THIS SYLLABUS MAY UNDERGO SOME CHANGES.
B e a u t y , l e a d e r s h i p , a n d i n n o v a t i o n
ITAL-S 190 (33199)
This course counts as one full-year course (8 credits) of degree credit. It is taught in English.
– Classes are on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 11:00-1:00. At IULM: room 112. At Università di Siena: San Niccolò, rooms 149, 356.
– Sections are on Monday, 10:45-12:00. At IULM: rooms TBA (Amelia) and TBA (Corrado). At Università di Siena: San Niccolò, rooms TBA (Amelia) and TBA (Corrado).
– Field trips are usually on Friday; they last the entire day. There are two two-day trips on June 27-28 (Thursday-Friday) and July 5-6 (Friday-Saturday). In Milan the bus will pick you up in front of Residence Pian della Nave; in Siena you’ll have to walk to Porta Romana (0.2 miles). We usually leave at 7:30 AM and are back around 10:00 PM.
– Events and guided tours are preferably on Wednesday; they last two to three hours.
– Film screenings are usually on Wednesday in the afternoon; they are followed by a discussion with prof. Erspamer. All movies are in Italian with English subtitles. At IULM: room 401. At Università di Siena: Padiglione esterno, room B.
– Italian dinners are usually on Tuesday.
– Aperitivo is usually on Monday.
– Weekends are usually free. There are however two exceptions: June 15 and 16 (welcome dinner and visit to HangarBicocca), and July 13 and 14 (visit to Fondazione Prada and move to Siena).
– Prof. Erspamer’s office hours are by appointment or on the bus during our Friday trips. At IULM: room TBA. In Siena: in the Refugio.
– Amelia’s office hours are TBA or by appointment. At IULM: room TBA. In Siena: in the Refugio.
– Corrado’s office hours are TBA. At IULM TBA. In Siena: in the Refugio.
#: indicates events that are meant for entertainment and are not part of the course.
This is a very interdisciplinary course, and it is intended for and geared towards students with many different academic backgrounds. No prior courses in the humanities or economics are required. Actually, part of what makes the discussion in this course rich and incisive is the very fact that our group will be composed of students in the arts and humanities, laboratory sciences, and social sciences, all together in one classroom.
Optional Italian language instruction is offered at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, though not for credit. Successful completion of the beginner course, though it is not for credit and not directly equivalent to Italian 10, will place students into Italian 11 in the fall semester. This would allow them to take Italian 20 in the spring, accelerating their language trajectory. The intermediate course is recommended for students who have already completed Italian 10, 11, or Italian 15, while the advanced course is recommended for those at any higher level.
In the beginner and intermediate courses there will be two 75-minute meetings per week (Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30am-10:45am). IULM classrooms: TBA. Siena classrooms: TBA.
The advanced class meets twice a week for a total of two hours (Monday and Wednesday, 9:30am-10:30am). IULM: TBA. Siena: Refugio.
It is strongly recommended that students with no prior background in Italian take one of the beginner classes, particularly in anticipation of joining Siena’s contrade in the final weeks of the program. Click here for more information about the language program.
Saturday, June 15
Students arrive in Milan
Sunday, June 16
5:00 PM: Guided tour of HangarBicocca (Anselm Kiefer’s permanent installation The Seven Heavenly Palaces, and another exhibition.
Welcome dinner at pizzeria La Magolfa (via Magolfa 15).
Monday, June 17
– Readings: 1) Short selections from the Bible (Genesis, 1-3), Plato’s The Republic (book X, 595a-608b) and Symposium (201d-212a), Baldassare Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier. 2) Douglas Harper and Patrizia Paccioli, The Italian Way: Food & Social Life, part II, chapter 2 (“Food Combinations, Meal Sequence, and Bodily Well-Being”).
3:00 PM: Fashion tour with Laura Branchizio, fashion brand adviser
- Program TBA
Tuesday, June 18
Guest lecturer: Pier Luigi Sacco, Economy and culture: How culture creates value
– Readings: 1) David Hesmondhalgh, The Cultural Industries, second edition, introduction (“Change and Continuity, Power and Creativity”). 2) Pier Luigi Sacco, “Culture 3.0”.
8:00 PM: Italian dinner at Trattoria Ferrelli (via Carlo Farini 6).
Wednesday, June 19
– Readings: Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, Preface, Introduction, and Part I, section I, book I.
- 2:30 PM: Italy on screen (room 401): Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, directed by Giuseppe Tornatore (1988).
