Italian Studies 248: Trionfi/Triumphs

Instructor: Professor Henrike Christiane Lange

This course fulfills an elective requirement for the DE in REMS.

The seminar Trionfi/Triumphs will examine a variety of triumphal gestures in history: Rites, processions, monuments, and iconographies from ancient Roman triumphs to the present day. Stations of this cultural history investigation include: Ancient arches and their decoration, booty and spolia, Christian medieval adaptations in rites and reliquaries, Renaissance triumphs in painting, print, and literature (Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio), iconic imagery of triumphs (Mantegna, Dürer, Rubens), the Latino tradition of religious processions, operatic adaptations, Fascist triumphal imagery under the direction of Mussolini and Leni Riefenstahl, and other modern examples oftriumphs and reversals in contemporary Italian cinema such as in Roberto Benigni’s La vita è bella.

Depending on the students’ backgrounds, interests, and level of Italian language skills, the course will usually combine some introductory remarks with the discussion of readings and artworks. Students will contribute small presentations on a text and an artwork throughout the term, and present their seminar paper topic to the group towards the end of class.

Prerequisites: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

You should have read Petrarch’s Triumphs (in English or Italian) at least once in your life before the beginning of our seminar meetings.

The course will be taught in English with readings in English and Italian. Readings in Italian will be discussed striking for balance between the participating students’ overall knowledge of Italian and the authenticity of the original texts. This means that we will sometimes look very closely into the original Italian for textual analysis, but do so communicating in English.

Taught in English.
May be taken for 2 or 4 units.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes