Module LXI-3023:
The Other Italies

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics.

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Silvia Bergamini

Overall aims and purpose

This module explores the representations of alterity in modern and contemporary Italy. This module aims to investigate various forms of alterity/otherness in terms of identity, gender, race and ethnicity, religion and politics. These cultural/sociological themes will be analysed through a linguistic approach. Aims include:

  • To develop students’ critical thinking and analytical skills on issues of language related to multiculturalism, gender equality, inclusiveness, discrimination.
  • To provide an in-depth knowledge of linguistic variety in Italy (e.g. registers, stylistic techniques, regional terminology).
  • To raise awareness of the social and cultural changes in contemporary Italy.
  • To provide linguistic and stylistic tools for an in depth textual analysis and for revealing a text’s underlying ideological stance.

Course content

What language is used in Italy today to represent alterity/otherness? How is it related to the major social-political changes that have taken place in modern and contemporary Italy? This module will investigate how major socio-political changes that have taken place in modern and contemporary Italy (immigration to Italy from Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe, globalization, the changing role of women and LGBT(QI) communities, the rise of new mass parties) impacted the representations of ‘the other’ and our language practices. The design of this module combines a linguistic approach and a focus on cultural/sociological themes. Students will gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the uses of Italian language that convey discourses on alterity in Italy within an historical perspective.

This module may cover the following topics:

  • Regional Italian (regional variation in the use of Italian language) and Identity.
  • Language and Gender (sexism and discrimination in the Italian language).
  • Language, Race and Ethnicity (representation of people with different ethnic backgrounds and/or skin-color, migrations).
  • Language and Religion (representation of other religious beliefs).
  • Political Parties (populism and demagoguery in Italian political discourse e.g. Forza Italia, Lega Nord).

Each of these areas will be analysed through the linguistic analysis of a variety of texts, including newspaper articles, political discourse, films, literary texts, and online production.

Assessment Criteria

threshold

-D. Basic grasp of key issues around language in relation to cultural themes (multiculturalism, gender equality, discrimination, etc.); understanding of the debates and themes around the representation of ‘alterity’ in modern and contemporary Italy and the interrelation between linguistic changes and socio-historical changes; basic understanding of the theoretical perspectives. Limited ability to provide a textual/linguistic analysis of primary materials (including newspaper articles, political discourse, literary texts, etc.) and contextualize them within the theoretical and historical framework. Students will also show an awareness of accepted academic conventions.

excellent

-A. Excellent grasp of key issues around language in relation to cultural themes (multiculturalism, gender equality, discrimination, etc.); solid understanding of the debates and themes around the representation of ‘alterity’ in modern and contemporary Italy and the interrelation between linguistic changes and socio-historical changes; excellent understanding of theoretical perspectives. Excellent ability to provide a textual/linguistic analysis of primary materials (including newspaper articles, political discourse, literary texts, etc.) and contextualize them within the theoretical and historical framework. Students will demonstrate originality in their work, as well as full competence concerning academic conventions.

good

-B. Good grasp of key issues around language in relation to cultural themes (multiculturalism, gender equality, discrimination, etc.); understanding of the debates and themes around the representation of ‘alterity’ in modern and contemporary Italy and the interrelation between linguistic changes and socio-historical changes; good understanding of the theoretical perspectives. Some ability to provide a textual/linguistic analysis of primary materials (including newspaper articles, political discourse, literary texts, etc.) and contextualize them within the theoretical and historical framework. Students will also show familiarity with accepted academic conventions.

Learning outcomes

  1. Generate sustained and structured arguments in presentations, informal debates, and essays supported by literary, cinematic and historical evidence.

  2. Identify and evaluate the interrelation between linguistic changes and the historical and cultural contexts in which primary texts were produced.

  3. Engage in close, critical analysis of a range of primary source materials (including Italian newspapers, songs, video interviews, etc.), and in light of relevant theoretical frameworks.

  4. Develop an understanding of relevant interpretive and theoretical approaches from within the fields of Linguistics and Cultural Studies to unpack and enrich the analysis of primary texts and cultural material examined throughout the course.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION Presentation

A 10-12 minute oral presentation on one of the given topics that you will explore further in your final case study essay. The presentation will last no more than 12 minutes and will be followed by a Q&A session.

30
CASE STUDY Case Study - 2500 words

A case study essay of 2500 words on one of the given questions. This essay will demonstrate in-depth knowledge of one or more primary sources selected by students in light of relevant theoretical approaches as well as show evidence of further reading and research beyond the scope of the seminar discussion on that particular theme.

40
ESSAY 2000 word Essay

A 2000 word-essay on a given topic which is expected to engage visibly with critical works and texts that will be discussed in the course of weekly lectures and seminars.

30

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study

Students will conduct guided reading of texts and other media in preparation for classes, as well as independent research for all assignments.

