A Unique Chapman Opportunity: the Self-Designed Major in Italian Studies

An article by Elle Berti (English & Italian Studies student)

Last May, the Italian program at Chapman University marked an important point in its history by graduating the first two Italian Studies majors at this institution. Since then, the number of students in the program has continued to grow. But, the Italian major isn’t like the typical major in foreign languages –this one’s self-designed. The program is also different from other universities’ because at Chapman students select their own classes for the major.

Before this year, only French and Spanish majors were offered, and just a minor option was available for Italian students.

“I think it comes down to the numbers. Most students take French or Spanish in High School, so they probably figure that to be the easiest route to completing their language requirements at Chapman,” said Marco Saglimbeni, a recent graduate in Italian Studies and Biological Sciences.

Although there are fewer students in the Italian program, there are many classes, Study Abroad opportunities, and educational and social events put on by the Italian Program. The Italian minor requires 21 credits and a self-designed major needs a minimum of 27. Many students surpass the requirement for the minor, but, until fall of 2016, no one had attempted to create an Italian self-designed major.

Melissa Marino was the first. After studying abroad and taking Italian classes as an undergraduate student, Marino realized in her junior year that she was only six credits shy of the requirement for the major. With the help of Dr. Pacchioni, the Musco Chair in Italian Studies, she submitted her plan to the University, and it was approved.

“I feel that being the first to design an Italian major laid a framework and gave confidence to those who might be considering declaring an Italian major because it showed them that it very well can –and has– been done,” Marino said.

After Marino declared the major, her peer and friend Marco Saglimbeni did the same. The two graduated in May of 2017 as the first students to receive degrees in Italian Studies.

“Hopefully other students will see what Melissa and I did and realize that the self-designed major is both worth it and a great experience,” added Saglimbeni.

Since fall of 2016, three more students have declared the self-designed major, and over 40 plan to minor.

While there has been talk of creating a traditional major in Italian Studies, like that of French and Spanish, Dr. Pacchioni thinks the self-designed approach remains very effective. Because the degree is self-designed, all students must have another major first. Therefore, the Italian major enhances a student’s resume and provides more opportunities within their chosen career.

“I’d love to find an equilibrium between my two majors and work in advertising/marketing for an Italian company,” said Briana Salatino, a senior double majoring in Public Relations and Advertising and Italian Studies.

For more information about the Italian Studies program at Chapman and the self-designed major, visit the program’s webpage.

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Chapman Italian Studies faculty participate at the 2017 Italian Language Teachers’ Workshop at the University of Southern California

On Saturday, October 21, Chapman University Professors Francesca Paduano, Nadia Pettinger, Irma Booker, and Luisa Spanu attended the 2017 Italian Language Teachers’ Workshop at the University of Southern California.

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A Student’s Scholarly Success: Taking Fellini Around the World

Italian Studies minor, Paige Gulley, will attend the Undergraduate Awards conference in Dublin, Ireland on November 7th-9th. Her essay titled “The Soul Becomes Audible: Music in Fellini’s Films”, composed during Dr. Pacchioni’s seminar The World of Fellini’s Cinema, was ranked in the top 10% among 6,432 submissions received from around the world.

The Undergraduate Awards is the world’s leading undergraduate awards program which recognizes top undergraduate work, shares this work with a global audience and connects students across cultures and disciplines.

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Melissa Marino awarded prestigious scholarship for Master in Performing Arts Management at Teatro La Scala in Milan

Melissa Marino, who doubled majored in Theater Performance and Italian Studies in 2017, has been selected as the single recipient of the prestigious full-tuition scholarship from The National Italian American Foundation. The scholarship will support Melissa’s graduate work in Performing Arts Management at two of the world’s most renowned institutions: the Accademia Teatro alla Scala and Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business in Milan, Italy.

The Chapman Italian faculty and community express their sincere CONGRATULAZIONI to Melissa and AUGURI for a fruitful and memorable experience!


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A Successful First Italian Studies Annual Retreat and Reunion

Last Saturday the Italian Studies program held the Italian Studies Annual Retreat and Reunion on the Chapman campus. The event, scheduled as part of the University’s broader Homecoming Week celebrations, brought together faculty, alumni, current students and their families.

The program included presentations by Italian Studies faculty on their background and courses, testimonies by returning alumni, a workshop on study strategies for students of Italian by Dr. Paduano, and an overview of curricular and study abroad opportunities in the department by Dr. Pacchioni.

Thank you to all of those who attended and contributed to the Retreat, it was a joy to spend time with students and their parents, and to reconnect with our alumni!    

