Semester Teaching Opportunities

Faculty in Residence

Every semester, the Villa welcomes a Georgetown faculty member from Main Campus to serve as Faculty in Residence. This faculty member plays an important role in the academic life of the Villa’s living and learning community.

Teaching

The primary responsibility of the Faculty in Residence is to design and teach two courses onsite to undergraduate students studying at Villa Le Balze. The courses are not limited to any specific department or discipline, but must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a tangible connection to the Villa’s location (narrowly or broadly defined) so as to support the place-based nature of an education abroad experience;
  • Be assigned course numbers from a Main Campus academic department; 
  • Have no prerequisites for enrollment.

While each course will be assigned meeting space at the Villa, faculty are encouraged to use the Villa’s setting and resources to the fullest extent to create a truly dynamic learning experience in their courses. Faculty interested in developing offsite academic field visits, local guest speakers, or experiential education components as part of their course proposals are encouraged to contact the Office of Global Education to discuss feasibility and planning.

In order to bring the full strength and resources of Georgetown faculty to bear on the Villa’s academic programs, Faculty in Residence may, in consultation with the Office of Global Education and Villa Le Balze, substitute one course from their teaching load with a substantive project that contributes to the Villa’s academic profile or to its living and learning community in a defined, measurable way.  Examples of such projects include: developing new campus-community partnerships for research internships or service learning; organizing an academic event; designing and carrying out an assessment of student learning, or a workshop series on innovative teaching and learning for local instructors at the Villa. Alternative academic assignments are proposed and approved as part of the selection process, and should draw on the faculty member’s specific areas of expertise or experience. Faculty who are selected for an alternative academic assignment will be required to provide regular progress updates to the Office of Global Education and to submit a detailed summary of their project’s outcomes as part of their Faculty Report.

Student Engagement

An equally important role of the Faculty in Residence is to engage students outside the classroom, by being an active and engaged presence in the community life of Villa Le Balze, and to support the student living and learning experience through your participation in co-curricular and community events. This includes regularly attending lunch during weekdays and participating in community events scheduled throughout the semester.

Faculty Governance

Beginning in Fall 2022, faculty who serve in residence at Villa Le Balze will be asked to serve a one-year term as a member of the Villa Le Balze Academic Steering Committee, the faculty advisory body tasked with review and oversight of the Villa’s academic programs and initiatives.  The term of service will include the faculty member’s semester in residence, as well as the following semester after their return to campus.  This new position will help to ensure continuity and diversity of perspective on academic programming to inform the committee’s long-term decision-making.

Compensation

Teaching at Villa Le Balze is considered part of a faculty member’s regular Main Campus teaching load. Full-time faculty (tenure-line and non-tenure line) will retain their academic appointment and salary through their home department on Main Campus; the home department will be compensated by Villa Le Balze for costs of replacing the faculty member’s on-campus teaching. Part-time (adjunct) faculty will retain their affiliation to their home department on Main Campus but will be compensated directly by OGE for each course taught at Villa Le Balze.

Housing

Faculty in Residence are housed in an apartment-style residence in Fiesole, just a short walk from the Villa.  The residence includes ensuite kitchen and bathroom access, and is comfortably furnished to accommodate one adult (with spouse). 

Faculty traveling with family members or who wish to make alternate housing arrangements should contact the Office of Global Education to discuss important considerations related to location, cost, and visa requirements.

Application Process

The Office of Global Education is currently accepting applications from Georgetown faculty for the position of Faculty in Residence at Villa Le Balze Academic Year 2022-2023.  The deadline to submit an application is September 27th, 2021.  Further information about eligibility requirements, as well as a complete list of application materials and instructions, is available below.

It is strongly recommended that interested applicants make an appointment with the Assistant Director of Global Living and Learning Programs (Office of Global Education) to discuss interest and proposed courses as they relate to the needs of Villa Le Balze’s undergraduate curriculum before submitting the application.

