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  • Discipline(s): English History Sociology
  • Available: Fall Semester Spring Semester
  • Course Type: Standard Courses
  • Taught in: English
  • Credits: 3
  • Course Travel: No

ENG / HIST / SOC 360: The Italian American Experience: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

Important Note: This course was formerly HSIT 360.

Course Description
This course will focus on the history of Italian immigration to the US and on the contribution of Italians to the formation of a collective American cultural identity. It will examine the history of Italian American immigration to the US and the experience and depiction of Italian identity (as well as its related themes of ethnic identity and cultural conflict) in American society, especially after the turn of the Twentieth century. Students will analyze the historical reasons of why Italians left their homeland and look at the conditions of their voyages and first arrival in the United States. The course will then go on to examine the conditions, treatment, and cultural experiences of the immigrants in their new home, and to consider which changes old-world traditions (familial, sexual, political, social) underwent.

The course focuses on an interdisciplinary historical-cultural analysis, taking into consideration primary and secondary historical writings, literature, art, and film in investigating the “Italian American Experience” from the earliest settlers to the contemporary experience.

Course Objectives
By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the major events and individuals associate with of Italian American history and explain their significance
  • Explain the theory of push and pull factors in immigration, illustrate how the theory applies to the Italian American experience
  • Explain the historical method and utilize its core principles to examine historical events
  • Give examples of, differentiate, and appraise primary, secondary and tertiary sources in historiography
  • Relate the Italian American experience to other immigration experiences throughout history

Textbook

Jerre Mangione – Ben Morreale, La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience, New York, Harper Perennial, 1992.

Thomas Reppetto American Mafia, New York, Henry Holt, 2004.

Literature

  • Mario Puzo, The Fortunate Pilgrim
  • Pietro di Donato, Christ in Concrete
  • The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food and Culture (selections)

Films

  • Emanuele Crialese, Nuovomondo (2006)
  • Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott, Big Night (1996)

Documentary

  • The Italian Americans

Art/Photography

Selected works by Osvaldo Louis Guglielmi, Ralph Fasanella, Joseph Stella, Lewis Hine, Jacop Riis