Philosophy of Italian Culture Course Information

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Course Description

Philosophy of Italian Culture

Cross-listed as ITAL 380-PHIL 486-INST 302 T R 4:05-5:20 Coughlin 104

This course approaches modern Italian culture from a philosophical and anthropological standpoint. Integrating resources from philosophy as well as cultural and socio-historical studies, we will examine the critical perspectives of Marx and Antonio Gramsci and the cultural theory of Clifford Geertz as well as contemporary Italian philosophy, feminist thought, and case studies. This theoretical framework will direct the anthropological inquiry from socio-cultural divisions and anomalies within Italian society and political life (i.e clientelism, familism, transformism) to honour culture, both in its historic context in Mediterranean culture, as well through contemporary examples of the victimization of women in Italian society. The course will conclude with a study of popular culture and global movements as means of resistance and creative consciousness about problems as diverse as global trade, organized crime, the effect of media, and the quality of food. Class discussions, student motivated projects, presentations, and short lectures will allow us to develop a deep understanding of some cultural factors that have shaped modern Italian culture.

Learning Outcomes / Goals of the Course

  1. 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.
  2. To develop critical explanations for the struggles, anomalies, conflicts, but also the virtues that have distinguished Italy and the Italian national identity.


Students will be assessed with quizes, papers, a midterm, a research paper, and a final exam.

Contact Information

Dr. Torunn Haaland, Department of Modern Languages, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA 99258
Office Hours: College Hall 340 M W 10:50 - 11:50, Coughlin Hall T 5:00 - 7:00 and by appointment
Dr. Mark Alfino, Department of Philosophy, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA 99258
Office Hours: Alfino: M-TH 8-10 and by appointment.
Office: Alfino: 313-6753 Haaland: 313 3898


  1. You must complete all work in the course to receive a grade.
  2. While you are welcome to take notes on computers and ipads, we ask you to refrain from all messaging and cellular-use.
  3. You must disclose any work that you are turning in for this course that you are submitting or have submitted for other courses.
  4. You must comply with all university policies concerning academic honesty.