Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

SOCL 280 ITALY TODAY Fall 2012

Fall 2012

Period: Fall Semester 2012                             Professor: Sarah F. Maclaren Ph.D

Lessons: Wednesday                                      E-mail: smaclar@luc.edu; sar.maclaren@gmail.com

Time: 10a.m.-12.30 p.m.                                 Office hours: by appointment


Course description:

            We will study Italy from a sociological, cultural, political and anthropological viewpoint, in order to gain an overview of a country which has been a nation for just over one hundred years, marks considerable regional disparities, and has undergone great social and cultural changes since the end of World War II. The course is divided into two parts. We will begin by studying the dramatic social, political, economic and cultural transformations which turned Italy into one of world's leading industrial democracies, starting from the post-war reconstruction, the industrialization, the economic miracle of the 1950s and 1960s, and the great internal migration, to the social movements from 1968 to 1980, to the formation of a post-industrial society. We will see how Italy has achieved a high cultural profile and a level of material prosperity that have generated a post-modern, mass consumer and globalized society. Then, adopting an interdisciplinary focus, we will examine diverse sociological and cultural aspects of contemporary Italy such as Catholicism, gender identities, the role of the family, emigration and immigration, stereotypes and regional identities, media and material culture, etc.


Knowledge Area satisfied: Societal and cultural knowledge

Skills Developed: Critical Thinking Skills and Dispositions


Learning Outcomes:

Knowledge Area (Societal and Cultural Knowledge):

At the end of the semester, students should be able to:

            1. Demonstrate an understanding of Italy's social, cultural, political and economic history since the end of World War II

            2. Demonstrate an understanding of the processes and components of Italian society and culture

            3. Demonstrate an understanding of differences of class, gender, and race in Italy

            4. Demonstrate an awareness that Italian values and behaviour, lifestyles and consumption patterns are influenced by specific factors and have changed substantially over the last 60 years

            5. Demonstrate an understanding that specific social and cultural traits, such as religion, family, gender, regionalism, stereotypes are influenced by context, culture and time.

            6. Demonstrate an understanding of how the Italian individual self concepts stems from the familial, societal, and cultural contexts in which Italians develop.


Skills (Critical Thinking Skills and Dispositions):

At the end of the semester, students should be able to:

            1. Demonstrate effective critical thinking skills and dispositions.


You will learn to think critically about contemporary Italian society and the transformation of values, behavior, gender relationships and lifestyles. You will learn to analyze Italy's specific cultural traits from the context and time in which they developed. You will learn to think critically about issues such as stereotypes, regional identities, and diversity in the global world.





Learning Activities:


Course packet

Films and Documentaries:

Film and documentaries on Italy today will be watched and analyzed.


Discussion Leaders

Two students will lead the discussion each week. Each student will sign up to be discussion leader for at least two class periods. This means that these two people will be primarily responsible for facilitating the actual class discussion for that particular week using the questions set for the lessons.




Attendance and class participation:

            Students are strongly recommended to be present, as the course also addresses the social and cultural experience of being and living in Italy. After more than 2 absences, the grade drops. The assigned reading materials should be read before (not only after) the lessons as the grade on class participation depends on demonstrating that the texts have been studied and the discussions on the topics dealt with are highly encouraged and are an integral part of the course.

Students must take the examinations and tests when they are set, because make up sessions will not be given, except for very serious reasons and authorized by the Academic Dean.

Cheating or dishonesty of any kind on an examination will be penalized by an F (0 points).


Midterm exam:

            The midterm exam will include selected questions based on the assigned readings and topics covered in the first part of the course.


            There will be 1 test based on the topics and readings dealt with in the second part of the course.

Research project:

            The students are required to write a critical essay. This is NOT an opinion paper. Your paper must be supported by theory and/or substantive research that has been considered in class. The essay will be 10,000 characters long (including spaces, footnotes and bibliography) to be handed in no later than December 5.


Final exam:

            The final exam, question form, will be based on the topics covered in the second part of the course.

Grade distribution:

The final grade will be calculated as follows:

Attendance, assigned readings, class participation and conference summary            30%

Test 1                                                                                                                          10%

Midterm                                                                                                                      20%

Essay/Review                                                                                                              10%

Final examination                                                                                                        30%


Grading scale:

A = 95-100; A- = 92-94; B+ = 88-91; B = 84-87; B- = 80-83; C+ = 77-79; C = 73-76; C- = 70-72; D+ = 65-69; D = 60-64; F = 59 and below



            Students with disabilities who wish to discuss academic accommodations should contact me the first week of class, as well as the Learning Assistance Center.



Semester Schedule:




Week 1

Course presentation

Week 2

Italian Society 1945-1965

Week 3

Italian Society 1965-1980

Week 4

Italian Society 1980-Today

Week 5

Documentary on Italian Society

Week 6

New Immigration

Week 7

Midterm Exam

Week 8

Film/Documentary on migration

Week 9

Gender Relations

Week 10

Gender Relations

Week 11

Italian Catholicism Today

Week 12

Italian Catholicism Today

Week 13


Deadline for Research Project

Week 14

Final Exam