Learning outcomes of the course unit
Knowledge and understanding.
The course aims at strengthening the basic knowledge of literary study, opening the way for a specialized field, and promoting the development of original statements about the thematic net described throughout the course itself.
Applying knowledge and understanding.
The study of literary methods, the learning of the genre theories, and finally the comparative approach elicit the development of the capacity to understand and connect literary facts, in a profoundly interdisciplinary perspective.
By the end of the course students ought to have acquired the capacity to carefully value the complexity of literary text, critically interpreting their structural elements, the morphological similarities and differences between them. They should also have acquired particular intepretive and comparative abilities about the historical and socio-cultural contexts to which those artistic documents belong.
By the end of the course students should have conceived the capacity to describe literary texts on the basis of the genre theories and supranational literary study, developing a personal, reliable and consistent way of reading.
The commitment shown in acquiring competences and learning should provide the students with a definite methodological competence as well as with skills aimed at consolidating their set of readings, their capacity to understand and schematize the dynamics of literary facts – all necessary skills in order to organize contents into the written form.
Course contents summary
Cultural Studies for studying literature
The course aims at evaluating the impact of Cutural Studies on the recent panorama of theories and methodoogies of literature. Following some general remarks on the topic, each week will be dedicated to a XXth Century text, closely related to a specific interpretive question: the unbalance between classes in Edwardian England, as depicted in Howards End, by Forster; the memories of the last Afroamerican slave, as collected by a crucial author in the tradition of Black Studies, Zora Neale Hurston (Barracoon); to provide a critical approach to gender and queer, the feminist rereading of Medea by Christa Wolf, and the in-depth description of homosexual relationships in Camere separate (Separate rooms) by Tondelli; for an ethical-problematic approach to the relationship between men and the animals, the singular pamphlet, constructed as a conference, by Coetzee, The Life of Animals.
1a. Cimini, Sociologia della letteratura, La Scuola, 2008 – students in Giornalismo e cultura editoriale
1b. Vallorani (a cura di), Introduzione ai Cultural Studies. UK, USA e paesi anglofoni, Carocci, 2017 – students in Lettere classiche e moderne
2. Forster, Howards End, Feltrinelli (it. translation)
3. Neale Hurston, Barracoon. L’ultimo schiavo, (it. translation, 66th and 2nd)
4. Wolf, Medea. Voci, e/o
5. Tondelli, Camere separate, Bompiani
6. Coetzee, The Life of Animals (it. translation, Adelphi)
Mainly, frontal lessons
Assessment methods and criteria
Oral exams. A satisfactory exam will demonstrate the capacity to connect and interpret in an accurate way forms and thematic as described throughout the course.
Evaluation: A fail is determined by the lack of an understanding of the minimum content of the course, the inability to express oneself adequately, by a lack of autonomous preparation, the inability to solve problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of complex texts, as well as an inability to make independent judgments. A pass (18-23/30) is determined by the student’s possession of the minimum, fundamental contents of the course, an adequate level of autonomous preparation and ability to solve problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of complex texts, as well as an acceptable level of ability in making independent judgments. Middle-range scores (24-27/30) are assigned to the student who produces evidence of a more than sufficient level (24-25/30) or good level (26-27/30) in the evaluation indicators listed above. Higher scores (from 28/30 to 30/30 cum laude) are awarded on the basis of the student’s demonstration of a very good or excellent level in the evaluation indicators listed above.