Thursday, June 20
– Reading: Kant, Critique of Judgment, Part I, section I, book II, and section II.
3:30 PM: Armani/Silos, a fashion art museum dedicated to the Armani style. Guided tour of the collection and of the exhibit The Challenge, dedicated to architect Tadao Ando.
Friday, June 21
Field trip: Lake Garda.
- 7:30 AM: Coach bus leaves from the Residence Pian della Nave.
- Visit to the Vittoriale, once home to the eccentric writer and political leader Gabriele d’Annunzio and now a museum that preserves his incredible collection of eclectic objects, memorabilia, furniture, and tapestries.
- Class on Gabriele d’Annunzio in the open-air amphitheater.
– Reading: Gabriele d’Annunzio, Pleasure (Il piacere).
- Boat trip around the peninsula of Sirmione.
- Free time to tour the medieval town or for a swim in the lake.
Monday, June 24
Tuesday, June 25
– Reading: Elaine Scarry, On Beauty and Being Just.
3:00 PM: A conversation on identity design with Antonio Romano, CEO of Inarea Identity & Design Network, and Eduardo Salierno, strategic consultant, in their new Milan office (via Andrea Doria 7).
– Workshop: Creating our program’s logo.
Wednesday, June 26
Guest lecturer: Pier Luigi Sacco, Culture, crossover, and innovation
- 2:30 PM: Italy on screen (room 401): Bella addormentata (Dormant Beauty), directed by Marco Bellocchio (2012).
8:00 PM: Italian dinner at La balera dell’ortica (via G. A. Amadeo 78).
Thursday and Friday, June 27-28
Field trip: Trentino
- 7:30 AM: Coach bus leaves from the Residence Pian della Nave.
- Cable car from Molveno to Altopiano di Pradel. Excursion at the foot of the Brenta Dolomites. Visit to to Malga Tovre and its educational farm.
- Overnight stay in a hotel in the Lake Nembia nature reserve.
- Trento: visit to the Gallerie, two former road tunnels that were transformed into a history museum. With Giuseppe Ferrandi, director of the Foundation of the Historical Museum of Trentino.
- Lecture TBA.
– Reading: TBA
- Ropeway ride to Sardagna. Typical regional lunch at Osteria San Rocco.
- Visit to MUSE science museum and Le Albere urban expansion project, both designed by architect Renzo Piano using eco-sustainable technologies.
- Free time to visit Trento.
Monday, July 1
Tuesday, July 2
15:30 (room 502): Guest lecturer: Massimo Buscema (Semeion Research Center in Rome and University of Colorado, Denver), The beauty of algorithms. Please note the afternoon schedule and the location.
Reading: 1) Dieter Wandschneider, “Beauty in Nature Both in Its Laws and Its Entities.”
8:00 PM: Italian dinner at Boccino (via Tortona 21).
Wednesday, July 3
– Readings: 1) Roland Barthes, “The New Citroën.” 2) Georg. W. Bertram, Art As Human Practice, Introduction. 3) Anthony Julius, Transgressions: The Offences of Art, chapter 1 (“A Transgressive Work and its Defences”).
- 2:30 PM: Italy on screen (room 401): Perfetti sconosciuti (Perfect Strangers), directed by Paolo Genovese (2016).
Thursday, July 4
– Readings: 1) Thomas Frank, The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism, chapter 6 (“Think Young: Youth Culture and Creativity”). 2) Henry A. Giroux, Disturbing Pleasures: Learning Popular Culture, chapter 1 (“Consuming Social Change: The United Colors of Benetton”). 3) Tibor Scitovsky, The Joyless Economy: The Psychology of Human Satisfaction, chapter 3 (“The Pursuit of Novelty”).
– Slideshow and discussion: The Benetton campaigns.
6:00 PM: Triennale Milano. Visit of the collection and of the exhibit Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival,
Friday and Saturday, July 5-6
Field trip: Veneto
- 7:30 AM: Coach bus leaves from the Residence Pian della Nave.
- Guided tour of Fabrica, Benetton’s communication research center.
- Prosecco tasting (Cantina Gregoletto).
- Overnight stay in San Martino castle.
- Visit to Vicenza, the city of Andrea Palladio.
– Visit to Villa La Rotonda.
– Lunch at Ristorante Il Ceppo (via Palladio 196).
– Visit to the Teatro Olimpico.
– Visit to Basilica Palladiana and aperitivo.
- Lecture by Luca Baraldi (Istituto Superiore di Scienze Religiose di Monte Berico), The Culture of Carnival.
