Spring 2021 Virtual Courses

Male student sitting at a table watching a computer with a webinar on it.

Undergraduate students at Georgetown will have the unique opportunity during the spring 2021 semester to take courses at Villa Le Balze through online instruction.

To read the course descriptions, click on the course name below:

The course is designed to complement the history course which covers a similar period and will begin with an introduction to classical and medieval art and architecture, followed by a focus on the innovations of Nicola and Giovanni Pisano in sculpture, and Giotto and Duccio in painting. These are the artists of the Proto-Renaissance, a renaissance before The Renaissance of the 15th century. As the 14th century moves in to the 15th century, we look at International Gothic, the style of the Italian and European courts. This style forms a contrast to that of Masaccio, creator of the new Renaissance style in painting.

We trace developments from 1401, the art historical date for the beginning of the Renaissance, and focus on the sculpture of Ghiberti and Donatello, and the architecture of Brunelleschi, creators of the new style in their respective fields. The 1430s sees the emergence of the so-called Second Renaissance style as exemplified by the art of Fra Angelico and Fra Filippo Lippi, which is then followed by the lyrical work of Botticelli. The course concludes with a focus on developments in the later 15th century.

The course introduces the student to the world of Italian Cinema. In the first part, the class will be analyzing Neorealism, a cinematic phenomenon that deeply influenced the ideological and aesthetic rules of film art. In the second part, we will concentrate on the films that mark the decline of Neorealism and the talent of “new” auteurs such as Fellini and Antonioni. The last part of the course will be devoted to cinema from the 1970’s to the present in order to pay attention to the latest developments of the Italian industry.

The course is a general analysis of post-war cinema and a parallel social history of this period using films as “decoded historical evidence”. Together with masterpieces such as “Open City” and “The Bicycle Thief” screenings will include films of the Italian directors of the “cinema d’autore” such as “The Conformist”, “Life is Beautiful” and the 2004 candidate for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, “I am not scared”. The class will also analyze the different aspects of “Film Making” both in Italian and the U.S. industry where I had the pleasure to work for many years in the Editing Department on Films such as “The Dead Poet Society” and “The Godfather Part 3”. Films in VHS or DVD format are dubbed in English or sub-titled.

The course will explore key issues in the field of EU environmental policy. The first part of the course will be dedicated to the analysis of how the EU works in the environmental field: EU environmental principles, legislative instruments, and the role of EU institutions in environmental policy-making. The second part of the course will look in detail at the different policy sectors of the EU environmental policy: sustainable development, water, air, noise, biodiversity and nature, soil and GMOs and waste. Particular attention will be devoted to the recent EU decisions on energy and climate change, namely, the European Energy Union and the 2030 Climate Change Targets in order to compare EU strategies with American and Chinese strategies. Finally, we will study EU Environmental Policy in a global context and how things may change under U.S. President Donald Trump.

The course is conceived as an historical and anthropological survey of the main events and issues that characterized Early Modern Italy. This period, which starts with the Black Death (1348) and goes until the Enlightenment (ca. 1700), will be considered as a consistent and unitary section of history in which the merging of classical heritage and religious creed produced many of the elements which shaped European Civilization. Attention will be broadly focused on culture, politics, and religion in order to grasp the elements of specificity of the Old Regime. Special emphasis will be put on the princely court, and on ideas, manners and art forms that were codified by this aristocratic environment, as one of the most relevant contribution of Renaissance and Baroque Italy to Western behavioral and cultural codes. Attention will also be put on the analysis of the lower ranks of Italian society, studying how the lower sectors of the Italian population (servants, prostitutes, and desperately poor) were excluded from political power. In this regard, the course will examine Italian mentality in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and how minorities were commonly persecuted in trial in which judges and courts were commonly legitimized by biased political forces.

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?