Italian Masculinities in Literature and Cinema

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Book cover of Beyond the Latin Lover: Marcello Mastroianni, Masculinity, and Italian Cinema by Jacqueline Reich

An overview of diverse Italian masculinities as they are represented in Italian literature and culture.

What did it and does it mean to be a man in Italy? How did diverse concepts of Italian manhood come into being? How have they been constructed and distributed in literary and cinematic texts? What do these texts tell us about Italian society? And how have these male types been challenged within the Italian cultural domain?

We will probe these questions by studying the depictions of Italian virilities in memoirs, novels, public speeches, news articles, films, and television programs from the 18th century to the present, with a focus on the 20th century. Male archetypes and ideals to be scrutinized include the self-made man, the strongman, the fascist new man, nationalist soldiers, the inetto (schlemiel), the Latin Lover, libertines, and gay men.

To delve further into these texts, we will also study a selective number of influential theories from Masculinity and Gender Studies. Through this course, we will gain a historical and critical understanding of men and gender dynamics in Italian culture. This course is designed to develop your critical thinking and speaking and writing skills in the context of Italian masculinities.

The course is suitable for anyone who is passionate about Italian men and their interactions with other men and women in their social and cultural milieu. No prior knowledge of the Italian language or Italian culture is required.

Required readings: TBA

Students who plan to minor in Italian must take this course as ITAL and will be expected to do part of their reading and assignments in the Italian language.

ITST 419 may be taken twice, with different content, for a total of 6 credits.

Prerequisites: None

Language of instruction: English