ITALG012 - Contemporary Italian Cultures

Value: 30 credits

Tutor: Dr Beatrice Sica, Dr Cristina Massaccesi and Dr Lucia Rinaldi

Teaching structure: lectures and seminars

Assessment: One 6,000 word essay. Weighting: 20% of the total marks for the degree.

Module Description:

This multidisciplinary module looks at Italian cultural history and visual culture of the 20th and 21st centuries. Focusing on three iconic images - the knight, the diva, and the super- and anti-hero -- the module investigates how cultural myths have been created, received, transmitted, transformed, appropriated and readapted through literature, art, comics, cinema, and television, and how they have shaped political, social and cultural debates in Italy. The work for various authors and artists, the birth of different cultural movements, the influence of opposing political powers in twentieth-century Italy, as well as issues of iconicity, interdisciplinarity, and the making and branding of a national culture, will be explored.


  • Week 1: Introduction to the module;
  • Week 2: The Knight [1]: Futurism, Art, Science, and War;
  • Week 3: The Knight [2]: Fascism: Propaganda, Culture and Politics;
  • Week 4: The Knight [3]: The Postwar Era: Italo Calvino, Movies, and TV Commercials;
  • Week 5: The Diva [1]: Divismo and Fascism;
  • Week 6: The Diva [2]: Media Revolution in the Postwar Era;
  • Week 7: The Diva [3]: Television Culture in Berlusconi Years;
  • Week 8: The Hero [1]: Super-Heroes: Italian Comics and the Fascist Regime
  • Week 9: The Hero [2]: From the Super- to the Anti-Hero: Italian ComicsĀ  between Mainstream and Underground;
  • Week 10:The Hero [3]: Anti-Hero/es: Italian Comics for the New Millenium.

Handouts and audiovisual material will be provided in class and on Moodle.