– Reading: Mikhail Bakhtin, “The Carnival.”
Sunday, July 7
[# Draw of the three contrade that will run the Palio in addition to Chiocciola, Oca, Selva, Aquila, Onda, Torre, Istrice].
Monday, July 8
Tuesday, July 9
Wednesday, July 10
– Reading: Giovanni Della Casa, Galateo.
- 2:30 PM: Italy on screen (room 401): Il capitale umano (Human Capital), directed by Paolo Virzì (2013).
7:30 PM: apericena at Bar Bistro Squisitezze (via Gustavo Fara 30).
Thursday, July 11
3:00 PM: Fashion tour with Federico Poletti (fashion journalist and independent curator).
– Readings: Roland Barthes, “The Language of Fashion.” 2) Giacomo Leopardi, “Dialogue Between Fashion and Death.”
Friday, July 12
Field trip: Lake Maggiore
- 9:00 AM: Coach bus leaves from Residence Pian della Nave.
- Visit of Isola Bella and its terraced gardens; guided tour of Borromeo Palace.
- Lunch on the Isola dei Pescatori.
Saturday, July 13
11:00 AM: Guided tour of Fondazione Prada.
Sunday, July 14
Program moves to Siena.
9:00 AM: Coach bus leaves from Residence Pian della Nave..
8:00 PM: Italian dinner at Trattoria Papei.
Monday, July 15
Sections (schedule TBA).
- Savor Siena walk (2 hours; first group: 9:00 AM; second group: 11:00 AM; third group: 1:00 PM): taste cheeses, salami, ham, bread, olive oil, aged vinegar, wine, coffee, cakes, honey, saffron—with an emphasis on what is typical of Siena.
- 4:00 PM: Italy on screen (location Padiglione esterno, room B): Palio, directed by Cosima Spender (2015).
– Reading: Jane Tylus, Siena: City of Secrets, chapter 4 (“Neighborhoods”).
Tuesday, July 16 (room 149)
– Reading: Brian Boyd, On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction, part 2 (“Evolution and Art”).
7:00 PM: Dinner at Contrada del Bruco (via del Comune 30). During the dinner each student is assigned to a contrada and will then participates in the preparations for the Palio and the ceremonies and events that precede it.
Wednesday, July 17 (room 149)
– Readings: Gregory Currie, “Realism of Character and the Value of Fiction.” 2) Franco Moretti, Signs Taken for Wonders: On the Sociology of Literary Forms, chapter 4 (“Homo Palpitans: Balzac’s Novels and Urban Personality”).
- 4:00 PM: Italy on screen (Padiglione esterno, room B): Lazzaro felice, directed by Alice Rohrwacher (2018).
Thursday, July 18
Field trip: Florence.
- 8:00 AM: Bus leaves from via Roma in front of former Ospedale Psichiatrico (where the bus left us after our trip from Milan).
- 10:00 AM: TBA
– Reading: Jaffrey Schnap, “The Romance of Caffeine and Aluminium.”
- 1:00, 3:00, and 5:00 PM: Discovery coffee course at the Espresso Academy, in Florence (2 hours). Instructor: Gabriele Cortopassi, barista, restaurant manager, coffee expert. See how coffee is blended and roasted. Learn the main types of coffee and the techniques for preparing espresso, cappuccino, latte. Then make your cappuccino with the heart.
Friday, July 19 (room 356)
– Reading: 1) Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities (Le città invisibili). 2) Giovanni Boccaccio, Decameron, Introduction to Day 1, novelle I, 1 (Ciappelletto), X, 9 (Messer Torello).
Monday, July 22
Tuesday, July 23 (class will take place at 3:00 PM in Santa Maria della Scala, Sala S. Ansano)
Guest lecturer: Pier Luigi Sacco, Culture and health.
Guided tour of Santa Maria della Scala, former hospital of the city, now a museum..
Italian dinner at Il Pomodorino (via Camporegio 13).
Wednesday, July 24 (room 101)
Guest lecturer: Pier Luigi Sacco, The Creative City.
- 3:00 PM: Italy on screen (location: Padiglione esterno, room B): La dolce vita, directed by Federico Fellini (1960). Discussion to follow at the Refugio..
7:30 PM: Aperitivo and techno dj set with The Misha Sessions feat. PLS. At Cacio e pere (via dei Termini, 70).
Thursday, July 25 (room 149)
Guest lecturer: Pier Luigi Sacco, Heritage and Public Spaces
Friday, July 26
LONG WEEKEND: NO CLASSES
Monday, July 29
Tuesday, July 30 (room 149)
– Readings: 1) Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. 2) Chantal Mouffe, “Art and Democracy: Art as an Agnostic Intervention in Public Space.” 3) Doris Sommer, The Work of Art in the World, chapter 1 (“From the Top: Government-Sponsored Creativity.”
Wednesday, July 31 (room 149)
– Readings: 1) Pico della Mirandola, On the Dignity of Man. 2) Giorgio Vasari’s life of Michelangelo (from The Lives of the Artists, 1550). 3) Jonathan K. Nelson and Richard J. Zeckhauser, The Patron’s Payoff: Conspicuous Commissions in Italian Renaissance Art, chapter 3 (“Theories of Distinction: Magnificence and Signaling”).
- 3:00 PM: Italy on screen (Padiglione esterno, room B): Le fate ignoranti, (The Ignorant Fairies / His Secret Life), directed by Ferzan Özpetek (2001)..
8:30: Italian dinner at Trattoria Fonte Giusta (via Camollia 102).
Thursday, August 1 (room 356)
– Reading: Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince.
4:00 PM: Visit to Palazzo Pubblico. With a close analysis of Lorenzetti’s Allegory of Good and Bad Government..
Friday, August 2
Field trip: Lucca
- 8:00 AM: Coach bus leaves from Porta Romana.
- 10:00 AM: Guided visit to Piaggio Museum in Pontedera and to its collection of Vespa scooters.
- Lunch at Trattoria Giulio in Pelleria (Lucca, via delle Conce 45).
- Riding the medieval walls of Lucca on bike, tandem, or four-wheeled bicycle.
- Lecture by Emanuele Vietina (Lucca Comics and Games) and Cosimo Lorenzo Pancini (Studio Kmzero), “E3 – Exhibition, Event, Experience: Art & Gaming: a new perspective on dealing with a constantly changing audience.”
Saturday, August 3, and Sunday, August 4
Monday, August 5
Tuesday, August 6 (room 149)
– Reading: Crispin Sartwell, Six Names of Beauty, chapters 1, 2, and 3 (and Foreword).
8:15 PM: Italian dinner at Osteria Castelvecchio (via Castelvecchio, 65).
Wednesday, August 7 (room 149)
– Reading: Sartwell, Six Names of Beauty, chapters 4, 5, and 6 (and Coda).
- 3:00 PM: Italy on screen (Padiglione esterno, room B): La grande bellezza (The Great Beauty), directed by Paolo Sorrentino (2013).
Thursday, August 8 (Padiglione esterno, room B):
– Slideshow and discussion of the final projects.
– Slideshow and discussion of the logo projects.
8:15 PM (sala S. Ansano, Santa Maria della Scala): Guest lecturer: Silvana Kühtz (Università della Basilicata/Associazione Leggo quando voglio), Sensory concert: A reading of Italian poetry. With Susanna Crociani, sax.
Friday, August 9 (room 356)
– Readings: 1) John Dewey, Art as Experience, chapters 1 (“The Live Creature”) and 14 (“Art and Civilization”). 2) Martha Nussbaum, Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life, chapter 4 (“Poets as Judges”).
2:30 PM: Guided tour of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the oldest bank in the world still operating (it was founded in 1472).
Monday, August 12
Field trip: The Val d’Orcia and Montalcino. With archeologist Stefano Campana (University of Siena).
- Along the old Via Francigena, through the Crete Senesi hills.
- Visit to the hot springs of Bagno Vignoni, and the Abbey of San’Antimo.
- Wine tasting in Montalcino, home of the famous Brunello wine.Free time to visit the medieval town.
[# Palio events: 7:00 PM presentation of the drappellone (banner) in Cortile del Podestà, in Palazzo Pubblico].
Tuesday, August 13
Review section (at the Regugio).
- 2:30 PM: Italy on screen (screening will take place in the Hotel NH Siena): The Place, directed by Paolo Genovese (2017).
[# Palio events:
1:00 PM (be there 20 minutes earlier): La tratta (selection of the horses).
7:00 PM: first trial].
Wednesday, August 14
[# Palio events: second and third trials.]
Thursday, August 15
Ferragosto: national holiday
[# Palio events: prova generale (final trial); and cena della prova generale, open-air dinner in each contrada].
Friday, August 16
Saturday, August 17
The Palio: rain date
Sunday, August 18