Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Italian Studies


Italian Studies 398. Experimental Courses

Food and Fantasy: Inside Italy's Myth

This course will deconstruct the myth of “Italian food” by exploring the paradoxical nature of Italy’s relationship with food, which, over the centuries, has been marked by hunger and excess, by simplicity and art. We will study food in Italian culture as literary and artistic symbol, as culinary history, as daily ritual, as geographical difference, as political issue, as gendered sign. Readings will be drawn from literature, art manifestos, cookbooks, and essays. Discussions will include the origins and roles of certain ingredients, DOP designations, the Mediterranean Diet, the Slow Food movement, Italian American variations, and the effects of immigration and globalization on contemporary Italian eating patterns.

Conducted in Italian.

Prerequisite: Italian 200 or permission of the instructor.


Love and Marriage

This course explores the evolution of the representation of love and marriage in modern Italian literature and cinema. Through the close reading of a diverse sample of "high" and popular culture, from 19th century romantic novels to 20th century horror films, we will examine the cultural and gender anxiety produced y urbanization process, social change and women's emancipation in modern Italy. Taught in Italian.


Italy and the Transnational Experience

What has propelled Italians to leave Italy over the generations, such as in the great migration of 1880-1920 when over 4 million Italians came to the U.S.? What relationship did these immigrants maintain with their language, their country of origin and their families there? What cultural and intergenerational challenges did they face in the U.S. and in other countries where they settled?

It is estimated that there are now over 4 million immigrants living in Italy. What experiences do immigrants from countries in Central Europe and Africa, for example, have of Italy? What does it mean to be considered an “extracomunitarian”?

This course undertakes an examination of some key contemporary migration experiences through an analysis of literary texts and discussion of sociological, historical and linguistic phenomena.
(The course is conducted in Italian, but some readings may be in English.)