Curriculum Overview 


Students who choose to study Italian at Franklin and Marshall immerse themselves in the rich humanistic tradition of Italian culture and reflect critically on Italy’s unique position in global society. Those who earn a major or minor in Italian attain proficiency in the language and gain a solid knowledge of Italy’s contributions to literature, cinema, the arts, and politics. Engaging in humanistic inquiry for its own sake, students of Italian learn to excel in critical analysis, creative thinking and effective written and oral communication, with the added cognitive and practical benefits of immersion in a foreign language. They thus become creative interpreters of Italian culture while acquiring core skills that are easily transferable to any number of other areas. Students who complete a major or minor in Italian will have built a foundation for life-long learning and success in any 21st-century career.

Italy is conceived broadly and dynamically in this program, as a space shaped by global forces and the circulation of objects, people, and ideas across borders. Italian at F&M is typically pursued as a four-year course of study in which students take one course in the program during each semester they are on campus and also study abroad with F&M’s six-week summer program in Tuscany and/or for a semester or a full year at an approved program in Padua, Milan, Florence, Perugia or elsewhere.
On campus, small classes allow students to work closely with faculty in an informal atmosphere that encourages the pursuit of individual intellectual interests and learning. Courses are conducted in Italian from the introductory levels, and students are encouraged to practice the language outside of class through a variety of co- and extra- curricular opportunities.

The Italian Minor and Major prepare students for any number of future careers. In some cases, these include research and teaching in the humanities and social sciences: in History, Classics, History of Art, Comparative Literature, Urban Studies, Film Studies, Architecture, or other areas. Italian, on its own or as part of a double or joint major, may also serve as an excellent foundation for a wide range of post-graduate professional programs, including, for example, those in public or business administration, law, or the healing arts. Recent graduates of the Department have pursued careers in education and research, government and diplomatic service, travel and tourism, music and art.

Italian Major
The Italian Department offers a major with two distinct tracks, one in Italian and one in Italian Studies.

The Italian track involves all coursework in the Italian Department, and therefore in the Italian language. This track offers the greatest opportunity for refining, using, and being exposed to the language as a cultural form shaped by its political, historical, literary, artistic, and social contexts.

The Italian Studies track allows students to take two courses for the major outside of the Department. In these two courses, taught in English, students approach Italian history and culture through the lenses of specific humanistic fields: Art History, Classics, Comparative Literature, History, or Music.

The Italian track consists of the following ten courses:

  • ITA201, ITA202, ITA310,
  • one course among ITA354, ITA355, or ITA356
  • two departmental electives at the 200-level or above*
  • two courses among ITA365, ITA366, ITA367, or ITA368
  • one additional elective at the 300 level or above*
  • ITA 481 or another 400-level course.

The Italian Studies track consists of the following ten courses:

  • ITA201, ITA202, ITA310,
  • one course among ITA354, ITA355, or ITA356
  • one departmental elective at the 200-level or above*
  • two courses among ITA365, ITA366, ITA367, or ITA368
  • ITA 481 or another 400-level course,
  • and two courses taught in English, chosen among:
    • Comparative Literary Studies:  Any cross-listed course in ITA/LIT, LIT101 Literatures of the World: Introduction to Comparative  Literary Studies
    • Classics:  CLS/HIS114 History of Ancient Rome, CLS/ART117 Roman Art and Archeology, CLS322 Selected   Studies in Roman History, CLS37X Topics in Roman Art and Archaeology (this is a permanent course even though it has the - 7X ending.)
    • History:    HIS/CLS114 History of Ancient Rome, HIS115 The Middle Ages, HIS117 Early Modern Europe, HIS121 Revolution and Reform: Europe in the 19th Century, and HIS122 Revolution, Dictatorship, and Death: Europe in the 20th Century, HIS315 End of Middle Ages
    • Music:  MUS230 Music History 1: Antiquity to 1750, MUS231 Music History 2: 1750 to Present, MUS285, 385, or 485 Voice
    • Art History:  ART231 Art and Architecture of the Italian Renaissance, ART/CLS117 Roman Art and Archeology


*An elective could be any other 300-level course from the list above, a course taken with F&M in Tuscany, a topics course offered by a visiting or permanent faculty member, or a class taken abroad.

