ROME AND THE MARGINS OF MODERNISM

Graduate Courses

CIMS 584 - ROME AND THE MARGINS OF MODERNISM

ITAL 584 | COML 576
401 |SEM |Filippo Trentin |M 4-7pm |FBH 138

Between 1945 and 1975 Rome experienced a radical process of modernization which transformed what had been known as the “Eternal City” into a landscape of decay and contradiction, an urban territory characterized by the cohabitation of ancient monuments, modern highways and brutalist buildings. At the end of this process, “Rome” no longer referred to a compact urban space, but to an almost boundless metropolitan territory – the second biggest in Europe after Greater London – a vast expanse marked by dramatic social inequality and populated by urban shacks and immense housing complexes that stretched from the Mediterranean coast to the Apennine Mountains.

In this seminar we will study novels, poems and films that observed and documented Rome’s expansion through the critical lens of the new modernist studies. We will consider the historical emergence of neorealism (Rossellini, De Sica), the Italian “New Wave” of the 1960s (Pasolini, Antonioni, Fellini), and the works of experimental women writers such as Elsa Morante and Dacia Maraini, paying particular attention to the relationship between material space and literary/cinematic form. At the core of this seminar is the question of modernism’s relationship to the material world. Thus, we will explore subtle distinctions between phenomenological and materialist approaches to reality within contemporary theory, and recent debates such as those on “peripheral realisms/modernisms,” “surface reading” and the “descriptive turn” in literary studies. Possible readings from Adorno, Agamben, Barad, Bazin, Benjamin, Deleuze, Gramsci, Grosz, Jameson, Love, Lukács, Kracauer, Merleau-Ponty, Rancière.

last updated 11/01/2017 - 10:32am

Cinema Studies Program
209A Fisher-Bennett Hall ⋅ 3340 Walnut Street ⋅ Philadelphia, PA 19104 ⋅ (215) 898-8782