Eligibility

  • Applicants may be full time (tenure-line or non-tenure line) or part time (adjunct) professors, but must have taught undergraduate courses for a minimum of 4 semesters at Georgetown (at the time of application).
  • Applicants may not have served as Faculty in Residence at Villa Le Balze within the past 4 years (at the time of application).
  • Preferred applicants will show a demonstrated interest and a history of involvement in programs and experiences related to undergraduate student formation, experiential learning, or global education.
  • Some preference will be given to faculty who have not previously taught in residence at Villa Le Balze.

Required Application Materials

  • Statement of interest outlining why you wish to serve as Faculty in Residence and what unique contributions you believe your experience or expertise will offer. Please also indicate your preferred term abroad (Fall, Spring, or no preference).
  • Two course proposals, including detailed description of course topics, learning outcomes, and assessment methods. Each course proposal should also indicate which academic department will assign credit for the course, and include any field-based or experiential learning components that make use of the Villa’s location and resources (1-2 pages per course). It is strongly recommended that applicants make an appointment with the Assistant Director of Global Living and Learning Programs to discuss potential course topics as they relate to the needs of Villa Le Balze’s undergraduate curriculum before submitting the final application.
  • Proposed Alternative Academic Assignment (OPTIONAL).  Beginning in Fall 2020, Georgetown Faculty in Residence at Villa Le Balze will have the opportunity to propose a substantive project to replace one course from their teaching load.  Selected projects, to be developed in consultation with and approved by the Office of Global Education and Villa Le Balze, will contribute to the Villa’s academic profile or its living and learning community in a defined, measurable way.  Interested faculty should make an appointment with the Assistant Director of Global Living and Learning Programs (Office of Global Education) to discuss feasibility and planning before submitting the attached Proposal Narrative Guidelines.
  • Full CV, including all courses taught at Georgetown.
  • Letter of support from the Chair of the applicant’s department that expresses willingness to release the applicant from teaching during the requested term (if selected) and provides the contact information of administrator with whom OGE can coordinate if the applicant is selected.

Applicants should submit their materials in one combined PDF file to Gregory Spear, Assistant Director of Global Living & Learning Programs (gs901@georgetown.edu (new window)) with the subject line of “VLB Faculty in Residence Application – LASTNAME”. 

Current & Past Faculty

Current Faculty

Astrid Weigert, Ph.D.

Department of German

Faculty in Residence, Fall 2021

Astrid Weigert joined the Department as a faculty member in the fall of 1999 and was promoted to Teaching Professor in 2015. Research interests include: Gender and genre in 18th and 19th century German literature, in particular in Romanticism (Dorothea Schlegel) and Naturalism (Elsa Bernstein, pseud. Ernst Rosmer); Women translators in the 18th and 19th centuries; Curriculum and course development with an emphasis on the advanced learner and German business culture.

Francesco Ciabattoni, Ph.D.

Department of Italian

Faculty in Residence, Spring 2022

Francesco Ciabattoni is a specialist in medieval Italian literature. He received his Laurea in Lettere from the Università degli Studi di Torino and his PhD in Italian Studies from The Johns Hopkins University. Dr Ciabattoni’s research focus lies on Dante and the middle ages, the twentieth century short story and the interplay of music and literature. He has published articles on Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio, a book on the role of music in the Comedy (Dante’s Journey to Polyphony, University of Toronto Press, 2010) and edited volumes on Primo Levi and Italian medieval literature. He has also published poems on Gradiva and a collection of lyrics titled Paradosso terrestre (Rome: Il filo 2008).

Past Faculty

Anna Maria Mayda, Ph.D.

Department of Economics

Faculty in Residence, Spring 2020

Anna Maria Mayda is an Associate Professor of Economics in the School of Foreign Service and Department of Economics at Georgetown University. Her research focuses on International Trade, Political Economy and International Migration. She is a Research Fellow of CEPR, CReaM, and IZA. She obtained her PhD in Economics from Harvard University and her Laurea in Economics from the Università di Roma, La Sapienza.

