Institution: La Trobe University, School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Course Code: HUS3STT
Course Lecturers: Dr Nicole Prunster & Dr Gianluca Caputo
Credit Points: 30 credit points
Prerequisites: HUS3STT is available both to La Trobe students and members of the general public not wishing to take the course for credit; no prior knowledge of Italian is required. La Trobe University students majoring in Italian or History must be eligible to enrol in a 3rd-year subject in 2019.
Enrolments: available for participants enrolled in an undergraduate course at La Trobe University or at another university; for participants not currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree wishing to take the subject for credit; or for those wishing to travel and attend classes but not wishing to submit essays and give talks (ie as a ‘non-assessed’ audit student). For further details see ‘How to Book’.
Assessment: For assessment details, please contact the on-line La Trobe University undergraduate handbook, searching under HUS3STT.
About the Course
Once again, Australians Studying Abroad and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at La Trobe University are collaborating to offer one of the University’s undergraduate courses on site overseas: HUS3STT Renaissance Italy, taught in Tuscany (previously offered as ITA3REI Studying Renaissance Italy in Prato). The course will run for four weeks and is open to La Trobe students, cross-institutional students and to non-credit participants. This course provides an exciting opportunity to be part of a group of La Trobe students (including students of mature age) studying an intensive, accredited course on Renaissance Italy near what is considered the ‘cradle of the Renaissance': Florence. All participants in the course, whether or not they are enrolled as La Trobe students, will attend formal lectures and will participate in tutorials and excursions while living in Prato.
This course is an approved elective for La Trobe University degrees and has a 30 credit-point value. In this subject students are offered an introduction to Italian Humanism and Italian Renaissance literature and society through the study of representative prose and verse works. Particular attention is paid to the manner in which a new vision of society and of individual merit evolves in the period. Writers introduced will include Petrarch, Boccaccio, Lorenzo de’ Medici, Machiavelli, Della Casa, Della Porta. All reading material is in English translation.
The cost of the subject in 2019 excludes travel insurance and the usual HECS-HELP fee for a 30-credit-point subject. This price includes return airfare, accommodation, local transport, and all formal excursions, including entrance fees to museums and galleries. No participant may travel without travel insurance.
Course Lecturer/Academic Enquiries
Dr Nicole Prunster
La Trobe University, College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Nicole Prunster is Honorary Associate in the Italian Program at La Trobe University. Besides having published in the area of Renaissance literature and culture, she regularly taught Italian language and Renaissance history and literature. Nicole has previously led this study tour (offered as ITA3REI) in 2013, 2015 and 2017.
Dr Gianluca Caputo
RMIT University, College of Design & Social Context
School of Global, Urban & Social Studies
Gianluca Caputo teaches contemporary Italian language and culture at RMIT University. In addition, his teaching interests include Medieval and Renaissance Italian history and literature, with particular attention to the representation and interpretation of ideas across poetry and visual arts. He has taught courses on the literary birth of Love in the Sicilian School, and its evolution in Dante’s Commedia, Petrarch’s Canzoniere, and Boccaccio’s Decameron. Gianluca has previously co-led this study tour (offered as ITA3REI) in 2015 and 2017.
How the Course Works
Lectures and tutorials are scheduled mostly during the morning between 9am and 1pm, and while the afternoons have no formal classes, participants in the course will need to set aside several hours in which to do the reading for the following day’s class. There will still be time, however, to explore Prato and nearby towns such as Lucca, Pisa, Pistoia and, of course, Florence, which is half an hour away by local train or bus. Four full-day excursions to nearby cities are part of the formal program.
Prato and Hotel President
Lectures and tutorials will be held in Prato at the Hotel President. Prato is located twenty-five minutes by train from central Florence, and fifteen minutes from the Florence international airport. Prato lies within a region of national and international importance for its role in contemporary Europe and for its celebrated Renaissance past. Unlike its larger and better known neighbour, it has few tourists and is therefore an ideal environment in which to gain an understanding of the history, culture and literature of Renaissance Italy. The Hotel President provides a venue for lectures and tutorials and is within easy walking distance from your accommodation in Prato.
3 x 0.5-hour in-class quizzes
- Value: 20%
- There will be 3 x 0.5-hour quizzes on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Friday of class in Prato. These will be based on information presented in lectures; they will be graded promptly and returned to students.
2,000-word presentation prepared in Melbourne in advance for oral delivery in Italy
- Value: 20%
- Due Date: TBA
- Each student will be expected to present one of the works (a poem, short story, letter, book chapters, etc.) from our readings. These presentations will be done in pairs according to the schedule which you will be given; no changes to this schedule will be allowed.
Four critical and informed fieldwork exercises (4 x 500 words) on sites/cities visited
- Value: 25%
- Due Date: TBA
- Four critical and reflective travel journal entries, based on sites/cities/cultural monuments visited in Italy.
3,000-word research essay
- Value: 35%
- Due Date: TBA
- Final Essay Topics (choose one only):
- How are women presented in Italian Medieval and Renaissance poetry?
- Discuss Boccaccio and Machiavelli’s understanding of the role of Fortuna and virtù in human life.
- How do Boccaccio and Machiavelli view human nature?
- How do Lorenzo de’ Medici and Girolamo Savonarola view the world and our place in it?
- Machiavelli’s Lucrezia and Della Porta’s Carizia: compare and contrast
- How is the family represented in the literary works that you have studied?
Essential Texts/Required Readings
- Niccolò Machiavelli, The Portable Machiavelli. Trans. Peter E. Bonadella & Mark Musa (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979).
- Additional reading material will be available online to those participating in the course.