Italian Studies Minor

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The Italian Studies Minor is an interdisciplinary minor, consisting of a total of 6 courses. The Minor provides a flexible structure, which affords students the possibility to pursue their interests and passions while ensuring comprehensive study of Italian language and culture.


Faculty Contributing to the Italian Studies Minor
Dr. Steven Coutinho (Philosophy)
Dr. Thomas Cragin (History)
Dr. Jack Gambino (Political Science)
Dr. Kassandra Hartford (Music)
Dr. Daniel Leisawitz, Program Director (Languages, Literatures & Cultures)
Dr. Elena FitzPatrick Sifford (Art History)
Dr. William Tighe (History)
Ms. Daniela Viale (Languages, Literatures & Cultures)


Learning Goals
Upon completion of their course of study, Italian Studies students demonstrate:

  1. Proficiency in Italian across the four language skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking), as well as a high level of cultural competency.

  2. The critical skills necessary to read, analyze and interpret a variety of texts (literary, visual, historical) through writing, discussion and other forms of analytical and creative expression.

  3. A nuanced understanding of the cultural and religious diversity of Italian society, and of Italy’s roles in the contemporary world.

  4. An understanding of Italian history from the medieval period to the present day, and the complexity of the cultural, economic, religious and political currents that have shaped the lives of Italians.

  5. Familiarity with canonical and non-canonical works of Italian literature and art and with the cultural and historical contexts that gave rise to them.

  6. An understanding of Italian contributions to diverse realms of intellectual and artistic endeavor, which have had global influence, including theatre, film, literature, art, science and political thought.


Program Structure
Intermediate Italian I & II  (or the equivalent taken at another institution, upon approval) are required for the minor. Students with prior knowledge of Italian can place out of Intermediate Italian I and/or II, in which case they would be exempted from taking them. Students placing out of Intermediate Italian I would begin their study at Intermediate Italian II and complete the minor with four electives. Students placing out of Intermediate Italian II would be exempted from the Intermediate Italian requirement, and complete the minor with five elective courses.

Of the 4 courses in addition to Intermediate Italian I & II, students may choose from a list of pre-approved electives or request approval for a course from the program director. The list of pre-approved courses is growing every semester, so please contact the program director for an updated list of electives. Some courses on the list have pre-requisites, so students are asked to read course descriptions carefully. As of fall 2022, the courses on offer include:

• ARH 208. Baroque Art
• ARH 301. Italian Renaissance Art
• ENG 313/314. Medieval Literature
• HST 247. Civil War, Holocaust, Crisis: Europe 1900-1945
• HST 315/316. Renaissance
• HST 388. Modern Italy
• ITL 220. The Italian-American Experience
• ITL 313. Italian Theatre in Translation: Spectacle, Tradition & Innovation
• ITL 315. Eatalians: An Exploration of Italian Culinary Culture
• ITL 321. Cinecittà: Italian Cities in Italian Cinema
• ITL 323. Jewish Italy: Two Thousand Years of Culture & History
• ITL 387. Advanced Italian: Texts in Context
• ITL 388. Translating and Performing Italian Drama
• MUS 219. Opera
• MUS 221. Western Music History I
• PHL 281. Language, Communication and Interpretation
• THR 351. Commedia dell’arte

If a student chooses to study abroad, up to two courses taken in Italy can be counted toward the minor. Students studying abroad must take at least one ITL course after their return to Muhlenberg.

Please contact Dr. Daniel Leisawitz for details about the Italian program and Italian Studies Minor.