A Spring about Present and Past Italian Creativity: Literature, Cinema, and Food

This Spring, Italian Studies students have participated in various courses ranging from Renaissance culture to contemporary film. Students in the honors program and advanced Italian Studies had the opportunity to attend the interdisciplinary course “Power and Imagination in the Italian Renaissance, ” analyzing literary, philosophic, and scientific texts foundational to humanistic legacy, and exploring themes such as caution, resoluteness, heroism, conformity, orthodoxy, and innovation.

“This class brings about a whole new understanding of the Italian Renaissance. It illuminates the powerful interconnectedness of art, literature, science, architecture, economics, politics, and more. The interconnectedness between these elements of society and culture reveals a new understanding of the Italian Renaissance and our own society and culture today. Perhaps most importantly, this class reveals patterns in the human experience throughout the course of history that we can connect to now with our own experiences as people. It is a connection that enriches the mind, body, and soul.”
Lauren Moyle, Chapman Italian Studies Minor.

In addition, students have explored Italian Cinema and its relation to politics, art, and industry. This course surveyed Italian cinema history, examining its evolution from the silent period to today, and its relationship to other national cinemas and Hollywood. Students analyzed aesthetic and ethical legacies connecting classical and recent films and learned about the stylistic and cultural underpinning of neorealist cinema, various genres, and poetic cinema. 

The course “History and Culture of Food in Italy” comprehensively explored the rich history of Italian food cultures from multiple perspectives. Students delved into the histories of certain Italian staple foods, regional gastronomical traditions, and socio-political movements that have shaped the country’s culinary landscape. In addition, the course covered contemporary sustainability issues and analyzed food’s role in Italian art, advertisement, and literature. 

“The Italian Food course expanded my understanding of topics I rarely thought about or considered in Italian culture. For example, the history of coffee in Italy is so much more complex than I could have imagined, with various experiments by numerous inventors leading to the making of the perfect espresso machine or the ingenious creation of the Moka Bialetti for people at home to make their favorite coffee. Topics like this are what drew me to the class in the first place, and I think anyone interested in food culture or Italian culture should definitely consider it.”
– James Cigliano, Chapman Italian Studies Minor

Looking forward to the Summer, students are excited for the journey ahead.
There’s no better way to learn a language than by immersing yourself in the language and culture. Students of all levels will be participating in three different programs across Italy. Stay tuned for more!

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