Kathyrn Temple, J.D., Ph.D

Department of English

Faculty in Residence, Fall 2019

Kathryn Temple is an associate professor of English and former chair of the English Department. She studies the history of emotion, particularly the relationship between institutional change and emotions in legal contexts. She has written about anger, desire, sadness, happiness, and embarrassment, among other emotions. Her most recent book, Loving Justice: Legal Emotions in William Blackstone’s England (forthcoming 2019, NYU Press), examines how emotions undergird our understanding of Anglo-American legal institutions. The recipient of NEH, ACLS, Mellon and ARC fellowships, she has developed a number of initiatives oriented towards reinventing the humanities.

Laura Benedetti, Ph.D.

Department of Italian

Spring 2019

Laura Benedetti holds the Laura and Gaetano De Sole Professorship of Contemporary Italian Culture at Georgetown University, where she served as Department Chair and Director of the Italian Summer Program. Her articles span seven hundred years, from Boccaccio to Elena Ferrante. She is also the author of several volumes, including La sconfitta di Diana. Un percorso per la Gerusalemme liberata, The Tigress in the Snow: Motherhood and Literature in 20th-Century Italy, the edition and English translation of Lucrezia Marinella’s Exhortations to Women and to Others If They Please, and the novels Un paese di carta and Secondo piano. She was Guest of Honor at the annual meeting of the American Association of Italian Studies (2016), as well as the recipient of the Flaiano International Prize for Italian Studies (2008).

Chester Gillis, Ph.D.

Department of Theology

Fall 2018

Chester Gillis, Professor in the Department of Theology, served as Dean of Georgetown College from 2008-2017. Dr. Gillis also served as chair of the Department of Theology from 2001 to 2006, core faculty of the Liberal Studies Program from 1998 to 2008, and director of the Doctorate of Liberal Studies Program from 2006 to 2008. He is an expert on the U.S. Catholic Church, the history of Catholicism, and the papacy, including Pope Benedict XVI. His other areas of expertise include interfaith dialogue and religious pluralism. He is the author of Roman Catholicism in America, Pluralism: A New Paradigm for Theology, A Question of Final Belief, Catholic Faith in America, and he is the editor of The Political Papacy.

Hans Noel, Ph.D.

Department of Government

Spring 2018

Hans Noel is an associate professor in the Department of Government. His research is on political coalitions, political parties and ideology. He is the author of Political Ideologies and Political Parties in America, and a co-author of The Party Decides: Presidential Nominations Before and After Reform. He is interested in the way that a focus on competing policy demands helps explain political parties, coalition building and coordination. Noel blogs on political parties and related issues at Mischiefs of Faction.

Noel teaches on parties, elections, political history and political methodology.

Noel was a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan from 2008 to 2010. Before coming to Georgetown, Noel was a fellow in the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He received his Ph.D. in 2006 from UCLA. From 1994 to 1997, Noel worked for a daily newspaper in Virginia. He is the co-director/co-producer of the award-winning feature film “The Rest of Your Life.”

Michael J. Collins, Ph.D.

Department of English

Fall 2017

Michael J. Collins is Professor in the Department of English. He is an expert on Shakespeare; British theatre since 1950; Anglo-Welsh poetry. Articles on Shakespeare (focus on performance and pedagogy), Anglo-Welsh poetry, and American literature. He earned his Ph.D. and M.A. from New York University and his B.A. from Fordham College. His written publications include: Editor, Shakespeare’s Sweet Thunder: Essays on the Early Comedies (Delaware, 1997).

Mark Kauppi, Ph.D.

