Spring Course Listings (January-April)

Academic Internships

CEP 401 – Cultural Engagement Practicum Tour Guide for the City Hall (Palazzo Vecchio) Museum Credits: 3

IMPORTANT: Petition to your home university to get accreditation must be made before departure from U.S.

Instructor: Stefano Corazzini, M.A.
ISI Florence Coordinator: Serena Giorgi, M.A.
Host Institution: Mus.e Firenze
Host Institution Supervisor: Roberta Masucci, M.A.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3
Course Structure: 12 hours/week practicum; 120 hours total
1 hour/week seminar; 12 hours total

Description

“Verily he who journeys far from his own country, dwelling in those of other men, gains very often a disposition and character of a fine temper, for, in seeing abroad diverse honorable customs, even though he might be perverse in nature, he learns to be tractable, amiable, and patient, with much greater ease than he would have done by remaining in his own country”

Giorgio Vasari

The goal of this internship is twofold. First, have students gain deeper knowledge of one of the most important Florentine monuments, rich in both art and history. Second, teach them to lead art history tours and communicate effectively to a varied audience ranging from kids to senior tourists.
This internship is designed for students with good communication skills, curiosity for history, ancient art and architecture, and willing to broaden their cultural perspectives. The practicum includes a seminar component, thus allowing students to reflect on and discuss their experience.
Like for all internships, students who commit to it should keep an open mind, be motivated to actively learn, and be flexible. This practicum is of particular interest for students majoring in Art History, Architecture, Museum Studies, History, and Communication.

Internship Description
The Association Mus.e Firenze is located inside the Palazzo Vecchio, one of the main and best-known Florentine monuments. Serving as Florence City Hall since 1299, the building offers a cross section, so to speak, of Florentine history from the late Middle Ages to the present. Mus.e Firenze develops approximately one hundred different and highly original kinds of tours. Students are involved in the Guided Tour of the Quartieri Monumentali, which provides a fresh approach to the building, revealing it to be not only a prestigious receptacle of artworks but also a place that brings together architecture, sculptures, and paintings to create a unique, rich, and complex whole.

Student Tasks and Duties
During the first part of the semester, students must study books on Renaissance Florentine history, focusing in particular on the Palazzo Vecchio and the Medici family. They will build this necessary historical background not only by studying the sources just mentioned (on average, 1 hour per week), but also by adding materials discussed in class (collaboration with their ISI Florence art history professor is very important) and participating in tours led by the other official guides of this Florentine palace.
Both the ISI Florence professor and the Mus.e Firenze tutor will support the selected student. Also, they will take care of the organizational aspects pertaining to the internship.
The ISI Florence professor will serve as reference point for historical and cultural feedback. He will show the student around the building, exploring all the museum rooms as well as the ones that are usually closed to the public. Furthermore, the ISI Florence professor will point out details, comment on materials, answer any questions the student may have and, finally, discuss all the assignments with him/her.
The aim of the first part of the semester is to prepare students to guide independently a tour of English speaking visitors through the Palazzo Vecchio. The tours run for approximately 1 hour, thus totaling 120 hours by the end of the semester. Students commit for 12 hours per week, including two weekends per month. During the second part of the semester, students will hone their critical thinking and develop skills to communicate effectively to a varied audience ranging from kids to senior tourists.

Seminar Description
The seminar includes 50-minute weekly meetings and is based on readings, interactive class discussions, lectures and examining communication and public speaking skills in culturally different settings, though always in the context of arts and history. Throughout the course, students complete weekly writing assignments (research papers) and prepare a final project under the supervision of their course instructor.

Objectives
By the end of this internship, students will:
• Increase their knowledge of one of the most important Florentine monuments, learning how it developed from the late Middle Ages to the present
• Gain a deeper knowledge of the history, art history, and architecture of medieval and Renaissance Florence
• Improve public speaking skills in group contexts
• Develop skills to communicate effectively to a varied audience ranging from kids to senior tourists
• Work autonomously with enthusiasm and confidence to lead their own group of tourists
• Improve their critical thinking and communication skills
• Become familiar with and benefit from being surrounded by masterpieces of Florentine art
• Experience the visual arts from within.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

 

The internship is held in collaboration with The Umbra Institute.

Academic Seminar & Practicums

CEP 101 – Cultural Engagement Practicum Communications: Speaking in Public Credits: 3

IMPORTANT: Petition to your home university to get accreditation must be made before departure from U.S.

Instructor: Christian Tarchi, Ph.D.
ISI Florence Coordinator: Serena Giorgi, M.A.
Host Institution: Ars et Fides
Host Institution Supervisor: Mauro Lastrucci, M.A.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3
Course Structure: 6 hours/week practicum; 60 hours total
1 hour/week seminar; 12 hours total

Description
The goal of this practicum is to introduce students to cultural engagement based on mutual benefit and growth through dialogue and hands-on experience. This practicum is designed for students willing to broaden their cultural perspectives, to develop a heightened sense of intercultural awareness and sensitivity, and to see different communities from a more comparative, global standpoint. Like for all practicums, students who commit to this should keep an open mind, be motivated to actively learn, and be flexible. The practicum includes a seminar component, in which students will be able to reflect on and discuss their experience.
Each practicum will be presented in an orientation meeting during week 1 of classes. This practicum is of particular interest for students majoring in Art History, Museum Studies, History, and Communication.

Practicum Description
Ars et Fides is an association of volunteer guides created with the specific goal of welcoming tourists and visitors to the main Florentine churches (Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella, Santa Trinita, San Lorenzo and the Duomo) and give them free tours of these sites in English.
In the rush of mass tourism Ars et Fides volunteers offer their guests the privileged opportunity to enjoy the sacred atmosphere of holy shrines where, over the centuries, men and women have expressed their highest aspirations through religious art.

Student Tasks and Duties
During the first week of their practicum, students must study books on Florentine churches. Students will build this historical background not only by studying such sources (on average, 1 hour per week), but also by adding materials discussed in class (collaboration with their ISI Florence art history professor is very important) and participating in tours led by the other official guides of this Florentine palace. One tutor appointed by Ars et Fides will support the selected student: he/she will take care of the organizational aspects pertaining to the practicum and serve as reference point for historical and cultural feedback.
After this first “introductory” period the student will be tested by observing an independently run tour. If the test proves successful, the student is deemed ready to lead groups of English speaking visitors through the Florentine churches. In addition, students will write an article on one specific Florentine church. Students commit for 6 hours per week.

Seminar Description
The seminar includes 50-minute weekly meetings, and is based on readings, interactive class discussions, and group work examining communication and public speaking skills in culturally different settings, in the context of arts and history. Throughout the course, students complete weekly writing assignments (journal entries and reflection papers) and prepare a final project with guidance from the course instructor.

Objectives
By the end of this practicum, students will:
• Improve public speaking skills in groups contexts
• Improve public speaking skills in culturally different contexts
• Develop skills to communicate effectively to a varied audience ranging from kids to senior tourists
• Gain a deeper knowledge of the history, art history, and architecture of medieval and Renaissance Florence
• Work autonomously with enthusiasm and confidence leading their own group of tourists
• Have a heightened sense of intercultural awareness
• Improve their critical thinking and communication skills.
Active participation is expected from each student during each seminar. Your questions about Italian culture, reflections, critical thinking, ideas, and contributions are highly encouraged – indeed expected – so please come to class alert, ready to do some serious thinking, and prepared.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

CEP 201 – Cultural Engagement Practicum Critical Disabilities Studies: Inclusive Programs Credits: 3

IMPORTANT: Petition to your home university to get accreditation must be made before departure from U.S.

