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Sicily on Page and Screen: Southern Italy and Its Diasporas

ENGL 083.401
also offered as: ITAL 205, COML 208
MW 5:30-7:00pm

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, omerta. 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.

fulfills requirements