European Studies


Italian Studies

Fall Quarter (F18)

Dept/Description Course No., Title  Instructor
Emphasis/Category: British Studies, French Studies, Italian Studies, Modern Europe (1798-)

English 100 has been designed to provide you with a survey of literary theory and criticism from the fifth century B.C.E. to the present day, an ambition that would read like an incredible prank if it were it not so sincerely earned. The University of California, Irvine has a reputation for bleeding-edge approaches to literature and culture that is, frankly, unmatched: ours was the first university in the country to offer a doctoral program in Critical Theory, now an essential component of literary study, and our library houses the most comprehensive Critical Theory Archive in the world, as well as the manuscripts and papers of many of the field’s most significant thinkers. Irvine’s influence on humanistic inquiry is both historic and ongoing, and this course—English 100—represents everything that we are about.

Behind every survey lies a logic of selection, and my choices have been guided by a belief in the prominence and centrality of Worry in the history of literary criticism and theory. Rather than offer a strictly chronological review, I have organized works by their motivating concerns. Each week will feature a mixture of old and new texts that address a common issue, so that you can receive a more discrete and compelling genealogy of critical discourse.

Requirements include a midterm exam, a final exam, and two reading quizzes.
Days: TU TH  11:00-12:20 PM

Emphasis/Category: Italian Studies, Modern Europe (1798-)

This course will concern itself with the response to the Holocaust in the memoirs of Primo Levi and Liana Millu, and in the fiction of Giorgio Bassani. Framing their writings will be brief readings in the work of historians Liliana Picciotto Fargion, Michele Sarfatti and Susan Zuccotti.

Italy had no native tradition of anti-Semitism to compare with the French or Austrian (Action Française; Karl Lueger’s Christian Social Party). Moreover, the Holocaust in Italy begins comparably late–in 1943 with the overthrow of Mussolini–and continued with the consent of the Republic of Salò, the largely puppet state the Germans set up for him after his rescue. The class will briefly address such historical questions as the relation between Italian Fascism and anti-Semitism, the role and responsibility of the Papacy in the eventual deportations, and, finally, the heroism of Italian individuals and even institutions (the diplomatic corps) in the face of unspeakable atrocity. In Levi and Millu we shall address more literary questions: Italian identity, for example. What did it mean to be an Italian Jew in the camps– hence Sephardic–thus to speak no Yiddish and not to be observant, i.e. to be both culturally and religiously ignorant? On the other hand, what did it mean for an Italian Jew to be cultured and completely assimilated to Italian life: “tutti dottori, tutti avvocati” unlike Austrian, Hungarian and Russian Jews? We will study the development of the identity of the protagonist as s/he struggles to survive in the Italy of the race laws and then in the inconceivable conditions of Auschwitz. Incidentally, according to Liliana Picciotto Fargion, the total number of Jews deported was 8,613 or whom 7,631 died. She adds 291 who were murdered in Italy; this out of approximately 43,000 Jews. All readings are in English.
Days: MO WE  02:00-02:50 PM