Instructor: Christian Tarchi, Ph.D.
ISI Florence Coordinator: Serena Giorgi, M.A.
Host Institution: I Ragazzi del Sipario
Host Institution Supervisor: Marco Martelli Calvello, M.A.
Host Institution: Matrix
Host Institution Supervisor: Roberta Brunetti, M.A.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3
Course Structure: 4 hours/week practicum; 40 hours total
1 hour/week seminar; 12 hours total

Description
The goal of this practicum is to introduce students to cultural engagement based on mutual benefit and growth through dialogue and hands-on experience. This practicum is designed for students willing to broaden their cultural perspectives, to develop a heightened sense of intercultural awareness and sensitivity, and to see different communities from a more comparative, global standpoint. Like for all practicums, students who commit to this should keep an open mind, be motivated to actively learn, and be flexible. The practicum includes a seminar component, in which students will be able to reflect on and discuss their experience.
Each practicum will be presented in an orientation meeting during week 1 of classes. This practicum is of particular interest for students majoring in Communication, Human Development, Special Education, Disability Studies.

Practicum Description
This course offers two possibilities of practicum, one by the local institution I ragazzi del Sipario, and one by the local institution Matrix. Both options will be presented during the orientation meeting, and students may choose which one they would like to participate in.

1) I ragazzi del sipario
I ragazzi del sipario is a restaurant whose working staff members are people with intellectual and/or sensorial disabilities. They also run a TV channel and participate in different labs such as singing and painting. The restaurant was opened to integrate and include people with intellectual disabilities in the social and work world, as their skills and potentials need an empowering environment in order to be expressed. Work is not just a means for economic sustainment, but it greatly impacts the individual’s self and identity.

Student Tasks and Duties
Students will help professional assistants run the labs or propose and be in charge of new initiatives such as an English language lab. Each workshop lasts for 2 hours, plus 2 extra hours for preparing it (for a total of 4 hrs. per week).

2) Matrix
Matrix is a social co-operative enterprise that helps people with intellectual disabilities to integrate themselves in the social and work context. Through individual paths, Matrix succeeds at including people with intellectual disabilities in the snack bars and restaurants that it manages.

Student Tasks and Duties
Students will help professional staff (including people with intellectual disabilities) working in a restaurant. Students will work in two 2-hour shifts (for a total of 4 hours per week).

Seminar Description
The seminar includes 50-minute weekly meetings, and is based on readings, interactive class discussions, and group work examining disabilities from a critical and culturally different perspective. Throughout the course, students complete weekly writing assignments (journal entries and reflection papers) and prepare a final project with guidance from the course instructor.

Objectives
By the end of this practicum, students will:
• Have a heightened sense of intercultural awareness
• Improve their critical thinking and communication skills
• Connect with organizations that go beyond “compassion” and “medical help”
• Empower people with disabilities to be independent and self-supported.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

CEP 301 – Cultural Engagement Practicum Education: Early Childhood Pedagogy Credits: 3

IMPORTANT: Petition to your home university to get accreditation must be made before departure from U.S.

Instructor: Christian Tarchi, Ph.D.
ISI Florence Coordinator: Serena Giorgi, M.A.
Host Institution: Kindergarten
Host Institution Supervisor: Leonardo Amulfi, M.A.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3
Course Structure: 4 hours/week practicum; 40 hours total
1 hour/week seminar; 12 hours total

Description
The goal of this practicum is to introduce students to cultural engagement based on mutual benefit and growth through dialogue and action. This practicum is designed for students to broaden their cultural perspectives, to develop a heightened sense of intercultural awareness and sensitivity, and to see different communities from a more comparative, global standpoint. Like for all practicums, students who commit to this should keep an open mind, be motivated to actively learn, and be flexible.
This practicum is of particular interest for students majoring in Education and Human Development as well as for anyone enthusiastic about working with children. The practicum includes a seminar component, in which students will be able to reflect on and discuss their experience.
Each practicum will be presented in an orientation meeting during week 1 of classes. This practicum is of particular interest for students majoring in Education, Psychology, Communication, and Human Development.

Practicum Description
Student assistants work in kindergarten classrooms under the supervision of experienced teachers. Kindergarten always appreciates the input of interns in order to create an open, innovative program with constant prospects of expanding on all that it already offers. The Institute supports families in educating and taking care of their children. The teachers create a stimulating and serene environment to encourage significant personal development from an emotional, spiritual, social, and cognitive point of view. Creativity, experimentation, openness to innovation, careful training of educators and teachers, and passion are all elements that make Kindergarten an innovative, dynamic, independent school. For more information, see: http://www.kindergarten.it/

Student Tasks and Duties
During the first week of their practicum, students must observe the official English teacher in class and meet with him/her to discuss specific tasks to perform. Students will then teach parts of the in-class program and propose didactic projects such as nursery rhymes, art labs, etc.

Seminar Description
The seminar includes 50-minute weekly meetings, and is based on readings, interactive class discussions, and group work examining early childhood education in a culturally different setting, pedagogical models, and English language teaching methods. Throughout the course, students complete weekly writing assignments (journal entries and reflection papers) and prepare a final project with guidance from the course instructor.

Objectives
By the end of this practicum, students will:
• Have more real-life experience as a teacher
• Be able to evaluate differences between the education system in Italy and the US
• Develop skills to communicate effectively to foreign kids
• Devise autonomous educational projects and initiatives
• Improve their speaking and listening Italian competence and communication skills
• Have a heightened sense of intercultural awareness
• Improve their critical thinking and communication skills.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

Anthropology & Sociology

HUM 399/SOC 299 – Identity and Culture in Italy: A Comparative Approach Credits: 3

ItalyLogoInstructor: Federico Damonte, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
The aim of the course is to introduce the concept of culture in the sociological and anthropological sense. After clarifying the meaning of the word ‘culture’, other related concepts will be analyzed: values, norms, lifestyles, attitudes, beliefs, stereotypes. Attention will also be drawn to the notion of social and cultural change (de-secularization, globalization, mediatization, individualization). Concepts and methods learnt in the first part of the course will be applied to Italian culture to identify its specific features. The following cultural dimensions will be looked at in-depth: Erlebnis / Erfahrung (Experience in German); Expressive / Instrumental; Propensity to consume / Propensity to invest; Dependence / Responsibility; Passivity / Activity; Particularism / Universalism. Italian-ness will be compared with traits of the American, Northern European and Mediterranean cultural heritage.

Objectives
The course will focus mainly on the following themes: the creation of a sense of belonging and the experience of being “different”; self-recognition and recognition of others (as individuals and as members of a group); the dynamics of interaction with another person/other people as well as the origins of representations and stereotypes. Another objective of the course is to take an in-depth look at the concept of individual and collective identity; within the lifecycle stages particular attention will be given to the passage from youth to adulthood, depicting a peculiar Italian phenomenon: the prolongation of youth. As well as learning theoretic propositions and paradigms, students will be invited to undertake a journey of self–awareness, so as to internalize the themes tackled during the term and apply them in a critical manner. Part of the course will be set aside for the theme of journey. Students will thus be able to supplement their studies by learning concepts which will help them to elaborate what they are experiencing. The basic concepts (theories, paradigms etc.) adopted – and shared with the students – allow for an interdisciplinary approach, including Sociology, Cultural Anthropology, and Psychology. The narrative approach will be our “discipline glue”.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

SOC 299 – Sociology of the Arts Credits: 3

Instructor: Monica Shenouda, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
The aim of the course is to introduce the relationship between art, culture and society. The leading topics of discussion will be: the meaning of art from a sociological viewpoint; the possibility to define art; the tension between universally recognizable qualities of art and its institutionalization; the foundation, production and consumption of art; the relationship between art forms and social structures; the relation of art to myth, religion and ideology; the differentiation/homogenization of artistic tastes.

