2013-2014 Italian Courses

Beginning Italian


This course is for students with no previous knowledge of Italian. It aims at giving the student a complete foundation in the Italian language, with particular attention to the oral and written communication of everyday use and to all aspects of Italian culture. The course will be conducted in Italian after the first month and will involve the study of all the basic structures of the language—phonological, grammatical, syntactical—with practice in conversation, reading, composition, and translation. In addition to the basic Italian textbook and an array of supplementary computer and Internet material, the course will also include texts from prose fiction, poetry, journalistic prose, songs, films, recipe books, and the language of publicity. Conference work is largely based on reading and writing, and the use of the language is encouraged through games and creative composition. In addition to class and group conference, the course also has a conversation component in regular workshops with the language assistants. Supplementary activities such as opera and relevant exhibits in New York City are made available, as possible. By the end of this yearlong course, students will attain a basic competence in all aspects of the language. There will be two yearlong sections of Beginning Italian. The first section will be taught by Ms. Serafini-Sauli for the year. The second section will be taught by Ms. Benzoni in the fall and Ms. Rorandelli in the spring.

Intermediate Italian: Modern Italian Prose


This intermediate-level course aims at improving and perfecting the students’ speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, as well as their knowledge of Italy’s contemporary culture and literature. In order to acquire the necessary knowledge of Italian grammar, idiomatic expressions, and vocabulary, students will be exposed to present-day Italy through the selection of specific newspaper articles, music, and cinema, as well as modern Italian literature (i.e., short stories, poems, and excerpts from literary works) in the original language. Literary works will include selections from Alessandro Baricco, Gianni Rodari, Carlo Castellaneta, Clara Sereni, Dino Buzzati, Stefano Benni, Antonio Tabucchi, Niccolò Ammaniti, and Italo Calvino. In order to address the students’ own writing skills, written compositions will also be assigned and will constitute an integral part of the course. The materials selected for the course, be they a literary text, a song, video, or grammar exercise, will be accessible at all times to the students through the course’s “Web Board”; research on the Web will be central to the course and will offer the basis for the weekly “Web piece,” a short paper on a particular topic. Conference topics might include the study of a particular author, literary text, film, or any other aspect of Italian society and culture that might be of interest to the student. Conversation classes will be held twice a week with the language assistants.

Advanced Italian: Fascism, World War II and the Resistance in 20th-Century Italian Narrative and Cinema


This course is intended for advanced students of Italian who want to better their comprehension, as well as their oral and written skills in the language. This will be achieved by reading literary works and watching films in the original language, producing written compositions, and in-class discussion of the material. The course examines the manner in which crucial historical events that occurred during the 20th century—specifically the rise and fall of fascism, World War II, and the Resistance—were represented within Italian literature and cinema of the time, as well as throughout the decades following the end of the war up to the 1970s. Literary texts will include those authored by Ignazio Silone, Vasco Pratolini, Italo Calvino, Mario Carli, Renata Viganò, Carlo Cassola, Beppe Fenoglio, Elio Vittorini, Alberto Moravia, and Carlo Mazzantini. Films will include fascist propaganda and documentaries from the Istituto Luce’s archives, as well as films by Roberto Rossellini (his fascist-era war trilogy, as well as his neorealist films), Vittorio De Sica, Luigi Comencini, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, Bernardo Bertolucci, Giuliano Montaldo, Ettore Scola, Luchino Visconti, Liliana Cavani, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Federico Fellini. Conference topics may include the study of a particular author, literary text, or film that might be of interest to the student. Conversation classes will be held with the language assistants. Literary texts will be available for purchase; critical material will be available through e-reserve.    Open to students with advanced proficiency in Italian.

Study Abroad in Italy

Map of ItalySLC sponsors two academic programs in Italy: Sarah Lawrence in Florence and Sarah Lawrence in Catania (Sicily). The Florence program is well suited to students at all levels of language proficiency who wish to spend a semester or an entire year immersed in the culture and history of this city. The Catania program provides a unique opportunity for students proficient in Italian to experience the culture of southern Italy firsthand during a semester of study in the spring. Learn more»