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Sicily on Page and Screen

ENGL 083.920
crosslisted as: ITAL 205, CIMS 204, COML 208
instructor(s):
MW 5:30-9:20

Summer Session II: July 5 - August 9, 2019

What images come to mind when we hear the words Sicily and Sicilians?  Often our thoughts range from scenic vacation spots, delicious seafood and cannoli, and sweet grandmothers dressed in black, to mafia violence, vendettas, and the deep-rooted code of silence, “omertà.”  But, how did these ideas get to us?  Is there truth in them?  Is there more to this island and its people?  Through careful analysis of literary and cinematic representations of this Italian region, and those that do and have inhabited it, we will trace and analyze how Sicilians have represented themselves, how mainland Italians have interpreted Sicilian culture, how outsiders have understood these symbols, how our own perceptions shaped what we thought we knew about this place and, finally, how our own observations will have evolved throughout our studies.  We will watch films such as Tornatore’s Cinema paradiso and Coppola’s The Godfather II, and read texts such as Lampedusa’s The Leopard and Maraini’s Bagheria.  This course aims to increase students' understanding and knowledge of the Sicilian socio-cultural system.  It will help students develop their ability to understand and interpret Sicilian culture through close analysis of its history, values, attitudes, and experiences, thereby allowing them to better recognize and examine the values and practices that define their own, as well as others’, cultural frameworks.   Course taught in English.  Course Materials in English.  There are no prerequisites for this course.