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Dr. Pacchioni joins Dr. Bondanella in the publication of major English language work on the history of Italian film

“This new edition of History of Italian Cinema is the most comprehensive, insightful and appealing book on the subject. Ideal for teaching a variety of courses and levels, and well-suited for a general reader, History of Italian Cinema will remain the gold standard in a crowded field for years to come.”
— John P. Welle, Professor of Italian and Concurrent Professor of Film, Television, and Theatre, University of Notre Dame, USA.

“Written in a clear and compelling style, balancing vast coverage with vivid sketches of individual films, this book provides an indispensable resource for scholars and film buffs eager to enrich their knowledge of this grand, and ever vital cinematic tradition.”
— Millicent Marcus, Professor and Chair, Department of Italian, Yale University, USA

“It will be an indispensable reference work for academics, students and general readers for years to come.”
— Stephen Gundle, Professor of Film and Television Studies, University of Warwick, UK

“Lavishly illustrated and with an up-to-date bibliography, this book is the essential guide to the subject for students, specialists and general readers.”
–David Forgacs, Zerilli-Marimò Professor of Contemporary Italian Studies, New York University, USA

A History of Italian Cinema
, 2nd edition is the much anticipated update from the author of the bestselling Italian Cinema – which has been published in four landmark editions and will celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2018. Building upon decades of research, Peter Bondanella and Federico Pacchioni reorganize the current History in order to keep the book fresh and responsive not only to the actual films being created in Italy in the twenty-first century but also to the rapidly changing priorities of Italian film studies and film scholars. The new edition brings the definitive history of the subject, from the birth of cinema to the present day, up to date with a revised filmography as well as more focused attention on the melodrama, the crime film, and the historical drama. The book is expanded to include a new generation of directors as well as to highlight themes such as gender issues, immigration, and media politics. Accessible, comprehensive, and heavily illustrated throughout, this is an essential purchase for any fan of Italian film.

Copies can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

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Join us for “Power of Pasta” with Sir Chef Bruno Serato

Anaheim’s White House Restaurant’s chef Sir Bruno Serato, founder of Caterina’s Club, and author of Power of Pasta will narrate how he came to blend his passion for the variegated cuisine of Italy with the effort of addressing the problem of child hunger around the world. The presentation is scheduled for Tuesday, September 19, 7-8:30 p.m. in Beckman Hall, Room 404.

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Fondazione Italia continues to offer Italian language courses for children and adults on the Chapman campus in Orange

Visit www.italianfoundation.org for information and to enroll.


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A Glimpse into the Chapman Immersion Experience in Taormina, Sicily

This summer the Italian Studies program at Chapman University launched its first travel class in Italy. A group of nine students from majors such as Communications, Italian, Creative Writing, Vocal Performance, and more spent three weeks living with families in Taormina, taking an intensive language course, and exploring the natural, historic and cultural landscape of the Eastern side of the island.

The course was designed in collaboration with Babilonia Center for Italian Studies, one of the most vibrant and forward looking educational and cultural programs active today in Sicily and whose mission is to promote the study of the Italian language and culture and Sicilian cultural heritage in particular. This year the course aimed at providing an overall introduction to Sicily, and the coast of Etna in particular, and to understand the genesis of myth and culture rooted in the experience of natural phenomena, as well as the critical chapters of the island’s historical development.

The ambitious curriculum includedexcursions to the Alcantara River Gorge, carved out of stratified lava along the fault line between the African and Eurasian plates; the fishing village of Acitrezza where long ago the magma columns emerging from the sea inspired ancient myths and stories tied to Odysseus and the Cyclops; and Mt. Etna itself, which dominates the landscape with its regal presence. We also visited the Greek and Roman archeological sites in ancient Syracuse, once the most powerful city in the Mediterranean and the rival of Athens; and the Roman villa of Casale in the agricultural heart of the island, famous for its extensive and eloquent mosaics. While in Taormina, students met with specialists of contemporary Sicily to discuss issues such as entrepreneurship and tradition, organized crime, immigration and emigration as well as explored the popular arts, religion, cuisine, and architecture of this remarkable town.

In addition to advancing linguistic skills and cultural knowledge, students returned to the States with an increased awareness of the island’s treasures and beauty as well as its enormous social and economic challenges. Chapman Italian Studies remains committed to sustaining today’s businesses and initiatives in Sicily that deserve and need to be supported and to designing ways in which faculty and students can endeavor to become a force for positive change in Italy through academic programs and community-service projects abroad.


