Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

LITR 161 Introduction to Italian Culture

Summer 2016 - Session I

LITR 161 Introduction to Italian Culture


John Felice Rome Center

Summer 2016

Dr. Cristina Lombardi-Diop, Ph.D.

Meetings: T/Th 9:00am-12:20pm

Office hours: T/Th 1:30-2:30pm






This course introduces students to the long cultural history of Italy from the Roman period and its legacy to contemporary times. In studying various cultural phenomena thematically, onsite, and from the present perspective, the overall goal is to expose students to Italian food culture, leisure activities, and cinema in order to broaden their experience in Rome. In expanding their knowledge through reading and on site visits, students will understand how Italian culture transcended the strict confines of its historical origin to become a source of universal values and inspiration.


Required Textbooks

Killinger, Charles L. Culture and Customs of Italy. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005.



Sprezzatura: 50 Ways Italian Genius Shaped the World. Edited by Peter D’Epiro and Mary Desmond Pinkowish. Anchor Books, 2001. ISBN 978-0385720199





Required activities

3 or 4 onsite lessons are a required and fun part of this course! Scheduled outings include field trips to a Roman archeological site, the iconic monument Il Vittoriano, the Roman cinema studios, and a bakery or pasta-making facility. 


Course Objectives

1. Student will learn to identify major themes and patterns in the historical genealogy of Italian cultural phenomena and be able to link their past history to contemporary times.

2. Students will understand that Italy can be studied as both a unified culture and also as a collection of regions with differing traditions and cultural perspectives.

3. Students will consider the question of how to identify universal themes as they reflect on national cultural phenomena.



The course will comprise lectures, film screening, students’ presentations, and general class discussion. In order to do well in this course, this is the required work:


1.Completion of required reading before the class session for which it is assigned, and readiness to discuss the text in a thoughtful and well-considered manner.

2.Regular attendance, and informed participation. Poor attendance will adversely affect your final grade for the course.  Poor participation in class discussions and activities will also affect your grade negatively. The required onsite activities are considered part of your participation (20% of final grade)

3.Class presentations, guidelines TBA (20 % of final grade).

4.Two short papers (each four [4] pages maximum) that carefully analyze the assigned texts in response to questions set by the instructors. Hardcopies of papers are always due at the beginning of the class on the given date.  Electronic versions will be due on SAKAI by 5:00pm on the due date. Late papers without excuse will be penalized one full grade for each day they are late.  (30% of final grade, @15%each)

5.A closed-book, closed-notes final exam (two hours) on the date scheduled below. Please note that make-up final exams cannot be scheduled during the summer (30% of final grade)


Grading scale

The following scale is a guide to grading in this class.  If you have questions about your grade on a specific assignment, please see me individually.

A = 93-100                  A- = 90-92                  B+ = 87-89                  B = 83-86        B- = 80-82

C+ = 77-79                  C = 73-76                    C- = 70-72                  D+ = 67-69

D = 60-66                    F = below 60




Reporting absences and late or missed work

In order for your absence to be excused, I will need a medical notification of illness, or any notification justifying an emergency.



 I will do my best to reply to emails sent during business hours M-F within 9am – 5pm.  Emails sent after 6 pm will be considered received the next business day.  I will not answer emails on the weekend. The best way to communicate with me extensively is always in person during my office hours or by making an appointment.



This course will be using Sakai.  Students are required to check the SAKAI site on a regular basis and are responsible for assignments posted there.




Computer & Internet Use in the Classroom

Laptop or other computer use is not permitted during lecture. Likewise, cell phone use of any kind is not permitted during class time. This includes sending and reading of text messages. All cellphones brought into the class room must be set to silent and put away. In the case of a personal emergency, students should quietly leave the classroom. There may be times when you will be asked to bring your laptop to class for various exercises/lessons.  Use of the internet is not permitted unless specifically directed by the instructor.  This includes checking of email and use of instant messengers.


Academic Honesty

In addition to the Loyola University Chicago Academic Integrity policy outlined at http://www.luc.edu/academics/catalog/undergrad/reg_academicintegrity.shtml , the following apply:

1)      Students may not ask friends or relatives to complete their assignments.

2)      Students may not recycle their own or other people’s work.

3)      Students must explicitly cite any material that has been taken from the Internet or other sources.

Please note that any instance of Academic Dishonesty will, at a minimum, result in a grade of zero (0) for the assignment or exam in question.  A pattern of failure to comply with standards of Academic Honesty will result in a failing grade for the course, and more serious penalties if they are warranted.  College rules require that all instances of Academic Dishonesty must be reported to the departmental Chairperson and to the Dean’s Office; they shall become part of the student’s permanent record.



Students with documented disabilities who wish to discuss academic accommodations should contact me the first week of class, as well as the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities.


Food & Drink

Drinks in sealable containers are permitted in the classroom.  Food is not to be eaten during class unless required for a medical condition.








Week 1




Intro to the course:


The Land and Its Influence (Killinger, 1-3)

Regions and Regional Identities (Killinger, 3-14)

Film Screening TBA



Activities on regional identities: http://understandingitaly.com/regions.html

What Makes the Italians? (Killinger, 14-16)


Week 2


Rome and its Founding (Killinger, 16-17)

Republican Rome (Killinger, 18-20)

The Roman Republic (Sprezzatura, Ch. 2)

The Romans as Master Builders of the Ancient World (Sprezzatura, Ch. 5)


Field Trip to Roman site TBA

Field Trip to Roman site TBA

Week 3


The History: Modern Italy (Killinger, 23-36)

The History: from Unification to Present (Killinger, 36-40)

Giuseppe Garibaldi: A United Italy Emerges (Sprezzatura, Ch. 42)



Field Trip to Vittoriano

Field Trip to Vittoriano

Week 4




Saints’ Days, Public Holidays, and Vacation (Killinger, 91-106)



Italian Cooking (Killinger, 106-118)


Field Trip to Pastificio TBA

Field Trip to Pastificio TBA

Week 5


Cinema and Mass Media (Killinger, 199-219)

Scenes from My Voyage to Italy

Field Trip to Cinecittà

Field Trip to Cinecittà



Conclusion and Review for final exam


Final Exam TBA



This schedule may be subject to changes