178
Lecture

One hour-classes per week for 22 weeks. Will involve lecture-type teaching and seminar-type activities such as discussions, debates and student presentations: One-hour lecture weekly (two hours in weeks 1-2) One-hour seminar weekly (starting from week 3)

22

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • The ability to comprehend and interact with critical assessments of the primary sources considered (incl. films and/or literature and/or other media in the target language) and their contexts. (Benchmark statement 5.3, 5.4, 5.10, 5.11. 5.13)
  • The ability to comprehend aspects of Italian history, culture and language. (Benchmark statement 5.7)
  • The ability to critically assess, contextualize and respond to a variety of cultural materials in Italian while increasing the subject-specific vocabulary in Italian concerning matters of gender, immigration, national identity. (Benchmark statement 5.3 and 5.4)
  • The ability to engage with issues of form, style, content and target audience, thus coming to a wider understanding of the role of literature and/or film and/or other media in wider cultural contexts. (Benchmark statement 5.10)
  • The ability to critically understand a specific aspect of Italian culture and its relationship to other cultures. (Benchmark statement 5.7)
  • The ability to critically understand the importance of language in relation to Italian society (Benchmark statement 5.10, 5.11)
  • The ability to engage with, interpret and critically evaluate short and longer contemporary texts (short stories, films, novels) in the target language (Benchmark statement 5. 8, and 5.9)
  • The ability to organise and present ideas within the framework of a structured and reasoned argument in written and/or oral assignments and class discussions. (Benchmark statement 5.14)
  • Critical skills in the close reading, description, reasoning and analysis of primary and secondary sources in the target language and/or English or Welsh (incl. filmic, literary and other sources). (Benchmark statement 5.13, 5.14, 5.15)
  • Competence in the planning and execution of essays, presentations and other written and project work; bibliographic skills, including the accurate citation of sources and consistent use of conventions and appropriate style in the presentation of scholarly work. (Benchmark statement 5.10, 5.14, 5.15)
  • The ability to gather information, analyse, interpret and discuss different viewpoints and to place these in a wider socio-cultural and/or geo-historical and political and/or socio-linguistic context and to revise and re-evaluate judgements in light of those of the course leader, certain individuals or groups studied and/or fellow students. (Benchmark statement 5.13, 5.15 and 5.16)
  • The ability to work creatively and flexibly both independently and/or as part of a team. (Benchmark statement 5.15).
  • The ability to comprehend, critically engage with and apply relevant theoretical concepts to materials being studied. (Benchmark statement 5.10)

Resources

Reading list

Students will be provided with copies of the relevant extracts / articles in advance of seminars.

Main secondary reading:

  • Aime, Marco, et al. Contro il razzismo (Torino: Einaudi, 2016)

Bachis, Francesco, Sull’orlo del pregiudizio: Razzismo e islamophobia in una prospettiva antropologica (Cagliari: Aipsa, 2008)

Bond, Emma, et al. Destination Italy: Representing Migration in Contemporary Media and Narrative (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2015)

Benedetti, Amedeo, Il linguaggio e la retorica della nuova politica italiana: Silvio Berlusconi e Forza Italia (Genova: Erga, 2004)

Bobba, Giuliano, and Duncan McDonnell, ‘Different Types of Right-Wing Populist Discourse in Governement and Opposition: The Case of Italy’, in South European Society and Politics, 21. 3 (2016), 281-99.

Bolasco, Sergio, Nora Galli de’ Paratesi et al., Parole in libertà: un'analisi statistica e linguistica dei discorsi di Berlusconi (Roma: Manifestolibro, 2006)

Cento-Bull, Anna, e Mark Gilbert, The Lega Nord and the Northern Question in Italian Politics (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2001)

Cirillo, Chiara, ‘Sexism and Gender Issues in the Italian language’, in Multilingualism in Italy: Past and Present, eds. Anna Laura Lepschy and Arturo Tosi (Oxford: Legenda, 2002), pp. 141-49

Croci, Osvaldo, ‘Language and Politics in Italy: From Moro to Berlusconi’, Journal of Modern Italian Studies 6 (2011), 348-70

Discourse and Politics of Migration in Italy. The Production and Reproduction of Ethnic Dominance and Exclusion, ed. Monica Colombo, Special Issue of Journal of Language and Politics, 12, 2 (2013)

Faloppa, Federico, Lessico e alterità: la formulazione del diverso (Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso, 2000)

Faloppa, Federico, Razzisti a parole (per tacer dei fatti) (Rome-Bari: Laterza, 2011)

Faso, Giuseppe, Lessico del razzismo democratico: le parole che escludono (Rome: DeriveApprodi, 2010)

Fresu, Rita, ‘Politically correct’, in Enciclopedia dell’Italiano, dir. Raffaele Simone, Vol. 2, Roma, 2011, pp. 1117-19

Gomez-Reino Cachafeiro, Margarita, Ethnicity and Nationalism in Italian Politics. Inventing the Padania: Lega Nord and the Northern Question (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001)

Italian Sociolinguistics: Twenty Years On, themed issue of International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 210 (2011)

NAGA, Se dico rom… Indagine sulla rappresentazione dei cittadini rom e sinti nella stampa italiana, 2013 < http://www.naga.it/index.php/notizie-naga/items/se-dico-rom.html> [consultato il 16 maggio 2018]

Orrù, Paolo, Il discorso sulle migrazioni nell’Italia contemporanea: un’analisi linguistico-discorsiva sulla stampa (2000-2010) (Milano: Franco Angeli, 2017)

Petrovich Njegosh, Tatiana, and Anna Scacchi (eds), Parlare di razza: la lingua del colore tra Italia e Stati Uniti (Verona: Ombre corte, 2012)

Robustelli, Cecilia, et al., Donne, grammatica e media. Suggerimenti per l’uso dell’italiano, promoted by Associazione GiULiA (Roma: Giornaliste Unite Libere Autonome, 2014)

Sociolinguistic Research in Italy: A General Outline, theme issue of Sociolinguistic Studies, 11. 2-4 (2017)

Tosi, Arturo, Language and Society in a Changing Italy (Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2001)

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: