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: room 401 (San Niccolò, fourth floor).
– Sections are on Monday, 10:30-11:45 and 12:00-1:15. At IULM: rooms 112 and 114. At Università di Siena: rooms 349/B, 348/C, 401, and 447 (San Niccolò, third and fourth floor). [Please note that in week 4 sections will be held on Tuesday, July 11, and that the will be no sections on August 7].
– Field trips are usually on Friday; they last the entire day. There is one two-day trip (June 29-30). In Milan the bus will pick you up in front of Residence Pola; in Siena you’ll have to walk to Porta Romana (0.2 miles). We usually leave at 7:30 or 8:00 AM and are back around 10:00 PM.
– Events and guided tours are usually on Tuesday; they last two to three hours.
– Film screenings are generally on Thursday at 3:30 PM; 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: room 401 (San Niccolò, fourth floor).
– Italian dinners are usually on Tuesday or Wednesday.
– Aperitivo is usually on Monday.
– Weekends are usually free. There are however a few exceptions: June 17 and 18 (welcome dinner and visit to HangarBicocca), July 15 and 16 (trip to Isola Bella and move to Siena), and August 12 and 13 (final exam and first Palio events).
– Prof. Erspamer’s office hours are by appointment. At IULM: room TBA. At Università di Siena: in the Refugio.
– Chiara’s office hours are Wednesday 9:45-11:00 AM or by appointment. At IULM: room TBA). At Università di Siena: in the Refugio.
– Julianne’s office hours are Tuesday, 3:30-4:30 PM. At IULM in the cafe on the ground floor of Building 1. At Università di Siena: in the Refugio.
#: The pound sign indicates events that are meant for entertainment and are not part of the course program.
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 level and at the intermediate/advanced level, though not for credit.
In the beginner course there will be two 75-minute meetings per week. At Università di Siena: rooms 455 and 456 (San Niccolò, fourth floor).
The advanced class meets once a week for two hours. At Università di Siena: in the 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 17
Students arrive in Milan
- Welcome dinner at pizzeria La Magolfa (via Magolfa 15).
Sunday, June 18
- 5:00 PM: Guided tour of HangarBicocca (Anselm Kiefer’s permanent installation The Seven Heavenly Palaces, and Miroslaw Barka’s and Rosa Barba’s exhibitions).
Week 1: What is beauty
Monday, June 19
– Reading: Douglas Harper, Visual Sociology (Routledge, 2012), chapter 3 (“Reflexivity”).
- 3:30 PM: Guided tour of Fondazione Prada (the permanent collection and one exhibit).
Tuesday, June 20
– Readings: Short selections from the Bible (Genesis, 1-3), the Iliad (III, 121-70), Plato’s The Republic (book X, 595a-608b) and Symposium (201d-212a), Baldassare Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier (1528).
- 8:00 PM: Italian dinner at Trattoria Ferrelli (via Carlo Farini 6).
Wednesday, June 21
– Reading: Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment (1790), Part I, section I, books I and II.
Thursday, June 22
Guest lecturer: Pier Luigi Sacco, Economy and culture: How culture creates value
– Readings: 1) David Hesmondhalgh, The Cultural Industries, second edition (2007), introduction (“Change and Continuity, Power and Creativity”). 2) Pier Luigi Sacco, “Culture 3.0”.
- Italy on screen (room 401): Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, directed by Giuseppe Tornatore (1988).
- 8:00 PM: Night at the museum: New York New York. Italian Art: The Rediscovery of America, an exhibition at Gallerie d’Italia (Piazza Scala).
Friday, June 23
Field trip: Lake Garda.
- 8:00: Coach bus leaves from the Residence Pola.
- Visit to the Vittoriale, once home to the eccentric writer Gabriele d’Annunzio and now a museum that preserves his incredible collection of eclectic objects, memorabilia, furniture, and tapestries. – Reading: Gabriele d’Annunzio, Pleasure (Il piacere) (1881) [English trans. Lara Gochin Raffaelli].
- Boat trip around the peninsula of Sirmione. Free time to tour the medieval town or for a swim in the lake.
Week 2: Dangerous beauty
Monday, June 26
Tuesday, June 27
– Readings: 1) Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1936). 2) Anthony Julius, Transgressions: The Offences of Art (2002), chapter 1 (“A Transgressive Work and its Defences”).
- 8:00 PM: Italian dinner at Osteria dei vecchi sapori (via Carmagnola 3).
Wednesday, June 28
– Readings: 1) Thomas Frank, The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism (1997), chapter 6 (“Think Young: Youth Culture and Creativity”). 2) Henry A. Giroux, Disturbing Pleasures: Learning Popular Culture (1994), chapter 1 (“Consuming Social Change: The United Colors of Benetton”).
– Slideshow and discussion: The Benetton campaigns.
- Italy on screen (room 401): Bella addormentata, directed by Marco Bellocchio (2012).
Thursday, June 29-30
Field trip: Veneto
- 8:00: Coach bus leaves from the Residence Pola.
- 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.
- Guest lecturer: Luca Baraldi (Istituto Superiore di Scienze Religiose di Monte Berico), The Culture of Carnival.