School of Foreign Service

Spring 2017

Mark Kauppi has been an associate adjunct professor with the School of Foreign Service since 2000. He has taught and published on a wide range of topics to include the relevancy of Thucydides and Machiavelli to contemporary national security issues, international relations theory, and the role of intelligence in the policymaking process. He is co-author of The Global Philosophers: World Politics in Western Thought (Lexington, 1992), International Relations Theory (Pearson, 5th ed., 2011), and International Relations and World Politics: Security, Economy, Identity (Pearson, 5th ed., 2012).

Francesco Ciabattoni, Ph.D.

Department of Italian

Fall 2016

Francesco Ciabattoni is a specialist in medieval Italian literature. He received his Laurea in Lettere from the Università degli Studi di Torino and his PhD in Italian Studies from The Johns Hopkins University. Dr Ciabattoni’s research focus lies on Dante and the middle ages, the twentieth century short story and the interplay of music and literature. He has published articles on Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio, a book on the role of music in the Comedy (Dante’s Journey to Polyphony, University of Toronto Press, 2010) and edited volumes on Primo Levi and Italian medieval literature. He has also published poems on Gradiva and a collection of lyrics titled Paradosso terrestre (Rome: Il filo 2008).

Gianni Cicali, Ph.D.

Department of Italian

Spring 2016

Gianni Cicali is a specialist in History of Italian Theater. He holds an Italian “laurea,” (B.A.) and doctoral degrees from both Italy (Università di Firenze) and Canada (University of Toronto). His interests focus on Italian theater from the 15th to the 20th century; Italian Opera and librettists; history of Italian actors, actresses and singers; theater through archive documents; politics and Italian drama; the relations between the performing and the fine arts; the commedia dell’Arte; 18th-century Neapolitan theater; Pietro Trinchera (Naples 1702-1755); 15th and 18th-century religious theater; cinema. Dr. Cicali created and offered at Georgetown several new courses in Italian. He explores, with his students, fundamental topics of Italian theater and Italian culture and society, such as the relations between theater, politics, arts and religion; or the Italian ‘invention’ and international success of the Opera and the multifaceted economic, performing and artistic aspects of that important phenomenon. He also designed and teaches courses on sexuality, politics and madness in Italian literature, theater and cinema, and he regularly gives courses on Advanced Italian language and culture.

Susan Terrio, Ph.D.

Department of Anthropology

Fall 2015

Susan Terrio is Professor of Anthropology and French Studies at Georgetown University. She holds a joint appointment in the Department of Anthropology and the Department of French. She is the inaugural chair of the Anthropology Department following its separation from the Department of Sociology in the fall of 2008. She holds a dual doctorate from the Department of Anthropology and the Institute for French Studies at New York University and spent a year of doctoral study at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris. She chaired the interdisciplinary Culture and Politics major within the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown for four years before accepting a residential fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University in 2005-2006. Her areas of expertise include the cultural anthropology of contemporary France and Western Europe and the social and cultural history of France since the revolution of 1789. Specific interests center on social class and educational systems, craft and commoditization, food and foodways, migration and the law, national identities and ideologies, youth culture and conflict, juvenile delinquency and its treatment within the French and US systems of juvenile justice.

Terrence Reynolds, Ph.D.

Department of Theology

Spring 2015

Terrence Reynolds is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Theology Department at Georgetown University. He was born in New York City and received degrees from Queens College (B.A.), Concordia Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Princeton Theological Seminary (Th.M.), and Ph.D. from Brown University. Before coming to Georgetown in 1991, he taught at Brown, Connecticut College, and the United States Coast Guard Academy. His research interests focused initially on the thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but are now concentrated on the meaning, truth, and justification of moral claims, as well as the ways in which faith-based convictions can play a role in the public square.


In addition to serving as Chair of the Main Campus Executive Faculty (2001-2005 and 2009- present), Reynolds has been the Chair of the Department of Theology since 2006, the Chair of the Core Faculty of the Liberal Studies Program (2002-present), and the Director of Doctoral Studies in the Liberal Studies Program. He was also the grateful recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence in the Liberal Studies Program, the College Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, The Fund for American Studies Professor of the Year Award, and the national Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs Annual Faculty Award.