Objectives
Having clarified the shifting boundary between fine and popular arts, and pointed out the main conceptions and approaches to the study of art, the first part of the course is dedicated to the contribution of classical sociologists: Carl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim and Georg Simmel.
In the second part of the course we will address the relation between social structure, production and consumption of art, with the constant attempt to construct synthetic conceptual bridges between pre-modern (with particular attention to Renaissance), modern, and post-modern life-worlds.
Part of the course is dedicated to the theme of genius, creativity and socio-cultural milieu, with special reference to the Renaissance artist. The course will end pointing out some emerging features of the globalization of art and, through the phenomenon of élite/mass tourism, its relation with economy, politics and aesthetics.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

Architecture & Historic Preservation

ARCH 320 – Architecture Design Studio VI Credits: 5

*This course is exclusive to the Marywood Architecture & Interior Design Program

Instructor: Franco Pisani, M.Arch., Licensed Architect
Prerequisite: Arch. Design studio I-V
Credits: 5

Description Context: strategy+Communication. As a continuation of ARCH 310, ARCH 320 give an emphasis on the roles of space, structure and section in buildings. Students will focus on design projects in which spatial organization, along with principles of structure, materials, and site design, serve as form determinants. Aesthetic judgments based on technical concepts and applications become integral to the design process. This Design studio regards the designer as a thinker as well as a maker, working conceptually and strategically across the fading boundaries of traditional design disciplines. The studio will focus on two design goals: Integrating context and buildings and balancing the needs of the individual with community through projects of residential architecture. More urgently than ever, today’s world needs innovative, informed design, and architects are in need of more complex and interactive profiles. We’re here to define and nurture design’s emerging roles and methods – to educate, to envision and (I hope) to lead.

Objectives The main opportunity offered by a design studio in Firenze, is the opportunity of working in a strongly characterized historical context, with its multiple layers and its continuous in progress status. Firenze and its built environment will be the textbook for studio, and the studio will develop methods to learn from it. Students will be asked to go behind appearances, and to look at the city from different points of view and not as tourists.
ARCHITECTURE IS STRATEGY AND COMMUNICATION.
The main goal of the studio is to provide students with an insight into the nature of the public domain and the ways in which architecture and urban space are weaved to create the physical setting for the activities and rituals of public urban life.
STYLE IS NOT AN ADDED QUALITY
The studio will not focus on a merely functional program; instead, it will operate on the premise that public spaces are important to the livability of a city. Students will cultivate design not to explore style, but to explore what they consider to be fundamental to architecture: namely, issues of space, urbanism and meanings, searching a way to hide thoughts inside shapes.
ORDINARY vs EXTRAORDINARY
Unorthodox programs using contemporary complexity of urban phenomena will be of main importance in developing design proposals. In short (according to NAAB specs) goals of the studio are:
1) to continue the student’s development of architectural design investigation and communication skills ( NAAB SPC A.1, A.2, A.3, A.6, A.7)
2) to encourage an iterative design process (NAAB SPC A.2, A.5, A.6)
3) to document and analyze the forces and systems that are specific to a site or location and introduce the impact of these forces on Pre-Design (NAAB SPC A.2, A.5, A.11, B.1)
4) to investigate the interaction between landscape and architecture to find ways to optimize and conserve natural resources (NAAB SPC A.6, B.3)
5) to develop designs that balance the needs of the individual the community (NAAB SPC A.6)
6) to understand the requirements for life safety and egress (NAAB SPC B.5)
7) to work corroboratively to successfully complete design projects (NAAB SPC C.1)
8) to design spaces that meet or exceed Accessibility standards ( NAAB SPC B.2)
9) to design spaces that optimize natural resources and understand how the choice of materials impacts the environment (NAAB SPC B.3)
By accomplishing the requirements of this studio students will:
1) Students will complete site analysis and pre-design in which they research local zoning requirements.
2) Students will create a masterplan that integrates the building with the public space.
3) Students will develop a preliminary structural diagram for their design.
4) Students will create an ADA accessible residential unit.
5) Students will create a space that meet life safety egress requirements.
6) Students will create presentation drawings.
7) Students will create a portfolio.

Textbooks During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation. Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

ARCH 416 – Advanced Topical Design Studio: Urban Credits: 5

*This course is exclusive to the Roger Williams Advanced Architecture Program

Instructor: Carlo Achilli, M.Arch., Licensed Architect
Prerequisite: Arch. Design studio Core I-IV
Credits: 5

Description The aim of the first weeks is to introduce students to the cultural experience of living in a city whose layers date back centuries, which at the same time houses contemporary life for its citizens and visitors. The exercises are designed to acquaint the students with the city of Florence, by helping you in reading the urban fabric, along with mapping the city in order to facilitate your understanding of such a different environment from the one you are accustomed. As architectural educators, we share the conviction that architecture should account for its place – its belonging in the contextual setting. Hence our attention will be directed to addressing the myriad issues of place and context in which architectural projects can be situated. The goal is to equip students with the necessary tools to describe, represent, analyze and interpolate the urban fabric. To this end attention is focused on the issues of context by means of initial intensive exercises in site analysis and documentation. Florence is a city whose layers are deposited throughout the centuries therefore a particular emphasis is placed upon the understanding of the urban context of the city, both in present and historical terms. This directive fosters the development of a comprehensive urban perspective. The aim of the studio, is to bring together three modes of inquiry that are often considered separately: a theory-based approach, the consideration of historical urban environment – their meaning and use for today, and a design problem. Articles will be handed out on web, in a common folder, periodically. The first part of the semester will be dedicated to understanding design issues at the urban scale, where the interrelation between elements of a city can be better understood. Public spaces such as piazzas, public buildings and stores play a key role in the civic life of the historic neighborhoods. The studio will explore the rehabilitation of such important elements through a culturally sensitive design effort. The site project in the historic center of Florence will encompass both urban and landscape analysis of the present situation and a proposal of recovery Master Plan for public/private spaces. This exercise is concerned with streets, piazzas, access, setbacks and all the elements which come together to form the “public face of Architecture” for Piazza Brunelleschi Area. The second design assignment will be an infill project located in the area between the Brunelleschi Rotonda and the Università di Firenze buildings. The program includes public buildings, (community center and Library), a mixed use building (commercial+residential), a two stories underground parking garage and re-design of the Piazza Brunelleschi. The study of residential typologies entails an understanding of Italian cultural setting and more specifically of Tuscan way of dwelling. Your design will explore both the building typology and the layering of the surrounding fabric, providing a contextual response appropriate to the setback of the Piazza. Both designs will address the dichotomy public – private space keeping in mind that the task of the architect is to provide the community with livable places of interaction as well as to respond to the individuals’ needs for a place of their own.

Textbooks During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation. Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

ARCH/AAH 330 – History of Italian Design Credits: 3

Instructor: Franco Pisani, M.Arch., Licensed Architect
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
Italian design: imagination and exactitude.
“Design” as a verb refers to the process of originating and developing a plan for a new object (machine, building, product, etc.). As a noun, “design” is used both for the final plan or proposal (a drawing, model, or other description), or the result of implementing that plan or proposal (the object produced). Lately “design” has become an adjective, designating an added quality for objects and attitudes. “Made in Italy” has been traditionally a brand embodying at once the three above mentioned meanings. Italy has always played a major role in the development of design, craft and style. This course will focus on the history of design and production in Italy from the industrial revolution to present, ranging from industrial, to product, to furniture design; giving attention to the extraordinary blend of imagination and exactitude that characterize Italy. During the semester we will trespass in the world of fashion design as well as that of car styling, and particular importance will be given to the parallel production of visual arts, cinema, literature and other fields of culture. After a brief (necessary) narrative on the international history of design from the 18th century to the present (the rise of consumerism and mass production, the Arts and Crafts movement, the Bauhaus ethic, etc.) the course will focus on Italy and Italian designers. Each lecture will focus on one designer and his work or one object / family of objects, presenting their cultural and productive context and the technical and semantic background at the base of their success.

Objectives
The general aim of this course is to understand the role of “design” within the framework of the cultural production of Italy. On completion of this unit the student should be able to explain and place in context the work of a designer by means of a presentation in which they develop criteria and create links and comparisons between different objects or pieces of furniture. The student should be able to analyze similar product types through a comparison of innovative features, function, aesthetic and visual appeal, and any economic, social and environmental benefits and costs.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

ARCH/AAH 430 – Special Topics: The Villa and the Garden Credits: 3

Instructor: Silvia Catitti, Ph.D., Licensed Architect
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
The course explores villas and gardens to better understand how men and women, from different times, cultures, and countries, transformed the landscape for leisurely purposes and conceived their relationship between Architecture and Nature. We focus on the dynamic relationship between landscapes, villas and their gardens, mainly Renaissance and Baroque in Tuscany and Rome, where gardens where conceived as part of a multifaceted architectural system. The ‘villa & garden’ complex originates in the Mediterranean area, especially ancient Greece and Rome. Renaissance Tuscany shaped the early formal garden, later becoming the ‘rational’ geometrical garden as an extension of the architecture of the villa. From our base in Florence, where we explore villas commissioned by the Medici family, we look South to villas commissioned by Popes and Cardinals. Then we look North, to 16th-century examples in Mantua and in the Veneto Region.We look East, to a different way of opening architecture to nature. We study the impact of Orientalism on the design of European villa & garden complexes. Back in Tuscany, we study the impact of 18th century England on Florentine culture and gardens. We look West, to the Anglo-American residents of Florence, and to their taste for villa life in late 19th-early 20th century.
Introductory lectures indoors, based on powerpoint presentations, will be followed by direct experience of villas & gardens on site visits both in Florence and Rome.

Objectives
– to look carefully at the architecture of villas, gardens, and palaces;
– to develop a vocabulary (regarding form, style, and function) so as to express what we see;
– to investigate the function, context and ideas behind the form of the works we study;
– to explore what these can tell us about the society that created them.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

ARCH 448 – Survey and Drawing: Mapping Florence Architecture Credits: 3

Instructor: Stefano Corazzini, M.A.
Prerequisite: None, although completion of one previous course in art and/or architecture history is advisable.
Credits: 3

Description
The goal of this course is twofold. First, have students gain deeper knowledge of Florence and its monuments. To demonstrate their comprehension of the local man-made environment, students will be expected to produce a series of drawings. In doing so, they will attain the second main objective of this course, that is, learn a method that will be of help for the rest of their lives, as they will be trained to observe, imitate, and expand on what they see.
The course is designed for students with an intense interest in history, art, and architecture, who want to use this passion not only from a strictly intellectual point of view but to broaden their general cultural perspective as well. In terms of academic requirements, the course is particularly recommended for students majoring in Art History, Architecture, Archaeology, and Photography.

Objectives
– Increase the students’ knowledge of Florence and its monuments from the Roman times to the present.
– Be introduced to a variety of survey technologies.
– Improve their drawing skills and learn a method that can be applied to different fields and career pursuits.
– Develop critical thinking and analytical tools that complement skills of synthesis.
– Become familiar with and benefit from masterpieces of Florentine art.
– Experience the visual arts from within.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

ARCH 465 – Architectural Structures II Credits: 3

Instructor: Daniela Sinicropi, Ph.D., Licensed Architect
Prerequisite: Architectural Structures I
Credits: 3

Description
Design of steel, timber, and reinforced concrete elements and subsystems; analysis of architectural building systems. Introduction to design for both natural and man-made hazards (seismic resilience).
The goal of the course is to give students an understanding of the forces which impact architecture, methods for analyzing those forces, and the structural systems needed to withstand them. This will make them better designers (in both academic and professional work); students will be expected to demonstrate their understanding of sound structural design in studio projects. This course will also be useful in passing professional licensure exams.
We will begin with a short review of concepts covered in previous courses. New topics will include:
– Arches, vaults and tie rods;
– Deflection in beams;
– Column buckling;
– Lateral forces including those from wind and earthquakes, as well as the structural elements that resist them.
– Design and analysis of wood, steel and concrete structures.

Course Methodology
Lectures and class meetings will be dedicated to demonstrating solutions to problems commonly encountered in the design of buildings and other structures, to analyzing relevant case studies, and to site visits. Regular individual homework assignments will help students consolidate comprehension of the material. Students will also explore specific topics related to structural design through an individual semester project. Exams will be used to assess individual student progress throughout the course. Faculty will be available to help students as needed.

Learning Outcomes
This course will help build student comprehension and skills in Mathematics, Analytic Reasoning and Scholarship in Practice as defined in the University of Maryland General Education Learning Outcomes descriptions.
On completion of this course, students will be able to:

– Interpret mathematical models given verbally, or by formulas, graphs, tables, or schematics, and draw inferences from them.
– Use arithmetic, algebraic, geometric, technological, or statistical methods to solve problems.
– Use mathematical reasoning with appropriate technology to solve problems, test conjectures, judge the validity of arguments, formulate valid arguments, check answers to determine reasonableness, and communicate the reasoning and the results.
– Recognize and use connections within mathematics and between mathematics and other disciplines.
– Understand the differences among appropriate and inappropriate methods for drawing conclusions.
– Use formal, analytical, or computational techniques to address real-world problems.
– Apply relevant methods and frameworks to the planning, modeling and/or preparing necessary to produce a project or participate in the practice in a manner that is authentic to the discipline.
– Critique, revise and refine a project, or the practice of the discipline, according to the authentic manner of the discipline.
– Effectively communicate the application of scholarship through ancillary material (written, oral, and/or visual).
– Collaborate in order to bring about a successful outcome.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

ARCH 477 – Architecture in Context: City, Spaces and Urban Design Credits: 3

*This course is exclusive to the Roger Williams Advanced Architecture Program

Instructor: Carlo Achilli, M.Arch., Licensed Architect
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description The course explores today’s Florence, seen as a living city rather than as an open-air museum for tourists. This approach helps students read and understand the city beyond its monumental highlights. We investigate the various meanings of “context”. We explore the multifaceted, sometimes conflicting, co-existence of modern/global needs & practices and traditional/local spaces. We address the contemporary urban fabric, its environment, its historic process, and its stratified layers; we consider the cityscape, the skyline, the surrounding landscape, the geography of Florence, and its terrain. Starting from the “finished” urban fabric, the course focuses on processes, ideas, and programs behind the contemporary city. We can apply to architecture what Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier, father of modern Chemistry, wrote about the physical world: “Nothing creates itself, nothing gets lost, all change”. Architects never draw on a blank sheet of paper. Hidden links are always present. This course provides students with an approach and the basic tools which enable them to recognize these hidden connections. We explore how contemporary architects and masters of the past used the context as a rich, active source of inspiration, rather than as a limit to their creativity.

Objectives – to develop methods and tools for analyzing, understanding, and evaluating a city or a site and its context; – to use Florence as a study case; – to discover the hidden dynamics of the urban fabric of Florence, beyond the city’s monumental buildings; – to look at the architecture of Florence with new eyes, focusing on the invisible links between life, space, and buildings.

Textbooks During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation. Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.  

HP 391 – Architecture in Italy: History and Preservation Credits: 3

Instructor: Silvia Catitti, Ph.D., Licensed Architect
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
The course explores the architecture and urban development of Italian cities as well as the process and factors behind the phenomena we see today. Since the Middle Ages, European cities of ancient Roman foundation developed by means of a constant transformation and re-use of existing architecture and urban fabric. Florence is a paradigmatic case. In Florence, this cyclical adaptation of pre-existing structures always flanked the erection of new, innovative architecture. In 1982 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) included the Florence city center within the list of World Heritage sites. The need to balance the conservation of the historic city and the life of a modern metropolis forces us to think about issues of preservation. Against the backdrop of the development of architecture in Italy, the course examines historically significant buildings which have been preserved or adapted for subsequent uses. Historical, technical, and legal aspects of preservation will be considered. Lectures and class discussions will be followed by site visits. Day trip to Rome will complete the experience.

Objectives
– to explore the architectural language of the masters of Italian architecture;
– to explore traditional building techniques and materials found in different cities;
– to understand the history of architectural heritage;
– to understand buildings in relation to their historical and urban context;
– to distinguish the layering and stages of transformation of a city and of its architecture;
– to develop an understanding of the theory and practice of historic preservation.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

IARCH 320A – Interior Architecture Studio VI Credits: 5

*This course is exclusive to the Marywood Architecture & Interior Design Program

Instructor: Franco Pisani, M.Arch., Licensed Architect
Prerequisite: IARCH 310
Credits: 5

Description
Italy: news from the interior.
We will not choose wall-papers, curtains or furniture, we will not “decorate” rooms in order to give them a particular appeal, we will shape interior spaces in order to better serve contemporary needs and life-styles.
“A constant, light background noise can be detected behind the apparently unchanged facades of our cities. It corresponds to a continuous change inside our houses, offices, factories, schools and theatres. An incessant bustle is transforming our inhabited spaces, our places of work, study, social life and entertainment from within. It is a reflection of a profound change in our way of life. This is mostly taking place behind closed doors. Protective masks hide today’s faces, which are so different from those of a few decades ago. Over the threshold, and behind apparently unchanged facades, new and constantly changing Italian interiors reflect a profoundly different society. The face of Italy is now composed of these numerous facets. They correspond to different stories and aspirations, but are only rarely expressed or directly perceptible on the outside.” This is how Mirko Zardini, curator of the Italian exhibition of the 2004’s Venice Biennale, presented the excellence of Italian architectural design. In this framework, the Interior Architecture Studio, will operate within the boundary of that phenomenon of gentle transformations, of constant redesign of the internal and external spaces that can be perceived as the main character of italian urban environment. An approach that is not less important than the one traditionally expressed by disciplinary process of modernization which, until the 1970s, led to the country equipping itself with infrastructure, houses, social housing, factories, offices and schools. We will not choose wall-papers, curtains or furniture, we will not “decorate” rooms in order to give them a particular appeal, we will shape interior spaces in order to better serve needs. This studio, open to architects and designers, will focus on the possibility offered by the use of architectural tools applied to the re-shape of interior spaces. From residential to retail spaces, from installations to refurbishments, we will experience the process of analysis of the needs, the development of concepts, the design of the solutions and the presentation to the clients.

Objectives
An ability to analyze potentiality and qualities offered by spaces, to critically analyze and develop expertise in interior architecture, in site analysis, basic programming, diagramming and design.
An ability to synthesize culture, technology, and design in a final project that demonstrates mastery of skills and develop a rigorous formal and theoretical response.
An awareness and understanding of Italian environmental and urban conditions, related to space re-modeling and re-furbishing.
Completing the assignments, the student will gain all tools and skills needed to design, communicate, evaluate and coordinate the process of the refurbishment of an interior space.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

Art History

AAH 214 – The Art of Florence: Exploring Visual Culture Credits: 3

Instructor: Francesca Marini, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
During the Renaissance, roughly defined as the period extending from the middle of the 14th century until the end of the 16th century, the city of Florence was the site of some of the most remarkable artistic periods in European history. Why, though, should one city have contributed so much to the course of the arts? Why should so many of the city’s works of art, monuments, and buildings have played a major rule in the development of the visual arts? What set of circumstances and conditions made this possible? This course is designed to explore these questions through an examination of historical factors that made Florence the birthplace and point of reference for what we now call “Renaissance art.” We will examine the careers and achievements of some of the central figures working in Florence, including Giotto, Filippo Brunelleschi, Donatello, Masaccio, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Fra Angelico, Fra Filippo Lippi, Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael.
Starting with the monumental site of the Duomo (the Cathedral of Florence), the first part of the course will focus on the development of sculpture and its architectural setting, emphasizing the circumstances of urban history that demanded public, monumental programs of architecture and sculpture. The first half of the course will end with an amplification of Filippo Brunelleschi’s achievement in the Pazzi Chapel, while providing an introduction to Giotto and fresco painting in Santa Croce. The second part of the semester will concentrate on the development of painting in the 15th century, and then move on to the Cinquecento (sixteenth century) with the achievements of Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael.
Emphasis will be placed on studying the art preserved and exhibited in Florentine museums and outdoor urban areas that often constitute its original site; therefore, class meetings will alternate between lectures in the classroom at Palazzo Rucellai and study on site. This way students will have the opportunity, each week, to experience original art rather than limit their appreciation of it to digital images. We will analyze artworks within a sequence of contexts, in order to understand the cultural, political, economic, and religious factors that contributed to their production in Renaissance Florence.

Objectives
The fundamental goals are to introduce students to the art and architecture of Florence in its historical context, and in doing so, to make them familiar with the origins, nature and development of the Renaissance in the visual arts. Mastery of basic concepts and terminology of art historical studies is another essential aspect of this course.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

AAH 330 – Special Topics in Art History: Leonardo Credits: 3

Instructor: Michael W. Kwakkelstein, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
An in-depth study of the drawings, paintings and writings on art of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). This course seeks to define Leonardo’s development as a painter and as a draftsman. The student will become familiar not only with Leonardo’s individual masterpieces, but also with his working methods and multifarious interests. The nature and significance of Leonardo’s special inventiveness will be assessed through close comparison of his works with those of his peers and immediate predecessors. The student will gain insight in the design process of Leonardo’s painted works through attentive analysis of the preparatory drawings. Leonardo’s drawing and painting practice will be considered in the context of his instructive notes on painting.

Objectives
To introduce the student to the art and thought of Leonardo da Vinci and to enable him or her to understand and appreciate the universality of his genius. The student will learn the significance of Leonardo’s pioneering research in various branches of knowledge and will understand how that research relates to Leonardo’s artistic practice and theoretical ideals. The student will become familiar with the role drawing played not only in the creative process, but also in the transmission of the vast body of knowledge Leonardo gathered with the intention to compile illustrated treatises for the benefit of the painter.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

ARCH/AAH 330 – History of Italian Design Credits: 3

Instructor: Franco Pisani, M.Arch., Licensed Architect
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
Italian design: imagination and exactitude.
“Design” as a verb refers to the process of originating and developing a plan for a new object (machine, building, product, etc.). As a noun, “design” is used both for the final plan or proposal (a drawing, model, or other description), or the result of implementing that plan or proposal (the object produced). Lately “design” has become an adjective, designating an added quality for objects and attitudes. “Made in Italy” has been traditionally a brand embodying at once the three above mentioned meanings. Italy has always played a major role in the development of design, craft and style. This course will focus on the history of design and production in Italy from the industrial revolution to present, ranging from industrial, to product, to furniture design; giving attention to the extraordinary blend of imagination and exactitude that characterize Italy. During the semester we will trespass in the world of fashion design as well as that of car styling, and particular importance will be given to the parallel production of visual arts, cinema, literature and other fields of culture. After a brief (necessary) narrative on the international history of design from the 18th century to the present (the rise of consumerism and mass production, the Arts and Crafts movement, the Bauhaus ethic, etc.) the course will focus on Italy and Italian designers. Each lecture will focus on one designer and his work or one object / family of objects, presenting their cultural and productive context and the technical and semantic background at the base of their success.

Objectives
The general aim of this course is to understand the role of “design” within the framework of the cultural production of Italy. On completion of this unit the student should be able to explain and place in context the work of a designer by means of a presentation in which they develop criteria and create links and comparisons between different objects or pieces of furniture. The student should be able to analyze similar product types through a comparison of innovative features, function, aesthetic and visual appeal, and any economic, social and environmental benefits and costs.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

ARCH/AAH 430 – Special Topics: The Villa and the Garden Credits: 3

Instructor: Silvia Catitti, Ph.D., Licensed Architect
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
The course explores villas and gardens to better understand how men and women, from different times, cultures, and countries, transformed the landscape for leisurely purposes and conceived their relationship between Architecture and Nature. We focus on the dynamic relationship between landscapes, villas and their gardens, mainly Renaissance and Baroque in Tuscany and Rome, where gardens where conceived as part of a multifaceted architectural system. The ‘villa & garden’ complex originates in the Mediterranean area, especially ancient Greece and Rome. Renaissance Tuscany shaped the early formal garden, later becoming the ‘rational’ geometrical garden as an extension of the architecture of the villa. From our base in Florence, where we explore villas commissioned by the Medici family, we look South to villas commissioned by Popes and Cardinals. Then we look North, to 16th-century examples in Mantua and in the Veneto Region.We look East, to a different way of opening architecture to nature. We study the impact of Orientalism on the design of European villa & garden complexes. Back in Tuscany, we study the impact of 18th century England on Florentine culture and gardens. We look West, to the Anglo-American residents of Florence, and to their taste for villa life in late 19th-early 20th century.
Introductory lectures indoors, based on powerpoint presentations, will be followed by direct experience of villas & gardens on site visits both in Florence and Rome.

Objectives
– to look carefully at the architecture of villas, gardens, and palaces;
– to develop a vocabulary (regarding form, style, and function) so as to express what we see;
– to investigate the function, context and ideas behind the form of the works we study;
– to explore what these can tell us about the society that created them.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

HP 391 – Architecture in Italy: History and Preservation Credits: 3

Instructor: Silvia Catitti, Ph.D., Licensed Architect
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
The course explores the architecture and urban development of Italian cities as well as the process and factors behind the phenomena we see today. Since the Middle Ages, European cities of ancient Roman foundation developed by means of a constant transformation and re-use of existing architecture and urban fabric. Florence is a paradigmatic case. In Florence, this cyclical adaptation of pre-existing structures always flanked the erection of new, innovative architecture. In 1982 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) included the Florence city center within the list of World Heritage sites. The need to balance the conservation of the historic city and the life of a modern metropolis forces us to think about issues of preservation. Against the backdrop of the development of architecture in Italy, the course examines historically significant buildings which have been preserved or adapted for subsequent uses. Historical, technical, and legal aspects of preservation will be considered. Lectures and class discussions will be followed by site visits. Day trip to Rome will complete the experience.

Objectives
– to explore the architectural language of the masters of Italian architecture;
– to explore traditional building techniques and materials found in different cities;
– to understand the history of architectural heritage;
– to understand buildings in relation to their historical and urban context;
– to distinguish the layering and stages of transformation of a city and of its architecture;
– to develop an understanding of the theory and practice of historic preservation.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

Classical Studies

CLAS 320 – Archaeology and Art of Ancient Italy Credits: 3

Instructors: Erika Bianchi, Ph.D.
Carolina Megale, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
This course is intended to provide an overview of Ancient Italy from the 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. as interpreted through archaeology, the study of past cultures and societies through their material remains. We will explore different varieties of archaeology and examine theory, methods, and techniques for investigating and reconstructing the past; we will then examine the material evidence for key areas of ancient Italy such as Etruria and the Roman Empire, dealing with not only the artefact remains but also important social, cultural and economic issues. Architecture, sculpture, fresco painting, and the minor arts will be examined at such sights as Fiesole, Rome and Pompeii, and the nature of archaeological evidence will be related to other disciplines such as Art History and History.
The course will be both a practicum in archaeology and a history course, team-taught by an archaeologist and a historian to allow students to learn each aspect of the course material from an expert in the field. Classes will be experimental and dynamic, and will be made of a combination of in-class lectures, field trips, site visits to museums and archaeological digs in Tuscany and elsewhere. Major emphasis throughout the course will be given to the Etruscan city of Fiesole and the Roman cities of Florentia (Florence) and Pompeii.

Objectives
At the conclusion of this course, students should be able to:
• describe the basic archaeological skills: how to locate, record, investigate, analyze and interpret archaeological sites;
• discuss critically archaeology’s social relevance: connections of past human systems and adaptations with today’s world;
• analyze details of some of the main ancient Mediterranean cultures, describing major transitions in their history and how this knowledge is important for modern humans and interpreted differently by different interest groups;
• describe not only specific case studies but general archaeological and historical principles relating to real-world problem solving, in a practical application of knowledge from the human past;
• demonstrate good communication skills: written, oral, visual and interactive, to understand and tell the story of the past.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

HIST 310 – Ancient Rome: Civilization and Legacy Credits: 3

Instructor: Erika Bianchi, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
This course is an introduction to the history and culture of the Roman world, from the Rome’s beginnings in myth and legend through its rise to domination of the Mediterranean world, its violent conversion from a Republic to an Empire, and the long success of that Empire down to its collapse in the fifth century A.D. The first part of the semester will focus on the development of Roman institutions and political system, while the second will be devoted to the social structure of the Roman Empire and the daily life of its people. As we search together to unravel the historical significance of the Roman achievement, we will look at Roman literature and religion, art and architecture, and philosophy. When possible, we will give a privileged place to primary sources in translation, letting the characters of this great historical drama speak for themselves. Our readings will be supplemented by slides and videos, site visits to Roman vestiges in Florence and a two-days field trip to Rome.

Objectives
At the conclusion of this course, students should:
• Define and master the basic events of Roman History, from the foundation of Rome to the fall of the Empire
• Become familiar with the daily life, values and social attitudes of the ancient Romans during the Republic and early centuries of the Empire
• Trace the origins of many aspects of Western European culture and of modern Western society in general
• Gain understanding of the political, religious and intellectual heritage of Roman society and use it as a means of interpreting the human experience through history
• Recognize and understand how much of the English language is affected by Latin vocabulary
• Be able to translate historical knowledge from the narrow focus of the course to the much wider context of being active and acquainted citizens of today’s world.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

Communication

COMM 430 – Social Media: an Italian Perspective Credits: 3

Instructor: Alessandro Masetti, M.Arch., Licensed Architect
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
What is “Social Media” and why should students wish to explore this field for their careers? The world of social media has its own specialized vocabulary, as students taking this course will soon realize. Key terms such as “social media strategy”, “followers”, “engagement” and “content marketing” will form the basis of our study. More importantly, social media today are a “must” not only for any business company seeking a place in the market, but also for anyone willing to emerge professionally and build a career in a society where most people expect to have whatever they need whenever they want. In the past, in a crowded place like a local market, sellers had to shout at the top of their voices to get attention from buyers and customers. Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, the small market downtown has enlarged its boundaries worldwide. Consequently, shouting louder has been replaced by advertising through social media. Hence, the title of this course: social media (of course), but from an Italian perspective.

