This course is offered online with synchronous and asynchronous components.
This course will explore the role of women and ideals of femininity in Italian culture through a variety of documents, literary texts, and works of art, from the thirteenth century to contemporary Italy. We will take into consideration aesthetic and behavioral models presented by male and female writers and artists, and we will compare them to historical accounts of women in a variety of roles across society and time. We will examine, among others, written works by Dante, Petrarca, and Boccaccio as well as visual documents by Ambrogio Lorenzetti; the writings of fifteenth century male and female Petrarchist poets and of codifiers of society such as Baldassar Castiglione and Moderata Fonte, as well as paintings by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Bronzino, and works by Sofonisba Anguissola, Marietta Robusti, and Artemisia Gentileschi. Finally, we will examine the presence of women on the literary and artistic scene in the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth centuries, from Giuseppe Parini's vacuous aristocrats and Carlo Goldoni's budding business women to the intellectuals, workers, and entrepreneurs that helped shape the unified Italian state, to Francesco De Andrè’s prostitutes, Oriana Fallaci's rejection of motherhood, and the Italian feminist movement after the 1960s, with an eye also to the visual arts and cinema. The course will be taught in English. There are no pre-requisites.