This is most recent syllabus. Your final syllabus will be given during your first day of class
Note: This is an elective course in the Food & Sustainability Studies Program (FSSP). Students do not need to be in the FSSP to enroll. However, priority will be given to FSSP students.
This hybrid literature/creative writing/theory course will examine the role of food in Italian and Italian-American literature. It will analyze women’s issues in relation to the narration of food and the importance of food during war times, especially in extreme situations, such as displacement and bombardments. As the Italian words sapore (taste) and sapere (knowledge) share a common root: *sap-, which means not only “to taste”, but also “to research” and “to be wise”, this course will consider how the preparation, production, and consumption of food intersect with wisdom and (self)knowledge in literature and culture. By examining excerpts from some of the most important works in recent Italian literature as well as select writings from Italian American women authors, you will examine the historical, social, and symbolic value of food while focusing on the development of cultural, national, and individual/feminist identity.
In this course, you will find your own voices in the form of fiction and non-fiction creative writing assignments. You will demonstrate an understanding of literary devices, figures of speech, and sound patterns through actual use in writing. Through your own writings, you will demonstrate an understanding of the conventions of the various literary genre, such as plot, narrative voice, setting, characterization, and description.
In order to hone your skills both as readers and as writers of narrative, this course will also discuss the principal issues in narratology and narrative theory.
This course will stress close reading of selected texts and stimulate creativity and critical thought in an academic environment. Careful attention will be given to choice of language, historical, and political implications, as well as the overall “message” of the work.
By the end of this course, you will:
- have a good understanding of the principles of narratology and narrative theory;
- have initiated, researched, and written short pieces of original writing ranging from poetry to fictional and non-fictional short stories;
- become aware of the connections between creativity, structure, and discipline;
- have analyzed texts by major writers in contemporary Italian literature;
- have expanded their critical understanding of major contemporary women authors;
- have analyzed several pieces of writings by Italian-American women authors;
- have worked with non-traditional literary texts; and
- be able to discuss the specific course topic critically and confidently.
Service Learning Project Description
In this course, you will meet with the Umbrian producers and participate in tastings of local products, which will serve as the basis for one of the course’s creative writing assignments. You will then transform your experience during the visits into a children’s story on food in both English and Italian. To conclude the project, you will share your creative piece at “Apriti, scuola!”, a weekly multi-lingual children’s reading hosted by “Il Castello Rotondo” Elementary School. At the end of the semester, you will present your work to the Umbra community.
- Elena Ferrante My Brilliant Friend
A Reader of selected narrative including texts from:
- Italo Calvino Under the Jaguar Sun (short story)
- Carlo Collodi Pinocchio
- Natalia Ginzburg The Mother
- After the War: A Selection of Short Fiction by Postwar Italian Women. King, Martha (ed.)
- The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food and Culture. Giunta, Edvige and Louise DeSalvo (eds.)
- New Italian Women: A Collection of Short Fiction. King, Martha (ed.)