Milan and Siena 2018

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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).
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 two exceptions: June 16 and 17 (welcome dinner and visit to HangarBicocca), and July 14 and 15 (trip to Isola Bella and move to Siena).
– Prof. Erspamer’s office hours are by appointment. 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.
– Chris’ office hours are TBA or by appointment. At IULM: room TBS. 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 program.

[ID-00]: indicates events that can and should be reviewed in “Italian Diary” (see Requirements]/

No prerequisites
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.

Italian language
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.

Milano panorama 960x150


Saturday, June 16
Students arrive in Milan

  • Welcome dinner at pizzeria La Magolfa (via Magolfa 15).

Sunday, June 17

  • 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). [ID-01]

hangarbicocca kiefer 960x150

Week 1: What is beauty

Monday, June 18
– Reading: Douglas Harper, Visual Sociology (Routledge, 2012), chapter 3 (“Reflexivity”).

Tuesday, June 19
– 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).

Wednesday, June 20
– Reading: Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment (1790), Part I, section I, books I and II.

  • 3:30 PM: Tour of Fondazione Prada (including the exhibit Post Zang Tung Tuuum: Art Life Politics, Italia 1918-1943). [ID-03]

Thursday, June 21
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).

Friday, June 22

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. [ID-04]
    – Reading: Gabriele d’Annunzio, Pleasure (Il piacere) (1881) [English trans. Lara Gochin Raffaelli].
  • Boat trip around the peninsula of Sirmione. [ID-05]
    Free time to tour the medieval town or for a swim in the lake.


Week 2: Dangerous beauty

Monday, June 25

Tuesday, June 26
– 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”).

Wednesday, June 27
– 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 28-29

Field trip: Veneto

June 28

  • 8:00: Coach bus leaves from the Residence Pola.
  • Guided tour of Fabrica, Benetton’s communication research center. [ID-06]
  • Prosecco tasting (Cantina Gregoletto). [ID-07]
  • Overnight stay in San Martino castle. [ID-08]

June 29

  • Visit to Vicenza, the city of Andrea Palladio. [ID-09]
    – Visit to Villa La Rotonda.
    – Lunch at Ristorante Il Ceppo (via Palladio 196). [ID-10]
    – 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.”



Week 3: Beauty and time

Monday, July 2

[# Palio della Madonna di Provenzano. Broadcasted live on television in the evening].

Tuesday, July 3
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 [ID-11]

  • 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 4
Guest lecturer: Pier Luigi Sacco, Heritage and public space

Thursday, July 5
– 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 6

Field trip: Trento. [ID-12]

  • 7:00: Coach bus leaves from the Residence Pola.
  • Visit to the Gallerie, two former road tunnels that were transformed into a history museum and an animated archive. With Giuseppe Ferrandi, director of the Foundation of the Historical Museum of Trentino.
  • Ropeway ride to Sardagna. Typical regional lunch at Osteria San Rocco. [ID-13]
  • Visit to MUSE science museum and Le Albere urban expansion project, both designed by architect Renzo Piano using the most innovative eco-sustainable technologies.
  • Free time to visit Trento.

Trento MUSA 960x150

Week 4: Beauty and innovation

Monday, July 9

Tuesday, 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).

Wednesday, July 11

10:00 AM: Fashion tour with Federico Poletti (fashion journalist and independent curator). [ID-14]

  • Visit to Milano Unica and Origin (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.

Thursday, July 12
Midterm exam.

  • 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). [ID-16]
    – Workshop: Creating our program’s logo.

Friday, July 13

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. [ID-17] 
  • Lunch on the Isola dei Pescatori.
  • Visit of the medieval castle Rocca di Angera and the Museum of Dolls and Toys.

Saturday, July 14

  • 11:00: Guided tour of Armani/Silos, a fashion art museum dedicated to the Armani style. [ID-18] 



Sunday, July 15
Program moves to Siena.

  • Italian dinner at Trattoria Papei. [ID-19] 

SienaLandscape 960x150

Week 5: Leadership and fiction

Monday, July 16
Sections (check schedule).

  • 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 typical of Siena. [ID-20] 

Tuesday, July 17
– 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): Palio, directed by Cosima Spender (2015).

Wednesday, July 18
– 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 19
– Reading: Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince (1513) [English trans. Peter Bondanella].

  • 3:45 PM: Italy on screen (Padiglione esterno): 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. [ID-21] 

Friday, July 20

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. [ID-22] 
  • 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. [ID-23] 
    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!

5 cappuccino art 960x150

Week 6: Economics of beauty

Monday, July 23

  • 5:30 PM: Tour of Palazzo Pubblico with a close analysis of Lorenzetti’s Allegory of Good and Bad Government. [ID-24] 

Tuesday, July 24
– 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: Padiglione esterno): La dolce vita, directed by Federico Fellini (1960). Discussion to follow at the Refugio.

Wednesday, July 25
– Readings: 1) Martha Nussbaum, Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life (1995), chapter 4 (“Poets as Judges”).

  • Italian dinner at Trattoria Fonte Giusta (via Camollia 102).

Thursday, July 26
Field trip: The Val d’Orcia and Montalcino. With archeologist. Stefano Campana (University of Siena). [ID-25] 

  • 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 27


Week 7: Urban beauty

Monday, July 30

Tuesday, July 31
– 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”).

  • 3:00 PM: Guest lecturer: Pier Luigi Sacco, Culture and health.
    – Guided tour of Santa Maria della Scala, former hospital of the city, now a museum. [ID-26] 
  • 8:30: Italian dinner at Il Pomodorino (via Camporegio 13).

Wednesday, August 1
Pier Luigi Sacco, The Creative City.
– Reading: Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities (Le città invisibili) (1972) [English trans. William Weaver].

Thursday, August 2
– 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 3

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. [ID-27]
  • 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.” [ID-28] 
  • Free time to visit Lucca.

Saturday, August 4, and Sunday, August 5
[# Antiques market in Arezzo.]


Week 8: Social beauty

Monday, August 6
– 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:
  • Yapha:
  • Sundara:
  • To Kalon:
  • Wabi-Sabi:
  • Hozho:

Tuesday, August 7
– 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”).

Wednesday, August 8
– 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).
  • 8:15 PM: Italian dinner at Osteria Babazuf (via Pantaneto 85).

Thursday, August 9
11:00 AM: General review.

  • 3:00 PM: Guided tour of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the oldest bank in the world still operating (it was founded in 1472). [ID-29] 

8:15 PM (sala S. Galgano, 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. [ID-30] 

Friday, August 10

Field trip: TBA

[# Palio events: Terra in piazza (early morning: preparation of the dirt track in Piazza del Campo); 7:00 PM presentation of the drappellone (banner) in Cortile del Podestà, in Palazzo Pubblico]. [ID-31] 
[# Night: Perseid meteor shower].

Palio1 960x150

Monday, August 13
Final exam/1

[# Palio events: La tratta (selection of the horses); and first trial.] [ID-32] 

Tuesday, August 14
Final exam/2

[# Palio events: second and third trials.]

Wednesday, August 15
Slideshow and discussion of the final projects.

[# Palio events: prova generale (final trial); and cena della prova generale (open-air dinner in each contrada).] [ID-33] 

Thursday, August 16
The Palio
(rain date: Friday, August 17)

Friday, August 17
Slideshow and discussion of the logo projects.

Saturday, August 18
Program ends.


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