Dr. Reynolds’s teaching interests lie in the areas of ethical theory and moral issues, the intersections between psychology and religious faith, Enlightenment philosophy and theology, and the thought of Søren Kierkegaard.

Current & Past Faculty in Residence Courses

ITAL-383 Dante’s Afterlife in Popular Culture (2022)

This course has a twofold goal: reading selected cantos from Dante’s Divine Comedy and exploring its rewritings and adaptations in popular culture including literature, comics, cinema, rock/pop songs, television and the visual arts. The course entertains the question of why and how Dante’s Divine Comedy, written seven-hundred years ago, still continues to inspire creative artists in all fields of the arts and beyond. From Milton to Dan Brown and Matthew Pearl, from Salvador Dali to Sandow Birk and Go Nagai, and from Chaucer to David Fincher, artists have adapted and referenced the Divine Comedy as the most relevant text depicting afterlife in all ages and cultures. This course combines close readings of selected passages from Dante’s masterpiece with their analyses vis-à-vis with the many texts, songs, video games, traditional and graphic novels and movies which it has inspired. Some of the course’s investigative questions include: how does the original text address issues that are still relevant to today’s society and individuals? How do adaptations and rewritings of Dante’s Commedia address issues current to our own world that were not addressed or were addressed differently in the original text? How is Dante still good for you today?

GERM-043 Witches in History, Literature, and Film (2021)

The course investigates what is clearly one of the most disturbing and inexplicable occurrences in human history. Unlike the Holocaust, to which the witch hunts are frequently compared, the persecution of witches cannot be viewed as a relatively brief and unusually violent historical anomaly, since it continued over several hundred years; they cannot be explained in the context of national specificity since they spanned almost the entire European continent and migrated to early America; nor can these events be blamed on any single “madman”. As such then, witch persecution defies simplistic explanations and thus lends itself particularly well to the kinds of investigation this course intends.

CPLT-180 Lure of Italy: Italy in European Travel Literature (2021)

This course explores the unique attraction that Italy has held for those hailing from lands north of the Alps over the past centuries. In particular, the course focuses on how this “spell of Italy” is reflected in travel writing by German, British, and French writers, with an emphasis on the German tradition. Travel literature, in this context, is understood broadly to encompass a variety of genres from letters, travel accounts, and guidebooks to fictional works such as novels, novellas, and poems. Given that travel writing is inherently transcultural and transnational, the course lends itself to comparative analyses of such central issues as national identity, cultural practices, gender, and class in European travel literature.

 ECON-230 From Emigration to Immigration: the Italian Case (2020)

In this course students will examine economic theories on the determinants and impacts of international and internal migration. They will explore these issues from the view of an origin country and of a destination country, with an emphasis on the political economy implications of emigration and immigration.

ENGL-273 Humanities Encounters (2019)

This course explores the value and future of the humanities, asking questions both about their intrinsic value and their value for approaching global and local problems. How does the study of the humanities in college courses relate to what is called “the engaged humanities” or to the “public humanities”? The course confronts such issues head-on, offering students a grounding in approaches, both old and new, to the humanities and to the way humanities-trained students can contribute towards solving the real-world problems that accompany climate change, cultural conflict, and the development of artificial intelligence. We begin with Petrarch (“the first great humanist”) and end with Primo Levi and Elena Ferrante, supplemented by portions of A Cyborg Manifesto (1991) by Donna Haraway and The Posthuman (2013) by Rosi Braidotti, among other readings. Does the study of the humanities create better human beings? Are there specific humanities methodologies that can better the world? Who are the humanities meant for? Why are the humanities believed essential to democracy? Is there room for the humanities in a posthuman world in which technology divides the haves from the have-nots, the initiates from the uninitiated? And, finally, how does the study of the humanities encourage us to explore our own encounters with difference, with new readings, and with new ideas?

IPOL-210 Borders and Security Concerns (2019)

This is an innovative on-line course that will utilize a multidisciplinary approach to explore the meaning and experience of borders and related security concerns throughout the world.  We will analyze historical and modern forces that shape borders, and then study how borders affect the economic, social, and political fabric of countries. This class will focus on border issues in the EU, but we will also look at borders throughout the world.

ITAL-350 The Other Renaissance. Women Writers & Artists (2019)

“Did women have a Renaissance?” Joan Kelly polemically asked in 1977, only to answer in the negative: “there was no ‘renaissance’ for women, at least not during the Renaissance.” The extraordinary amount of scholarship conducted in last forty years, however, allows us to provide a more nuanced answer. While women’s status did not improve dramatically during the Renaissance, it is now clear that many factors—from the development of the printed press to the rediscovery of Plato—led to a more positive view of women’s role in society and of their very nature. One particularly fascinating aspect of this phenomenon is the unprecedented emergence of women writers, a distinctive Italian feature. Women also explored other forms of creativity and affirmed themselves as composers, painters, and actresses.

In this course you will explore some of the protagonists of this extraordinary season, from the humanists of the late fifteenth century—such as Isotta Nogarola and Cassandra Fedele—to Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia who in 1678 became the first woman in the world to receive a university degree.

THEO-142 The Papacy (2018)

In this course, you will examine the papacy’s relation to the church and the world and explore its influence in Italy. You will discover ecclesial politics inside and outside of Italy, the papacy’s international reach and influence, its checkered history, and its relevance today. Studying the papacy involves theology, history, sociology, and politics. The relationship between Italy and the papacy has a long history, even though the pope was not always located in Rome. During some periods, the pope was a minor player in church affairs but for most of its history, the papacy has played a key role in culture, religion, the arts, and politics. The pope leads the Roman Catholic Church, but also commands attention and respect from the rest of the world, religious or not. The course will include studying the Holy See’s political and diplomatic structure, its relation to world affairs, its influence on national church communities, in particular, the United States, and the figures who have occupied the papal office, beginning with Saint Peter until Pope Francis today.

GOVT-282 Italian Politics in Comparative Perspective Since 1796 (2018)

The history of Italy since 1796 provides fascinating examples of a diverse set of issues and phenomena at the heart of politics, including state formation, revolution, war, fascism, empire, democracy, political parties and coalitions, welfare capitalism, and social movements. This course will explore Italian history from the perspective of comparative political science, using the case of Italy to help students understand more general political dynamics. The course will alternate sessions discussing readings on general political phenomena with sessions exploring the corresponding periods or events in Italian history. The course would not attempt any systematic integration of Italian political history with Italian cultural or intellectual history, but it will give students flexibility to write papers on how these or other dimensions of history relate to Italian politics. The major course assignment, in addition to readings, discussions, and short papers on the weekly readings, will be a 15-page research paper on Italian politics, whether contemporary or historical.

ENGL-119 Shakespeare in Italy (2017)

The course will focus on five plays by Shakespeare set in Italy.  While it will consider the degree to which the setting in Italy (or Rome) impacts our understanding of the play, it will also acknowledge that these plays were written not to portray the history and culture of Italy, but to be performed on a stage for an audience in Shakespeare’s London.

Students will be asked to read and discuss the plays carefully, to write four papers on assigned topics, and to perform excerpts from them during the semester.  The course will conclude with a performance by the students of a longer extract from a play by Shakespeare for the faculty, the staff, and their classmates at the Villa.

