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Present Futures: Questions of Marginality in Contemporary Italy

Module Code: IT316
Module Name: Present Futures: Questions of Marginality in Contemporary Italy
Module Coordinator: Dr Cecilia Piantanida
Not running 2024-25
Module Credits: 15

Module Description

Who are contemporary Italians and what is Italy today? What does their future look like and what are the most salient issues defining Italian identities of today and tomorrow? This module aims to enhance students’ understanding of questions of sexuality, transnational identity, migration, climate change and technology in contemporary Italian culture. By looking at a broad range of mostly non-canonical texts, the module allows students to explore these issues from a variety of perspectives and thus to develop a nuanced and flexible understanding of concepts of genre and readership, whilst also mapping a literary and cultural history of contemporary Italy.

The module's thematic emphasis will be on stories of marginalized spaces, subjects and communities in contemporary Italy. Through analysing films, TV series, novels, and graphic novels, students will develop an understanding of how minority identities in Italy are negotiated and expressed through both individual narratives of interior experience and an outsider’s observational gaze. The module will discuss normative and non-normative constructions of what is ‘contemporary Italy’ and what it is to be a ‘contemporary Italian’, and explore the strategies used by a wide range of authors and filmmakers to articulate, challenge, and re-imagine these positions. Questions of exploration and discovery, and of the construction of knowledge in relation to spaces and subcultures, will be followed through the different sections and texts.


Term 1, 2022-23

Week 1: Introduction and Sexuality

Primary text: La dea fortuna (2019), film by Ferzan Özpetek.

Weeks 2 and 3: Migration

Primary texts: Io sono Li (2011), film by Andrea Segre; La via del pepe. Finta fiaba africana per europei benpensanti (2014), illustrated short story by Massimo Carlotto, translations to be provided for post-beginners and students not taking Italian.

Weeks 4 and 5: Transnational Identities within and outside Italy

Primary texts: La straniera (2019) novel by Claudia Durastanti, translation available; excerpts from Sotto il velo and Il mio migliore amico è fascista, graphic novels by Takoua Ben Mohamed, translations to be provided for post-beginners and students not taking Italian.

Weeks 7 and 8: Urban Spaces and Environment

Primary texts: Lazzaro Felice (2018), film by Alice Rohrwacher; 'Arzestula' (2009), short story by Wu Ming 1, translation available.

Weeks 9 and 10: Post-Anthropocentric, Post-Apocalyptic, Post-Human Italy

Primary texts: Anna (2021), TV series by Niccolo' Ammaniti; excerpts from Sirene (2017), short novel by Laura Pugno.


Individual seminar presentation (20%)

Essay - 3500words (80%). Academic essay based on an analysis of at least one of the primary texts.

Dr Mila Milani

Dr Cecilia Piantanida

cecilia dot piantanida at warwick dot ac dot uk


Term 1 - 2hr in-person mixed lecture and seminar

Thursdays 3-5pm in FAB 5.01