– Reading: Mikhail Bakhtin, “The Carnival.”
Saturday, July 1
[# Summer sales begin in Milan.]
Sunday, July 2
[# In Siena: Palio della Madonna di Provenzano. Broadcasted live on television in the evening].
Week 3: Beauty and time
Monday, July 3
Tuesday, July 4
Guest lecturer: Laura Branchizio (fashion business advisor)
– Readings: 1) Giacomo Leopardi, “Dialogue Between Fashion and Death” (1824). 2) Roland Barthes, The Language of Fashion, chapters 1 and 2.
2:30 PM: Fashion tour with Laura Branchizio
- Visit to Breramode Showroom (via Carlo Botta 8).
- Visit to Miaoran Studio (designer Ran Miao’s atelier).
- Visit to the concept store M Collective (via Regina Giovanna 1).
Wednesday, July 5
Guest lecturer: Pier Luigi Sacco, Heritage and public space
- 8:00 PM: Italian dinner at Pizzeria Naturale (Via Gaetano de Castillia, 24).
Thursday, July 6
– Reading: Elaine Scarry, On Beauty and Being Just (1999).
- 3:00 PM: Italy on screen (room 502): L’ultimo bacio, directed by Gabriele Muccino (2001).
Friday, July 7
Field trip: Torino.
- 7:45: Coach bus leaves from the Residence Pola.
- 10:30: Guided tour of the National Museum of Cinema, with its unique collection of objects related to the history of motion pictures. The museum is located inside the Mole Antonelliana, a bizarre and fascinating monument which is the symbol of the City of Torino.
- Lunch at Groferia Piemonteisa (via S. Tommaso, 7).
- Visit to the Palazzo Reale, a baroque palace that was the residence of the royal House of Savoy.
- Free time to walk in the city center.
Sunday, July 9
[7:00 PM, in Siena: # Palio event: draw of the three contrade that will join Chiocciola, Istrice, Oca, Onda, Selva, Torre, Valdimontone in the Palio].
Week 4: Beauty and innovation
Monday, July 10
Francesco Erspamer and Pier Luigi Sacco, Culture, crossovers, and innovation
– Readings: 1) Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Futurist Manifesto (1909). 2) Tibor Scitovsky, The Joyless Economy: The Psychology of Human Satisfaction, chapter 3 (“The Pursuit of Novelty”).
- 3:30 PM: Italy on screen (room 502): Il capitale umano, directed by Paolo Virzì (2013).
Tuesday, July 11
Wednesday, July 12
10:00 AM: Fashion tour with Federico Poletti (fashion journalist and independent curator).
- Visit to Milano Unica and Orgin (at Fiera di Milano).
2:00 PM: Review
4:00 PM, room 502: Guest lecturer: Massimo Buscema (director of Semeion, expert in algorithms, artificial intelligence, artificial neural networks), Innovation, beauty, and complexity.
- 8:30 PM: Italian dinner at Antica Focacceria S. Francesco (via S. Paolo 15).
Thursday, July 13
- 3:30 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.
Friday, July 14
Field trip: Lake Maggiore
- 8:00: Coach bus leaves from Residence Pola.
- Visit of Isola Bella and its terraced gardens; guided tour of Borromeo Palace.
- Lunch on the Isola dei Pescatori.
- Visit of the medieval castle Rocca di Angera and the Museum of Dolls and Toys.
Saturday, July 15
- 11:00: Guided tour of Armani/Silos, a fashion art museum dedicated to the Armani style.
Sunday, July 16
Program moves to Siena.
- Italian dinner at Trattoria Papei.
[# 9:00-6:00: Antiques market in Piazza del Mercato.]
Week 5: Leadership and fiction
Monday, July 17
- Savor Siena walk (2 hours; first group: 10:00 to 12:30; second group 12:30 to 3:00): taste cheeses, salami, ham, bread, olive oil, aged vinegar, wine, coffee, cakes, honey, saffron—with an emphasis on what is really typical of Siena.
Tuesday, July 18
– Readings: 1) Eric Slaughter, The State as a Work of Art, chapter 2 (“Aesthetics and the Science of Politics”). 2) Doris Sommer, The Work of Art in the World, chapter 1 (“From the Top: Government-Sponsored Creativity.”
- 3:45 PM: Film (location Padiglione esterno, room A): Palio, directed by Cosima Spender (2015).
Wednesday, July 19
– Readings: 1) Brian Boyd, On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction (2009), part 2 (“Evolution and Art”). 2) Catherine Gallagher, “The Rise of Fictionality” (2006).
Thursday, July 20
– Reading: Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince (1513) [English trans. Peter Bondanella].
- 3:45 PM: Italy on screen (Padiglione esterno, room A): Shun Li and the Poet, directed by Andrea Segre (2011).
- 8:30 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.
Friday, July 21
Field trip: Florence.
- 8:20 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: Visit to Museo Ferragamo, a fashion museum dedicated to the life and work of Italian shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo and his company.
- 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!
