Major Course Research Questions

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Goals of the Course

  1. To acquire an in-depth understanding of Italy as it has developed socially, politically and culturally since its unification in 1860.
  2. To be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of modern Italian society and to view these in the light of philosophical and anthropological approaches to culture.
  3. To develop critical explanations for the struggles, anomalies, conflicts, but also the virtues that have distinguished Italy and the Italian national identity.

Major Course Research Questions

  1. What forces and unique circumstances were involved in Italy's Unification? To what extent was it successful?
  2. How does the North-South conflict reflect anthropological and historical difference between the two part of the country?
  3. How have the role of the intellectual been theorized and actively performed in modern Italy?
  4. What is culture? What difference does it make if we take an evolutionary, marxist, or a symbolic approaches to culture?
  5. Under what circumstances can we say that culture makes mistakes?
  6. What characterized the Italian resistance and in what ways can we explain the forces and circumstances that made it happen?
  7. What is liberty? (cf. Mazzini, Verga, & Viroli)
  8. How is the state related to the underlying social culture (society)? How did differences in social culture across Italy differentially affect state / society relationships?
  9. What has the role of the organic intellectual in promoting social changes and civic conscience since the unification. Consider figures such as Mazzini, Gramsci, Pasolini, Viroli and Eco
  10. In what ways have media, society and political power been interconnected since the early 1990s.
  11. To what extent can we say that contemporary media representations of women reflect a consumer ideology and what effects could this have for the ideals of equal opportunity and women's emancipation.
  12. In what ways has Italian culture been influenced by values of shame and honor and in what ways has this conditioned the role of women.
  13. Discuss some ways in which the state has engaged with and responded to activism and/or political violence. Why have these cases tended to remain unresolved mysteries and with what consequences.
  14. In what ways has globalization affected modern Italy and what responses has it provoked.