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Dr. Pacchioni speaks at Italian Studies international symposium in Florence

This past week Dr. Pacchioni presented a paper titled “Weaving Present and Past in Contemporary Italian Drama” at the symposium Intersections: Italy in Music, Art, Literature, and Cinema in Florence.

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Integrating theory and practice: a glimpse into our advanced spring courses

In the advanced course “The forms of Italian Theater: History and Practice,” students engage in a study of various forms of Italian theater from the Renaissance till the Twentieth century, including Commedia dell’Arte, and the work of playwrights such as: Niccolò Machiavelli, Carlo Goldoni, Carlo Gozzi, Giovanni Verga, Luigi Pirandello, Eduardo De Filippo, and Dario Fo. The literary, cultural, and historical discussion is integrated with the development of communicative proficiency, through various exercises and creative activities. For example, during the last five weeks of the semester, students write and perform their own short plays inspired by the style and themes of their favorite Italian authors.

In the Italian/Honors course “The Puppet Metaphor Across Media,” students explore the theoretical and historical significance of the myth of the puppet by examining its cultural history and its life across media boundaries. After examining traditional and modern forms of puppetry in Italy and beyond, and its interpretations in literature, film, and animation, students focus on individual projects. This spring, for example, students examined historical topics such as the use of the puppet metaphor by politically engaged Syrian theater troupes today, theoretical questions like the relationship between subject and object in film mise-en-scene, or engaging on a creative level as when designing an original dance adaptation of Pinocchio.


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Breaking new ground: the first Italian Studies laureati at Chapman University

Melissa Marino and Marco Saglimbeni are the first students completing a B.A. in Italian Studies in the history of Chapman University. They inaugurate a new and growing path of study at the university. Their professors thank them for their sincere devotion to the study of Italian language and culture and for their hard work during the past four years.

Melissa is graduating with a B.F.A in Theater Performance and a B.A. in Italian Language and Culture, and plans to act onstage, operate her own theatre company, and pursue graduate work in Performing Arts Management in Milan, Italy.

Marco is graduating with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, a B.A. in Italian Language and Culture, and a minor from the University Honors Program. He plans to work for a BioTech/Research company (hopefully an Italian one) or become a Sports Medicine Doctor.

Marco e Melissa, vi auguriamo tanto successo e felicità!

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Marco Saglimbeni Awarded Outstanding Italian Studies Major

The Department of World Languages and Cultures at Chapman University selected Marco Saglimbeni as Outstanding Italian Major. “Marco Saglimbeni is graduating with a double major: a B.S. Biological Sciences and a B.A. in Italian Language & Culture, as well as with a minor from the University Honors Program. The consistency and quality of Marco’s academic performance in Italian and the advanced fluency that he has achieved make him the ideal recipient for this award. As Marco leaves Chapman to enter a new phase of his education and career, his classmates and his professors will greatly miss the presence of Marco’s inquisitive mind, caring personality, and deep and contagious passion for Italy. His bright mind and strong ethical nature will bring much positive impact to whatever cause and goal he will set his mind to. Un grande bocca al lupo, Marco!”

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Sara Delucchi and Cristina McKeever receive the Outstanding Italian Studies Minor Award

The Department of World Languages and Cultures at Chapman University awards Cristina McKeever and Sara Delucchi as Outstanding Italian Studies Minors.

“Sara Delucchi is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and a Minor in Italian Studies. Sara brings a rare level of commitment and care to all of her classes and assignments. Her professional dedication and deep human engagement have been inspiring for her professors and classmates alike and have led her to remarkable achievements in Italian. Sara has been an essential part of the Italian Studies community at Chapman since her freshman year, when she entered the Italian Club first as Vice President and then as President. Sara’s generous service –which was also recently recognized by the Renaissance Lodge Order Sons of Italy– has enriched the cultural experience of her peers and helped fostering meaningful relationships among students. After graduation, she will be attending the Master of Occupational Therapy at Dominican University. Auguroni per tutto, Sara!”

“Cristina McKeever is graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and a Minor in Italian Studies. After graduation, she plans to pursue a professional dance career in performance, choreography, and teaching both nationally and internationally; she especially hopes to teach dance and/or perform in Italy. While succeeding in numerous advanced Italian Studies courses at Chapman, she has also contributed significantly to the community and programming of the Italian Club, and has assisted her peers as a tutor of Italian. Her professors will miss Cristina’s creativity, brightness, diligence, and kindness, but rejoice at the thought that she will bring these qualities to all of her activities in the future. Tante buone cose, Cristina!”

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Dr. Pacchioni speaks at the American Association for Italian Studies and the Canadian Society for Italian Studies Joint Conference in Columbus, Ohio

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