Week 6: Economics of beauty
Monday, July 24
Tuesday, July 25
– Readings: 1) Lee Devin and Robert D. Austin, The Soul of Design: Harnessing the Power of Plot to Create Extraordinary Products (2012), part 2 (“The Component Part of Form”). 2) Arvind Singhal and Everett M. Rogers, Entertainment-Education: A Communication Strategy for Social Change (1999), chapter 1 (“Entertainment-Education”). 3) Antonio Strati, “The Aesthetic Approach in Organization Studies,” in Stephen Andrew Lindstead and Heather Joy Hopfl (eds.), The Aesthetics of Organization (2000).
- Italy on screen (location TBA): La dolce vita, directed by Federico Fellini (1960). Discussion to follow at the Refugio.
Wednesday, July 26
– Readings: 1) Martha Nussbaum, Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life (1995), chapter 4 (“Poets as Judges”).
- 3:00 PM: Guided tour of Santa Maria della Scala, former hospital of the city, now a museum.
– Guest lecturer: Pier Luigi Sacco, Culture and health.
- Italian dinner at Trattoria Fonte Giusta (via Camollia 102).
Thursday, July 27
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 archeological site of Pieve di Pava, the hot springs of Bagno Vignoni, and the Abbey of San’Antino.
- Wine tasting in Montalcino, home of the famous Brunello wine. Free time to visit the medieval town.
Friday, July 28
LONG WEEKEND: NO CLASSES
Week 7: Urban beauty
Monday, July 31
Tuesday, August 1
– Readings: 1) Franco Moretti, Signs Taken for Wonders: On the Sociology of Literary Forms (1983), chapter 4 (“Homo Palpitans: Balzac’s Novels and Urban Personality”). 2) Davide Panagia, The Political Life of Sensation (2009), chapter 2 (“The Piazza, the Edicola, and the Noise of Utterance”).
- 5:30 PM: Tour of Palazzo Pubblico with a close analysis of Lorenzetti’s Allegory of Good and Bad Government.
Wednesday, August 2
Pier Luigi Sacco, The Creative City.
– Reading: Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities (Le città invisibili) (1972) [English trans. William Weaver].
- Italian dinner at Il Pomodorino.
Thursday, August 3
– Readings: 1) Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities. 2) Giovanni Boccaccio, Decameron (1350), Introduction to Day 1, novelle I, 1 (Ciappelletto), X, 9 (Messer Torello).
- Italy on screen: Le fate ignoranti, directed by Ferzan Özpetek (2001).
Friday, August 4
Field trip: Lucca
- 8:00 AM: Coach bus leaves from Porta Romana.
- 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).
- Guest lecturers: 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.”
- Free time to visit Lucca.
Saturday, August 5, and Sunday, August 6
[# Antiques market in Arezzo.]
Week 8: Social beauty
Monday, August 7 (San Niccolò, room 401)
– Oral presentations: One chapter from Crispin Sartwell’s Six Names of Beauty (2004). [Each group of students will have to read only one of the six essays of the book (“Beauty,” “Yapha,” “Sundara,” “To Kalon,” “Wabi-Sabi,” “Hozho”) and present it in class].
- Beauty: to be assigned.
- Yapha: to be assigned.
- Sundara: to be assigned.
- To Kalon: to be assigned.
- Wabi-Sabi: to be assigned.
- Hozho: to be assigned.
Tuesday, August 8
– Readings: 1) Selections from Giorgio Vasari’s The Lives of the Artists (1550) and Benvenuto Cellini’s autobiography (1562). 2) Jonathan K. Nelson and Richard J. Zeckhauser, The Patron’s Payoff: Conspicuous Commissions in Italian Renaissance Art (2008), chapter 3 (“Theories of Distinction: Magnificence and Signaling”).
– Screening: Empire of the Eye: The Magic of Illusion (2008).
Wednesday, August 9
– Readings: 1) John Dewey, Art as Experience (1934), chapters 1 (“The Live Creature”) and 14 (“Art and Civilization”). 2) David Rotheberg, Survival of the Beautiful: Art, Science, and Evolution, chapter 6 (“Creative Experiments”).
- Italy on screen: La grande bellezza, directed by Paolo Sorrentino (2013).
- 8:30 PM: Medieval dinner at Il Gallo Nero (via del Porrione 65).
Thursday, August 10
[# Palio event: Terra in piazza (preparation of the dirt track); presentation of the drappellone (banner)].
[# Night: Perseid meteor shower].
Friday, August 11
- 3:00 PM: Guided tour of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the oldest bank in the world still operating (it was founded in 1472).
Saturday, August 12, and Sunday, August 13
[# Palio events: August 13: La tratta (selection of the horses); and first trial.]
Monday, August 14
– Slideshow and discussion of the final projects.
- 5:00 PM: Guided tour of the new museum of the contrada Tartuca, with architect Andrea Milani.
[# Palio events: second and third trials.]
Tuesday, August 15
– Slideshow and discussion of the logo projects.
[# Palio events: prova generale (final trial); and cena della prova generale (open-air dinner in each contrada).]
Wednesday, August 16
(rain date: August 17)
Friday, August 18