. Visual and literary texts delineate a timeline that begins with the mass arrivals of Italian immigrants at Ellis Island in the 19th and early 20th centuries, through Prohibition and the postwar period, and ending in the present day. This background will be the basis for a discussion of how Italian-American New York is contoured through cinematic and televisual imagery; first fictional, then in the final part of the class, documentary. Through representations of Italian Americans in New York State and City, we will examine notions of race, national and regional identity, as well as Italian crime, corruption, and creativity. Students will conclude the course by writing or recording an oral history of the Italian-American experience in the New York area, past or present. 
Eternal City: Culture & Literature of Rome (ITAL 481L) Professor Moroni 
Rome was the capital of an empire for hundreds of years. To the observer, the city presents itself as a written page in 3D, whose writing has been cleaned up, but never completely erased, then it has been written again and again in the various visual, material, and architectural styles of subsequent ages. The city of Rome has always had a privileged relationship with western history. It was built layer upon layer, through the centuries, from the times of the Empire to the age of fascism. In recent decades Pier Paolo Pasolini's and Federico Fellini's movies have captured on film many changes that took place in Rome. Through an interdisciplinary approach, this course deals with Rome from antiquity to the present from different perspectives: history, art, urban space, literature, film, and music.

Dante’s Divine Comedy (ITAL 461), Professor Stewart
A masterpiece of world literature, and the story of one man’s journey through the afterlife, Dante’s DIVINE COMEDY has fascinated readers for centuries. Travel with him as he makes his way to his beloved Beatrice – through the depths of Hell, up the steep mountain of Purgatory, and to the heights of Paradise, where he is granted a glimpse of the key to all of life’s mysteries. Both those who have studied Dante before and those who have not are welcome. 

Italian Cinema From Fascism to the New Millennium (ITAL 481N), Professor Hennessey 
This course examines key contributions to Italian cinema from 1930 to the present, focusing on how popular cinematic categories (the Western, zombie and Euro-horror, science fiction, etc.) intersect with the art film. Classics by Fellini, Rossellini, Antonioni, as well as recent works by directors Bernardo Bertolucci and Paolo Sorrentino frame a broad survey of Italian film production. Film analysis and readings on Italian history and art introduce ideas on popular culture, political cinema, realism, race, and gender.


Topics in Spanish Language and Linguistics: The courses taught under this rubric explore topics related to the proficient use of the Spanish language and investigate different aspects of the linguistic discipline, such as formal linguistics and sociolinguistics, which help students master communication. Examples of these courses include syntax, phonetics and phonology, sociolinguistics, contact linguistics, stylistics, discourse analysis and visual analysis.

Topics in Spanish Literature: Study of writer or movement. Subjects to be determined. Recent topics include Hispanic theater, poetry, short fiction, picaresque, metafiction and Golden Age women writers.

Topics in Spanish Culture: Readings and discussion of substantive issues and research in Spanish culture, art and cinema. This course is offered periodically with varying content in order to explore the products, practices and perspectives of Spanish culture.

Topics in Latin American Literature: The courses taught under this rubric explore the creativity and unique value of Latin American literature and provide a window into different countries’ histories, politics, social relations and everyday life. Recent topics include "Latin American Horror Stories," "Latin American Love Stories," "The Literary Boom," "Latin American Short Stories,” "Woman Writers" and “Bang-Bang Theory: Crime and Detective Fiction in Latin America.”

Topics in Latin American Culture: Structured around in-class discussion as well as reading/watching and writing assignments, this course is offered periodically with varying content in order to explore different aspects of Latin American culture, such as social issues, historical processes, political movements, cinema and music trends, the role of the media, etc. Recent topics taught under this rubric include "Social Conflict through Children's Eyes," "Latin American History," "Gender, Class, and Race in Argentine Cinema" and “Caribbean Diaspora in NY.” 

Last Updated: 3/15/17