Wondering what courses to take at NYU Florence next semester? We've highlighted a few courses below that are new or that former students highly recommended. These courses provide opportunities to discover lesser known facets of Florence and Italy.
Italian Sketchbook: Travel Writing and Digital Storytelling - IDSEM-UG 9205 - 2 points
Why do we travel? How do we document it and remember it? This course will explore how many different travellers, such as pilgrims, explorers, fugitives, and tourists have represented their own, and others', mobility with a focus on two primary impulses: observation and creation. We will trace how traveling subjects observed and recorded the world as expressions of artistic representation, scientific discovery and comparative sociocultural analysis AND we will focus on the strategies and techniques, in particular the interchange between word and image, employed by authors and artists as we translate these familiar approaches into new digital forms of storytelling. Italy, and in particular Florence, will serve as the most immediate conceptual and physical context for investigation as we link the textual and visual material studied in the classroom with the world beyond the boundaries of the La Pietra campus.
Modern Movements in Italian Art: 1861 - Present Day - ARTH-UA 9850 - 4 points
This course investigates the scope of Italian artistic ingenuity during the past century and a half and puts it in reference to contemporary art movements. Learn more from Professor Caterina Toschi and some of her former students.
Professor Caterina Toschi explains why students should consider studying contemporary art in Renaissance Florence.
Florence is a well-known tourist and study destination traditionally seen as a place to study Renaissance art history. It embodies the archetype of Italian art. This has often lead to institutional indifference towards contemporary art. Artists reacted to this apathy by creating experimental research laboratories, interacting across poetry, music, architecture and visual arts: from «Lacerba» and visual poetry, to Radical architecture and artist-run spaces. Florence was a vital environment for avantgarde and neo-avantgarde during the 20th century. Just recently, city institutions are beginning to invest in contemporary art, to make it central in public policy decisions when addressing new kinds of public consumption of cultural offerings. Studying contemporary art in Florence means understanding the potential of modern artistic culture as compared to the past, learning how contemporary art has offered a different perspective on historical memory and thus better understanding the meaning of the artistic heritage for our present.
"Great class, lots of information, really interesting"
"We have learnt a lot in the course, probably the most out of all my classes. Each class was filled with lots of content that was very interesting and the professor was extremely good at making sure we understood as there was a lot... I would defiantly recommend this class and professor to others."
"I really enjoyed Caterina. She's a lovely, INCREDIBLY intelligent woman who seemed to genuinely care about us on an academic as well as personal level."
This course investigates the scope of Italian artistic ingenuity during the past century and a half and puts it in reference to contemporary art movements. Due to Italy’s strong historical legacy, modern Italian artists and architects have gone through an intense struggle to break from academic models. Initially the new movements, such as Impressionism and Art Nouveau, arrived from outside sources, yet beginning with the Macchiaoli, followed by the Futurists, Rationalists, Arte Povera, and Transavanguardia, Italians were frequently originators of the discourses of new artistic movements. The tide of trends periodically seceded from traditions and then returned to them in critical ways, seen in the metaphysical paintings of Giorgio de Chirico or the wistful pavilions of Aldo Rossi. During the past decade Italy has produced several new institutions for contemporary art and architecture, including MART in Rovereto, the Museo del Novecento (Museum of the 20th century) in Milan, and MAXXI (Museum of the Arts of the 21st century), devoted specifically to both art and architecture, broadening the historical and critical perspective and providing a stimulus for the art of the future. The course includes two site visits in Florence, one day-trip to Ivrea, one day-trip to Rome.
Black Italia - SCA-UA 9280 - 4 points
This cross-disciplinary course explores issues of “race”, identity and citizenship in colonial and postcolonial Italy.
Black Italia aims to trace and unpack a long passage of unfamiliar Italian history, whose implications are still visible today, namely the complex history of Italy’s racial identity. Despite being portrayed, and portraying itself, as a “monoracial” country, Italian society today is characterised by a pronounced diversity, as one may notice just walking in the street of any Italian city. Yet, such a diversity is often kept invisible, deprived of political rights and framed by the media in negative terms, triggering a certain tolerance of racism, even at institutional levels. Thus, why are so many Italians unaware of their country’s racial history? What are the social and cultural implications of such a selective memory? What is the lived experience of people of colour in a country that considered itself as homogeneously “White”? Starting from Italian colonialism in East Africa in the late nineteenth century, going through the Fascist regime and the racial laws, and then by analysing postcolonial issues of citizenship, migration, racism and belonging, Black Italia provides students with a better understanding of Italy’s current complex social and cultural intricacies.
This cross-disciplinary course explores issues of “race”, identity and citizenship in colonial and postcolonial Italy drawing from Sociology, History, Critical Race Theory, Gender Studies and Media and Cultural Studies.
There are two sections to this course. The first part focuses on the colonial period and it will provide students with conceptualizations of “race” in Italy, going from the Liberal Period to the end of the Fascist regime (1861-1941) passing through the colonial mission in East Africa and the proclamation of the Empire of Africa Orientale
Italiana in 1936.
The second part of the course analyzes the “postcolonial” phase, going from the end of WWII to 2017. This section will explore, amongst other things, post-war issues of métissage, the immigration phase in the 90s, which marked a historical turning point in the country, and the persistence of what can be defined as a specific “colour line divide” ruling in Italy today. The analysis of blackness in Italy highlights internal tensions at the core of national identity, clearly based on racializing practices. Through the use of sociological research and cultural analysis, this course will offer an extensive overview on the construction and representation of “race” in Italy and its effects on the everyday life of racialized subjects.
History of Immigration in Europe & United States from World War II to Present - HIST-UA 9186 - 4 points
In both Europe and the US, the topic of immigration is highly politicized, and frequently occupies the center of national and regional debates on identity, citizenship and belonging. This course provides a comparative overview to the history of migration in Europe and the US.
On almost a daily basis, the topic of immigration is in the global headlines and it is often used as a political tool in order to gain consensus from both left and right wing parties. Why is immigration such a crucial and heated topic today? Why is the presence of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers reaching Europe, for instance, having such a significant impact on the current social and political agenda of the European government? And why is immigration treated as a “new” phenomenon? Although globalisation has changed the way people move around the globe today, many who are considered “voluntary” migrants have in reality no choice but to leave their country in search of a better life style. Therefore it is essential to acknowledge that migration means movements of people bringing along personal histories, families and cultural backgrounds. By providing students with a general comparative (US/Europe) introduction to the history of migration since WWII to the present day, this course will allow them to more deeply understand contemporary migration policy and debates surrounding integration and multiculturalism and to have a better grasp of the society they are currently living.
This four credit course explores how the dynamics of migration have shaped identity and citizenship. By providing students with a range of theoretical approaches, the course will address questions of migration, national identity and belonging from a multidisciplinary perspective drawing from (amongst other fields): Sociology, History, Geo-Politics, Gender Studies, Black European Studies, and Cultural Studies. Taking the so called “refugee crisis” as a starting point, the course will pay particular attention to the figure and representation of the “migrant” going from Italian mass
migration in the late 19th century to the migrants crossing every day the waters of the Mediterranean in order to reach Fortress Europe. Yet, a course on migration processes undertaken in 2017 Italy cannot limit itself to a purely theoretical framework. Migration means movements of people bringing along personal histories, families and cultural backgrounds. Furthermore the presence of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers reaching Europe is having a significant impact on the current social and political agenda of European government, as in the case of Italy. Therefore the course will include a series of fieldtrips aimed at showing students how immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers insert themselves into the labor market and society in Italy.