Course Aims/Objectives
While in Florence, students will learn how to use social media for business and professional purposes, making the most of their presence in this city. Its art, architecture, food, wine, lifestyle and leisure are like brush strokes on the big tableau of Italian culture. COMM 430 students will thus have the chance to contribute to this “painting” by using social networks. They will learn how to blog in a professional way; how to plan a social media strategy; how to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for gaining publicity, both for their own future careers and to the benefit of ISI Florence activities. Furthermore, they will learn how to organize and manage digital events involving the institute’s many partners (companies, brands, associations, academic institutions etc.), how to analyze the results of the activities they planned and develop new ideas. For instance, students will contribute to the following digital events: “Art in Florence”, “Fashion in Florence” and “Food and Drink in Florence.” In doing so, they will be exposed to major components of the city’s cultural life and have the opportunity to provide a detailed account of related activities through blogging, live Tweeting, Instagram posting and Facebook posting.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

COMM 432 – Intercultural Communication Credits: 3

Instructor: Christian Tarchi, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
Within America, Italy, and indeed across the world, cultural diversity, cross-cultural communication, cross-cultural understanding and harmonious intercultural relations are becoming increasingly important. The ease of international travel, access to the world wide web, the globalization of business, immigration, as well as the maintenance of ethnic and culture(s)-of-origin identity of those living in America, Italy, and many other countries all mean that contact between citizens of different countries is inevitable in the rich tapestry of cultures that we live amongst in our world today. It is vital that we develop effective skills to become global citizens of the world, to understand cultures, their related differences, and how they influence people’s thinking as well as social behavior. Skillful communications create positive relationships, working teams, and social groups including individuals from different backgrounds. The course will expose students to the psychology of people in other cultures (with a particular focus on those in Italy), and help them develop the necessary skills to become global citizens and be successful in multicultural environments while reaching a deep appreciation of cultural similarities and differences. In doing so, this course will assist students to challenge their own experiences and (possibly Western) ideas about what it is to be a person. They will analyze social and cultural phenomena, such as advertising and social media, and learn how they influence us cross-culturally. Finally, they will learn about Intercultural Communication theoretical models and practical ways of applying these in order to develop intercultural skills as a ‘global citizen.’ These models, in turn, will help students understand cross-cultural interactions better, be more effective in them, and get the most out of them.
Knowledge and understanding
After completing the course, students are expected to be able to:
• contrast, describe, and explain intercultural communication in different fields of social activity
• describe processes behind intercultural incidents within different fields of social activity
• describe the process of acculturation and culture shock
• give an account of the research literature and critically discuss it with a high degree of autonomy

Skills and abilities
After completing the course, students are expected to be able to:
• analyze intercultural communication within different fields of activity (business, education, and the like)
• apply intercultural communication models to practical situations (such as critical incidents, culture shock, and the like)
• learn how to use ICT (such as social media, blogging, and the like) in multicultural settings

Class Format
Our course will take the form of dynamic, highly interactive site visits in Florence, interactive workshops, and 90-minute class seminars. Intercultural communication theoretical frameworks will be explored using experientially-based activities (e.g. community and site-oriented visits, role-plays, cross-cultural business simulations, interviews with Italians, small and large group discussions, the sharing of your cross-cultural experiences) that make the most of your cross-cultural experience here in Florence, using Italy and its culture as a kind of ‘experimental classroom’ to facilitate intercultural awareness and hone your psychological skills for success as a global citizen. You will have the opportunity to reflect deeply on your growth through social media as you experience Italian culture and become more aware of changes, both positive and negative, as they occur within you. Active participation is expected from all students during each seminar.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

Economics & Economic History

ECON 203 – Introductory Macroeconomics Credits: 3

Instructor: Spencer Pack, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
“An introduction to problems of unemployment, inflation, and economic growth in the United States. Topics include the impact of taxation, government expenditures, and the regulation of interest rates and money; the balance of international payments and the role of the dollar; and the relationships between the United States and the developing world.”
The course will cover most of the material in the textbook Macroeconomics in Context, as well as The Great Crash. There will also be some other readings, and various problem sets.
You are expected to do the assigned readings before class. The lectures will frequently go beyond what is in the text, dealing with more advanced issues that are not in the text, and criticizing the text itself. Hence,
a. the lectures assume that you have already read the text; and,
b. they will not make much sense if you have not done your homework.
The lectures are not meant to replace the assigned readings; they supplement and go beyond the readings.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

ECON 430 – Economics of Food in Italy and America: A Feminist Perspective Credits: 3

Instructor: Spencer Pack, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
A study of the production, distribution, preparation, consumption, and disposal of food in various economies, with a focus on the determinants and repercussions of the sexual division of labor.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

Food Studies

HUM 306 – The History & Culture of Food: A Comparative Analysis Credits: 3

Instructor: Peter Fischer, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
In this course we will examine the relationship between food, culture and identity in Italy through a variety of readings, discussions, outdoor activities and tasting experiences. We will trace the historical evolution of Italian food culture in a world history perspective focusing on the many global influences which over the centuries have shaped the use of different food products, preparation methods, consumption patterns, i.e. the Italian approach towards food as well as on the many ways in which Italy itself has become a dynamic factor in the process of culinary globalization. We will look at food in its social and cultural context through a multi-disciplinary approach — history, anthropology, sociology, and geography. A major focus will be on understanding the extraordinary significance of food in the definition of “Italianness” from an Italian, as well as from an international (i.e. American) perspective.
Lectures and class discussions will be supplemented by special food workshops in which we will explore the history, culture and taste of selected Italian food products: bread, wine, olive oil as well as gelato. We will visit food markets in Florence, and go on a fieldtrip to the Tuscan countryside.

The course will be taught through a combination of formal lectures (incl. power point presentations) class discussions, student presentations, tastings and outdoor activities designed to engage students with local community in Florence. The structure of the course will follow a chronological order and methods of analysis will be predominantly historical in nature.

Objectives
By the end of this course you should be able: to understand the relevance of an interdisciplinary approach studying food; to be familiar with the historical and social construction of taste; to develop an understanding of food as a most fundamental cultural aspect of Italian society and to have enhanced your academic skills of critical analysis, literature reviews and oral presentation.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

History

HIST 310 – Ancient Rome: Civilization and Legacy Credits: 3

Instructor: Erika Bianchi, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
This course is an introduction to the history and culture of the Roman world, from the Rome’s beginnings in myth and legend through its rise to domination of the Mediterranean world, its violent conversion from a Republic to an Empire, and the long success of that Empire down to its collapse in the fifth century A.D. The first part of the semester will focus on the development of Roman institutions and political system, while the second will be devoted to the social structure of the Roman Empire and the daily life of its people. As we search together to unravel the historical significance of the Roman achievement, we will look at Roman literature and religion, art and architecture, and philosophy. When possible, we will give a privileged place to primary sources in translation, letting the characters of this great historical drama speak for themselves. Our readings will be supplemented by slides and videos, site visits to Roman vestiges in Florence and a two-days field trip to Rome.

Objectives
At the conclusion of this course, students should:
• Define and master the basic events of Roman History, from the foundation of Rome to the fall of the Empire
• Become familiar with the daily life, values and social attitudes of the ancient Romans during the Republic and early centuries of the Empire
• Trace the origins of many aspects of Western European culture and of modern Western society in general
• Gain understanding of the political, religious and intellectual heritage of Roman society and use it as a means of interpreting the human experience through history
• Recognize and understand how much of the English language is affected by Latin vocabulary
• Be able to translate historical knowledge from the narrow focus of the course to the much wider context of being active and acquainted citizens of today’s world.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

HIST 310 – Italy and the Jews: History and Culture from the Renaissance to the Present Credits: 3

Instructor: Shulamit Furstenberg-Levi, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
The Jewish community in Italy is the most ancient among the Jewish Diasporas that have remained continuously up until today. This course will focus on the social, economic and cultural interactions between the Jews and their surrounding milieu in Italy. It will examine the shifts between integration and segregation that the Jews experienced, especially from the Renaissance to the modern period. In particular, we will focus on topics such as: Jewish intellectual life during the Renaissance; the ghettos; emancipation and its particular expressions in Italy; Jews under Fascism and Nazism; Italian Jewry nowadays.