IPOL-316 The Italian Wars: Causes, Conduct, and Consequences (2017)

The change from medieval to modern methods in the art of war is closely related to the general transformation of European civilization during the Renaissance. The revival of interest in ancient history and literature had a distinct effect on military theory and practice. This course focuses on the events, trends, and personalities of the Italian Wars (such as Niccolo Machiavelli, Cesare Borgia, Caterina Sforza) to illustrate the broader theoretical and conceptual approaches designed to understand war in all of its manifestations. Utilized as an extended case study, the Italian Wars will be examined through an interdisciplinary prism. A recurrent point of discussion will be the extent to which these Renaissance wars provide insight into contemporary conflicts and issues.

ITAL-372 Dante and the Medieval Mind in Florence (2016)

This course covers Dante’s works from his early Rime and Vita Nuova to the Divine Comedy. Dante wrote his youthful lyrics in Florence, dialoguing with other local poets such as Guido Cavalcanti, Lapo Gianni, Dino Frescobaldi and Cino da Pistoia, while he composed his masterpiece during his exile from his native city of Florence. In his poetry he discusses topics of love, philosophy and politics within a Florentine, Italian and European scope. This course will devote special attention to the history, art and politics of Florence and Tuscany in its medieval European context. A journey of self-discovery, Dante’s Divine Comedy offers a remarkable panorama of the late Middle Ages through one man’s poetic vision of the afterlife. However, we continue to read and study the poem not only to learn about the thought and culture of medieval and early modern Europe but also because many of the philosophical and moral issues confronting Dante and his age are no less important to individuals and societies today. Personal and civic responsibilities, governmental accountability, church-state relations, economics and social justice, literary and artistic influences, benefits and limitations of interdisciplinarity ‐‐ these are some of the themes that will frame our discussion of the Divine Comedy. This course, specifically refashioned for the students at Villa Le Balze, represents a unique opportunity for a study of Dante’s poetry in and around the places where it was set.

ITAL-373 Italian Actors and Actresses (2016)

Italian actors and actresses: art, profession and migration. From the 16th to the 18th century many Italian actors and actresses (both theater and opera performers) traveled, or migrated to different European countries (and royal courts). This is an important phenomenon, not very well known or studied, of migration for work and cultural cross-­pollination that will provide our students a deeper understanding of the migration phenomenon. The course will also focus on an historic and sociological overview of many European countries and royal courts of the time.

An examination of the role of travel in our lives and culture will thus provide yet another critical frame for the understanding of the complexity of experience in the early modern period. This part of the course will be supported by images of maps, routes, postal services etc. of Renaissance and the Baroque Europe. The development of modern ways of communication is one of the keys to understand the cultural movements in Europe between the 16th and the 18th century. A collateral benefit will be  that our students, who will themselves be “travelers” to and in Italy, will be able to examine and critique their own travel experience during the course of the semester.

The course will also explore how these professional skills migrated into texts, and how texts, in the absence of films or recordings, represent sometimes the only source we have to rediscover the professional skills of the early modern performers. The course will include the travel books written by several travelers on the so called Grand Tour.

ANTH-212 Food and Culture (2015)

Looking at cross-cultural examples, Food and Culture focuses on the link between culture and food–the practices, beliefs, and mythologies that surround the production, exchange and consumption of food now and in the past. The first part centers on what we eat, how we eat, and with whom we eat. The course examines the social and symbolic uses of food and introduces key anthropological concepts such as the meal; regional, national and haute cuisine; and the circulation, sharing, and refusal of food. We study the connection of food to class structures and social reproduction as well as the political economy of food in global markets. The second part of the course focuses on the history of food in Italy and Tuscany from the Renaissance to the present and chronicles the emergence of distinctively “Italian” foods such as pasta, olive oil, and pizza. The third part centers on regional food styles and links changes in family structures and gender relations to evolving food practices in Tuscany. It considers current food markets, consumer movements, and the politics of cultural heritage. Assigned readings include three books and a number of articles. Class readings are supplemented with a Renaissance meal in Florence, a visit to a Florentine chocolatier, a day trip to Perugia, and a guest lecture on the slow food movement in Italy and France.

