[Cross-listed with Italian Studies 419 and Romance Studies 420C]

Italy and China

Since Marco Polo, Italy’s communication with China is the longest in Europe on written record. In the 20th century, increased mobility intensified cultural exchanges between the two countries. Leading Italian writers such as Italo Calvino continued to imagine Polo’s legacy, making him a main character in his masterpiece Invisible Cities (1972). During the early 1970s Cultural Revolution, Italy was among the first Western countries to establish diplomatic relations with Maoist China. During this time, prominent intellectuals, including Michelangelo Antonioni and Alberto Moravia, went there to witness the famous social engineering. The 1940s Italian neorealist cinema significantly influenced six-generation Chinese filmmakers including Wang Xiaoshuai in the 1990s. Since the 1980s, Italy has been the leading country in continental Europe to receive Chinese migrants, a phenomenon that led to significant media coverage to the present day. This course will examine these and other events by questioning notions of the self and the other, hybrid cultural identities, and intercultural communication. Ultimately, we will put Italian and European interpretations of China as a rising superpower in perspective. The language of instruction is English. No prior knowledge is required. Students from any discipline are welcome.

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A sample of required readings:
Il Milione (Polo, 1298-99)
Invisible Cities (Calvino, 1972)
The Last Emperor (Bertolucci, 1987)
Chung Kuo Cina (Antonioni, 1972)
Beijing Bicycle (Wang, 2001)
Gomorrah (Saviano, 2006; Garrone, 2008)
Shun Li and the Poet (Segre, 2011)
Story of My People (Nesi, 2010)

At least 30 credits of lower division courses or permission of the instructor. Precludes credit for ITST 419 and vice versa.

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.
ITAL 409 may be taken twice, with different content, for a total of 6 credits.

Language of instruction: English

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