Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Module Outline

Week 1

Lecture: What is contemporary folklore? What is a contemporary legend? Examples, definitions, causes.

Seminar: War legends, rumours, and fake news (I): how popular culture reacted to the traumas of WWII. Case study: legends related to the Allied bombings of Italian cities after 1943.

Week 2

Lecture: Is there a single truth? Towards an experience-centred approach

Seminar: War legends, rumours, and fake news (II): how popular culture reacted to the tensions of the Cold War. Case study: the UFO-craze of the early 1950s .

Week 3

Lecture: The political violence of the 1960s and 1970s and the birth of controinformazione (alternate truth)

Seminar: The terrorist attack of 12 December 1969 and the death of Giuseppe Pinelli: official truth and conspiracy theories. Analysis of texts by Dario Fo and Camilla Cederna, as well as of Marco Tullio Giordana's film Romanzo di una strage (2012).

Week 4

Lecture:What is a conspiracy theory?

Seminar: Analysis of Umberto Eco's novel Foucault's Pendulum (1988).

Week 5

Lecture: Legends and rumours in 1980s Italy

Seminar: Comparison of Italian and British urban legends, and reflection on the ways they mirror specific social issues (e.g. immigration)

Week 7

Lecture: Post-truth and the World Wide Web

Seminar: Analysis of the transnational circulation of rumours across the web. Case study: contagion-related rumours, from AIDS to Covid-19.

Week 8

Lecture: The work of the Luther Blissett collective, post-truth, and Hyperreality

Seminar: Analysis of Luther Blissett's novel Q (1999)

Week 9

Lecture: Q goes global: from Bologna to the QAnon conspiracy theory

Seminar: Analysis of how a far-left novel, Q, is said to have provided inspiration for a far-right movement such as QAnon

Week 10

Lecture: Italian Theory and the Covid-19 Pandemic

Seminar: Reading and analysis of texts by Giorgio Agamben, Franco 'Bifo' Berardi, Judith Butler, and Slavoj Žižek.