THEO-013 Martin Luther and the Roost of Reformation (2015)

The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to some of the fundamental, cultural, moral, and theological issues that gave rise to the Protestant Reformation and, in particular, the concerns that were central to the reforming thought of Martin Luther. The course begins with an examination of the cultural factors that shaped the Reformation movement, including the impact of Renaissance humanism, and individualism, the nationalistic fervor that was moving across Europe, the moral and spiritual corruption of the Roman Catholic Church which was well chronicled by friend and foe alike, the rise in education and the use of print to promulgate dissent, and the theological misgivings that arose with the respect to the practice of indulgences, the efficacy of the Sacraments, the breakdown of Thomas Aquinas’s medieval synthesis, and the widespread desire to “restore” the Church.

Next the course turns to the reforming work of Martin Luther. It explores his early trials of faith and his objections to the theology and practice of the Roman Catholic Church that ultimately resulted in his excommunication. The Church’s response to Luther is also analyzed in detail, highlighting its objections to his insistence on sola fide, sola gratia, and sola scriptura, which represented the foundations of his theological reform.

LING-283 Language and Society (2014)

In this course, we will investigate how language shapes and is shaped by society. We will range over many levels of social organization (from nation to neighborhood to individual) as well as many levels of language organization (from pronunciations to conversations to entire languages). We will also consider how sociolinguistic knowledge can be applied to areas such as language policy and planning (including issues pertaining to societal bi- and multilingualism and language endangerment), languages and dialects in education (e.g. the use of students’ home dialects in the classroom), and language and the law (e.g. conducting forensic linguistic analysis of language evidence such as ransom notes, threatening emails and text messages). Throughout the course, we will discuss sociolinguistic issues that are relevant in the Italian context, for example, language and dialect variation (and homogenization), ethnicity based language use (including code-switching), and the interrelation between linguistic and cultural identity.

ENGL-275 Italy in Anglo-American Literature and Culture (2013)

As anyone familiar with Shakespeare knows, Italy has long occupied a privileged place in the work of Anglophone writers. This course will examine the particular cultural fascination with Italy—a fascination that has, at once, aesthetic, religious/spiritual, erotic, and political dimensions—during the last two centuries. As many have noted, with the rise of the Grand Tour as coming-of-age ritual for wealthy British and American travelers, and especially with the emergence of Romanticism, Italy came to figure in a number of important works by British and American writers as resonant setting and as site of aesthetic, emotional, spiritual, and/or erotic “awakening” and transformation. In particular, for Anglo-American writers from largely Protestant and increasingly urban, industrial societies, Italy came to be associated with a number of qualities—“unspoiled” natural beauty and the pastoral ideal, aesthetic grandeur and experience, aristocratic leisure, emotional warmth and romantic passion, unrestrained sensuality and eroticism—that were understood as threatened and/or proscribed due to the dictates of economic and historical “progress.” For these writers, Italy was especially evocative as literary setting because of the existence of physical sites and landmarks–ruins, monuments, churches, as well as aesthetic artifacts–from the Classical era to the Renaissance and beyond; it was seen to preserve, both architecturally and culturally, the presence of the past. At the same time, and for some Anglo-American writers in particular, Italy evoked specific political aspirations, fantasies, and fears: about republicanism, empire (and the possibility of imperial decline), and (especially during and after the Risorgimento) revolution.

In tracing these complex meanings, we will examine representations of Italy and Italians in a variety of poems, novels, travel narratives, autobiographical texts, and films; we will supplement those works with selected critical and historical essays by important scholars in order to help us identify the different aspects of what scholars have called the “Italy myth.” We will conclude by contrasting Anglo-American representations of Italy with depictions of Italian-Americans in the early-20th-C (during the great wave of Italian immigration to the U. S.) and a discussion of an Italian-American immigrant text, a kind of reverse-migration narrative that will enrich students’ understanding of both “Italy” and “travel” during the period in question.