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Fascism, Futurism, and Feminism: Forces of Change in 20th-Century Italy
ITAL 240
Fall 2014
Section: 01  

This course investigates three forces at work in Italy in the first half of the 20th century. We explore Italian fascism, futurism, and feminism through a variety of media, including literary, cinematic, and artistic expressions, and will consider each movement in its sociohistorical context. Marking its centennial, World War I and Italy's engagement with it will also offer an important chapter for study. Some of the questions we will contemplate: How did the radical annihilation of standard mores and culture proposed by the futurists help pave the way for Italian fascism? How did feminism in the first half of the century offer examples of resistance to both fascism and futurism? The texts we will consider include the paintings, sculpture, manifestos, and poetry of futurism; Sibilla Aleramo's early feminist novel Una donna, as well as the writings of other Italian feminists resistant to the ultraviolence and misogyny of futurism and the instrumentalization of gender under Italian fascism. We explore similarly varied texts representative of the fascist era: examples of rationalist architecture and urban planning; Alberto Moravia's novel of social mores during fascism, Gli indifferenti; selections from Antonio Gramsci's political prisoner of the regime, Quaderni del carcere and Lettere dal carcere; and at least one film made under the conditions (economic, industrial, and propagandistic) of fascism. The class concludes with examination of Alba de Cespedes's runaway bestselling melodrama from 1938, Nessuno torna indietro. Our goal is an understanding of the ideological dis/connections between fascism, futurism, and feminism in the Italian collective unconscious in a historical juncture of profound social, economic, and political transformations. By focusing on the interconnections of these forces, we strive for a panoramic understanding of Italy as it moved to embrace modernity in the first half of the last century.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA RLAN
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: ITAL222 OR ITAL112
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ITST)(RMST)
Past Enrollment Probability: 75% - 89%

Last Updated on AUG-04-2015
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