Students who have placed at the 300 level may design a different sequence in consultation with the Department chair. Students may include up to two electives from study abroad in the major with the approval of the Department chair. The writing requirement in the Italian major is met by completion of the regular course sequence required to achieve the major.

Italian Minor

A minor in Italian consists of six courses beyond ITA101. Students must take ITA310 and at least one course among ITA354, ITA355, ITA356, ITA365, ITA366, ITA367, or ITA368.  They may take one additional elective at the 200 level or above, which should be chosen in consultation with the Department chair.  Students must complete all coursework in Italian. Students may include in the minor up to two courses taken abroad with another institution with the approval of the chair.  Students who have placed at the 300 level may design a different sequence in consultation with the Department chair.


Joint and Special Studies Majors

Students are able to integrate Italian Studies and other fields of academic interest by designing a Joint or a Special Studies Major that includes Italian.  A Special Studies Major including Italian will consists of five courses in Italian, five courses divided between two other programs or departments, and one research course, SPC490.   A Joint Major consists of eight courses in Italian and eight courses in another department. Typically, the Italian component of a joint major will consists of ITA201, ITA202, ITA310, two courses among ITA354, ITA355, ITA356, ITA365, ITA366, ITA367, or ITA368, a senior seminar or another 400-level course, and two departmental courses that reflect the intersecting interests of the individual student, selected in consultation with the Department chair.  Joint Majors have combined--for example--Theater, Spanish, English, History, Business Organization and Society with Italian, and Special Studies Majors have designed their own programs in Comparative Literature or Romance Languages.


Study Abroad

A study abroad experience in Italy is integral to the learning goals of the Italian Major and Minor and is strongly encouraged.  Studying in Italy offers the opportunity to practice and strengthen linguistic competence, contextualizes language learning in the evolving social realities of Italy, develops students’ cross-cultural competencies, and constitutes an occasion for self-reflection and self-awareness in the face of cultural difference.  Franklin & Marshall has its own immersion summer study abroad program in Tuscany, offering courses in Italian language and culture, advanced courses in literature, and independent studies, which are fully integrated with the on-campus curriculum (see Summer Travel Courses for information about coursework).  The Department offers this program most summers and financial aid is available.  In recent years, students of Italian have also studied abroad for a semester in the following programs: Boston University in Padova, Arcadia University in Perugia, Sarah Lawrence and Syracuse in Florence, IES in Rome or Milan. See the International Programs section of the Catalog for further information.



Hebrew is sometimes called the holy language (leshon hakodesh), since it is the original language of the Hebrew Bible. Today, it is also a modern spoken language and the official language of the state of Israel. The study of Hebrew confers many benefits, including the ability to  function in and understand modern Israeli society, and a more nuanced comprehension of ancient texts. Franklin & Marshall offers three years of Hebrew language instruction as part of the Judaic Studies minor (see Judaic Studies), an Area Studies minor, or to fulfill the College’s general language requirement. Hebrew classes are designed not only to develop listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills, but also to emphasize appreciation for the culture and history connected with the language. The Judaic Studies program strongly encourages further study of Hebrew abroad; students have pursued advanced studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of the Negev in Beer Sheva.

A minor in Hebrew Language and Literature includes: at least three Hebrew language courses, one of which must be at the 300-level; any three JST courses. Appropriate substitutions may be approved by the program chair. See also: Judaic Studies.

Courses in Italian Studies 

A list of regularly offered courses follows. Please note the key for the following abbreviations: (A) Arts; (H) Humanities; (S) Social Sciences; (N) Natural Sciences with Laboratory; (LS) Language Studies requirement; (NW) Non-Western Cultures requirement; (WP) World Perspectives requirement.

All courses are taught in Italian unless indicated otherwise.

101. Elementary Italian I.
The aim of this course is to develop basic language skills in Italian, including speaking, listening comprehension, reading and writing, with particular emphasis on communication. The course also provides an introduction to contemporary Italy and its artistic, literary, cinematic and culinary traditions. Offered every Fall.     
S. Lerner

102. Elementary Italian II.
Continuation of ITA 101. Prerequisite: ITA 101 or placement. Offered every Spring.   

201. Intermediate Italian Language and Culture I. (LS)
A continuation of the study of the Italian language, emphasizing speaking, listening, reading and writing. Combines comprehensive grammar review with more in-depth study of Italian culture, based on films, short stories, poems and songs. Prerequisite: ITA 102 or placement. Offered every Fall.  
Faleschini Lerner, Benini, Mackenzie

202. Intermediate Italian Language and Culture II. (LS)
The continuation of ITA 201, this course further develops language skills with an increased emphasis on analytic thinking and writing, as well as oral communication. It completes the presentation of the principal grammatical structures begun in the previous semester while continuing the examination of Italian culture through literary texts, songs, and films. Prerequisite: ITA 201 or placement. Offered every Spring.        
Faleschini Lerner

310. Introduction to Italian Literary Studies. (H)
An introduction to literary studies in Italian. Particular authors and themes will vary. (Recently: the Italian detective novel, readings by Leonardo Sciascia and Carlo Lucarelli.) Complementary study of advanced Italian grammar. Prerequisite: ITA 202 or placement.    
S. Lerner

354. Age of Dante. (H) (LS)
In his epic tale of man’s journey to redemption, Dante Alighieri created a masterpiece that continues to challenge our assumptions about good and evil, love and life. From Geoffrey Chaucer to Dan Brown, abolitionists to Romantics, Dante’s work has inspired generations of authors and artists, and stands today as one of the great pillars of Western literature. Through close readings of Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise, as well as class discussions and presentations, we will situate Dante’s work within the social and religious context of the late Middle Ages. Throughout the course, we will consider the study of Dante’s Comedy not only as a literary exercise, but also as a mysterious poem that enriches our vision of the world. Taught in Italian. Prerequisite: ITA 310 or permission of the instructor.     

355. Modern Italy. (H)
An introduction to the historical and political evolution of Italy as a modern nation through the lens of its cultural production. Traces the emergence of the nation from its ideological and political beginnings in the French Revolution, the Italian republics and kingdom under Napoleon, and the Risorgimento movement of national unification. Follows the subsequent path of the young nation through the world wars and Fascism, the post-war “boom,” and the reforms of the 1990s to the present. The cultural lens is provided by literary and cinematic works by Tomasi di Lampedusa, Visconti, Ungaretti, Marinetti, Tabucchi, Primo Levi, Benigni, Giordana and Moretti. Includes advanced study of spoken and written Italian and topics in advanced grammar. Prerequisite: ITA 310 or permission of the instructor.     
S. Lerner

356. Italian Film History. (A)
Introduction to Italian film history, with an emphasis on the relationship between cinema and society and culture. May include influential auteurs (Visconti, De Sica, Antonioni, Pasolini, Fellini) and movements (Neorealism, cinema politico), as well as popular forms (commedia all’italiana), genre films, experimental filmmaking, and documentary. Taught in Italian. Prerequisite: ITA 310 or permission of the instructor. Same as TDF 356.    
Faleschini Lerner

365. Verismo and Modernism in Italian Literature. (H)
An exploration of the Italian literary, operatic and theatrical traditions of two golden ages: late nineteenth-century verismo and early twentieth century modernism. Principal authors may include Giovanni Verga and Luigi Pirandello. Taught in Italian. Prerequisite: ITA 310 or permission of the instructor.    
S. Lerner

366. Italian Cinema and the Arts. (H)
Cinema has presented itself, since its very origins, as a synthetic form of art that could incorporate painting, architecture, sculpture, as well as music, literature, and dance. This course aims to explore the different ways in which inter-artistic dialogue has influenced the development of Italian cinema, determining the style of its major auteurs and contributing to the complexity of their films. A series of critical and theoretical readings will help us develop a solid interpretive approach to the films, which will include works by Fellini, Antonioni, Pasolini, Visconti, Rossellini, and other filmmakers. Normally taught in Italian. Prerequisite: ITA 310 or permission of the instructor. Same as TDF 366.    
Faleschini Lerner

367. Women and Gender in Italian Literature. (H)
This course focuses on Italian women writes from the nineteenth century to the present. Authors may include Aleramo, Banti, Morante, Ginzburg, Maraini, and Ferrante, among others. Literary analyses of the texts will be placed in the context of Italian cultural history, the history of Italian feminism and post-feminism, and the tradition of Italian feminist philosophy, allowing for a deeper understanding of the ever-changing role of gender roles and dynamics in modern Italy. Taught in Italian. Prerequisite: ITA 310 or permission of the instructor. Same as WGS 367. 
Faleschini Lerner

368. Post-War and Contemporary Italian Fiction. (H)
Italian literature from the end of the second world war to the present with an emphasis on the genres of the novella, the short story and the novel. The first part of the course will be devoted to two classic writers: Italo Calvino and Dino Buzzati, known for their innovative blend of realism and the fantastic; the second part will examine their successors, with works by Alessandro Baricco, Michela Murgia, Anna Luisa Pignatelli, or others. Taught in Italian. Prerequisite: ITA 310 or placement.    
S. Lerner

391. Directed Reading.

410. Italian Literary and Cultural Studies II. (H)
Studies in classical Italian poetry and prose (authors have included Dante, Boccaccio, Manzoni, Collodi, Pirandello and D’Annunzio). Advanced spoken and written Italian, selected topics in grammar. Prerequisite: ITA 354, ITA 355, or ITA 356.     
S. Lerner

490. Independent Study.

Summer Travel Courses

ITA 240-340. Landscapes of Tuscany.
This interdisciplinary course is part of the Italian Summer Program’s full-immersion linguistic and cultural experience in Italy. Through readings in Italian literature, history, and art history, integrated with site visits, nature hikes, and research projects, students explore the cultural and natural landscapes of Tuscany, especially in the Mugello Valley, where the summer program is held. Prerequisites: ITA 102, ITA 202, or permission of the instructor. Corequisite: ITA 241/341 or ITA 242/342. Taught in Italian.  
Faleschini Lerner, S. Lerner

ITA 241-341. Florence, Capital of the Renaissance.
This course is part of the Italian Summer Program’s full-immersion linguistic and cultural experience in Italy. It explores the historical and social underpinnings of Renaissance Florence through readings in medieval and Renaissance literature, as well as “hands-on” learning components involving cultural visits, map-making, and the collaborative creation of a literary guide to the city. Prerequisites: ITA 102, ITA 202, or permission of the instructor. Corequisite: ITA 240/340.     
Faleschini Lerner, S. Lerner

ITA 242-342. Italian Urban Cultures.
This course is part of the Italian Summer Program’s full-immersion linguistic and cultural experience in Italy. Students learn about Italian urban cultures through an integrated approach that includes literary texts, analyses of works of art and urban landmarks, and historical and architectural research, as well as day and weekend trips to the specific cities being examined (Rome, Palermo, Ferrara, Urbino). As appropriate to their linguistic level, students are responsible for planning itineraries and preparing guided tours of the cities. Prerequisites: ITA 102, ITA 202, or permission of the instructor. Corequisite: ITA 240/340. Taught in Italian.        
Faleschini Lerner

Courses in Modern Hebrew Language

JST 101, 102. Elementary Modern Hebrew I and II.
Introduction to the basic structures and vocabulary of Modern Hebrew, oral and written. 101 is offered every Fall, 102 is offered every Spring.    

JST 201, 202. Intermediate Modern Hebrew I and II. (LS) (NW) (WP for 201) (H for 202)
Further development of oral, reading and writing skills in Modern Hebrew. 201 is offered every Fall, 202 is offered every Spring.
Di Giulio

JST 301. Reading Hebrew Texts and Contexts. (H)
In addition to expanding their knowledge of Hebrew grammar through the study of more complex structures, students in this course will read contemporary fiction in its historical and socio-cultural context. In particular, the course will examine the interplay between Hebrew literature and life in Israel in the work of such authors as Savyon Liebercht, Etgar Keret, Meir Shalev, and Avigdor Dagan. Course topics will include literary representations of the Israeli landscape, the tension between Israel and the diaspora, and the development of Post-Zionist literary sensibilities.  
Di Giulio

Directed readings at more advanced levels may be arranged with Hebrew Language faculty.
Topics Courses Expected to be Offered in 2022-2023 
  • Recent Italian Fiction.