Method
The course will be structured around lectures, PPT presentations, in-class discussion, and films. It will include visits to the most important Florentine Jewish sites as well as live meetings with various figures of the Jewish Community in Florence, a prominent architect, a Holocaust survivor and a group of Italian Jewish students. Emphasis will be put on reading a variety of articles characterized by different approaches, in order to develop critical reading and expose the students to a large variety of methodological questions.

Objectives
The main objective of the course is to reach a deep understanding of the history and culture of the Jews in Italy, while taking advantage of the physical presence of the students in this area. As such, this course aims to expose students to various types of documentation, including archival documents, inscriptions on walls, music, paintings, films, oral testimonies and more. In addition, the course aims to introduce methodological questions, which can be applied to Jewish History in general, and to focus on the uniqueness of this Diaspora in particular.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

HIST 310 – Florence: The Story of the City Credits: 3

Instructor: TBA
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
Since its Roman origins, through its internecine conflicts and artistic and literary flourishing, the history of Florence is highly representative of the history of Italy. Moreover, Florence was the cradle of some philosophical, artistic, and political ideas that were key in shaping the Western World. This course will help students find their bearings across this unique city, identify its most celebrated spaces, and understand how the city has changed and how it has been shaped by the character of its people. This will entail the exploration of its both well-known as well as hidden landscape and social spaces. The course will be divided into class lectures with PowerPoint presentations and outdoor explorations.

Objective
Students will become aware of the changes that took place in the city through the centuries and how individuals and groups shaped both the character of the city and its cultural scene. Each week a list of readings will be assigned from primary sources, along with a few questions to help students concentrate on the texts.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

HIST 310/POLSC 430 – The European Union Credits: 3

Instructor: Simone Paoli, Ph.D.

Prerequisite: None

Credits: 3

Description The European Union is still the biggest capitalist marketplace, the biggest trading power and one of the most influential political players in the world, despite its facing one of the worst political, social and economic crises in history. The course is divided into two parts. The first focuses on the main policies of the European Union, taking into account historical evolution, political objectives and major achievements of each area of activity. The second concentrates on the relations between the European Union and the United States, analyzing separately the most important dimensions of the transatlantic relationship. Classes are structured as lectures, student presentations, and group discussions. Lectures do not simply explain the readings, but also complement them by providing further figures, information, and anecdotes. In doing so, the instructor makes extensive use of multimedia presentation formats such as PPT, movies, and documentaries. Opportunities to meet with experts will offer students a wider range of viewpoints on the present and future of the European Union, while short field trips (without any fee) will provide students with a better understanding of what the European Union represents for its citizens. In this semester there may be also the possibility of visiting (again, free of charge) the Historical Archives of the European Union and the European University Institute, both situated in Florence.

Objectives The aim of the course is to give students explanations for current trends within the European Union. The focus is on the present, the study of the past being a way to better understand the European Union as it is nowadays. On completion of the course, students will have acquired the instruments for grasping, interpreting, and discussing the topical issues of the European Union and its relations with the United States.

Textbooks During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation. Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.  

HIST 315/POLSC 430 – History and Politics of Modern Italy: The Twentieth Century Credits: 3

Instructor: Peter Fischer, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
This course has been designed to review and examine the modern political history of Italy from the first World War to the end of the 20th century. After a short overview over the longer Italian History, the main areas of focus will be: the rise and the fall of Italian fascism, the Second World War and the Cold War, the workings of governing institutions in the post-war period (there will be detailed discussion of the postwar constitution and the new political system), the role of the Church, political parties and movements, the European unification process, black and red terrorism, as well as political corruption and political conspiracy. There will also be detailed discussion of the crises and transformation of the post-war Italian political system in the early 1990s.

The course will be taught through a combination of formal lectures (incl. power point presentations), document discussion workshops, film presentations and outdoor activities. The lectures will provide a broad outline of the respective period while the workshops will enable students to focus on key topics or themes. Students will engage in full class discussion and small group work. There will be several outdoor activities in Florence.

Objectives
The course seeks to provide students with basic knowledge about Italy’s modern political history, so that they may evaluate the complexity of Italian politics with some degree of sophistication. On successful completion of this course students will be able to gain a command not only of the “facts” of modern Italian political history–the dates of key events, the importance of major personalities, and such–but also come to understand the dynamics involved: the basic trends of continuity and change, cause and effect, the interplay of regional, national and international influences, and the significance of global events within Italy. The four scheduled out-door activities should allow students to get some first-hand experiences of the place where they study.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

HIST 430 – Sport History and Culture Credits: 3

Instructor: Erika Bianchi, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
With its heroes and hustlers, its victors and victims, its stars and spectators, sport was, is, and will remain undeniably popular and significant. Ancient and modern civilizations share what amounts to an obsession with physical contests and public performances, but what is “sport” and how can it be studied and understood historically? This course will examine the prominence, variety, cultural distinctiveness and functions of sports (and spectacles) in ancient and modern societies.
The game will be played as follows:
The first half of term will focus on the Ancient World, from pre-history to the Middle Ages and Renaissance, with a special emphasis on Greek culture and Roman spectacles. But the phenomenon of ancient sports and spectacles – the Greek Olympics, the shocking violence of the Colosseum games – will not be approached as isolated pastimes but as essential elements in social, political and religious life. Sport will be used as an historical window into human nature, cultures, and periods.
Likewise, in the second half of term we will cover sport in the 20th century: from the humble origins of the modern Olympics in 1896 through the use of the games and sport in general as a political-social platform during Fascism and Nazism, Communism and the Cold War, up to the most relevant social issues reflected by sport in our present time. We will explore the connections between sport and global political, social and cultural power relations. Case studies will include, in addition to the Olympics, the World Cup, the significance and potential of soccer in either Europe and the USA, the interplay of race and sport and the issues of gender and sport. Students will be also given the opportunity to focus on events unique to American sport culture, investigating the use of sports and sporting events as a public stage to perform dramas of social change, and reporting the results of their critical analysis in a class presentation.
Class lectures (all power-point based) and discussions will be interactive, engaging and complemented by documentaries/film screenings. We will also attend a professional game of the local soccer team, Fiorentina, playing at the top level of the professional Italian football (Serie A).

Objectives
At the conclusion of the course, students should be able to:
➢ Understand the rationale and purpose of historical study in general;
➢ Describe the chronology and the context of significant events in the history of sport;
➢ Evaluate the history of sport as a means of reflecting and assessing the human experience;
➢ Understand and read about sport as a representation of many of the historical and contemporary political, economic and cultural power relationships and conflicts that frame our world;
➢ Critically analyze and evaluate sports from a sociological perspective;
➢ Discuss the international impact of major sport competitions such as the Olympic games and the Soccer World Cup;
➢ Improve the ability to perform critical and constructive thinking and to encourage the development of thought-provoking attitudes of inquiry and investigation.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

HUM 306 – The History & Culture of Food: A Comparative Analysis Credits: 3

Instructor: Peter Fischer, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
In this course we will examine the relationship between food, culture and identity in Italy through a variety of readings, discussions, outdoor activities and tasting experiences. We will trace the historical evolution of Italian food culture in a world history perspective focusing on the many global influences which over the centuries have shaped the use of different food products, preparation methods, consumption patterns, i.e. the Italian approach towards food as well as on the many ways in which Italy itself has become a dynamic factor in the process of culinary globalization. We will look at food in its social and cultural context through a multi-disciplinary approach — history, anthropology, sociology, and geography. A major focus will be on understanding the extraordinary significance of food in the definition of “Italianness” from an Italian, as well as from an international (i.e. American) perspective.
Lectures and class discussions will be supplemented by special food workshops in which we will explore the history, culture and taste of selected Italian food products: bread, wine, olive oil as well as gelato. We will visit food markets in Florence, and go on a fieldtrip to the Tuscan countryside.

The course will be taught through a combination of formal lectures (incl. power point presentations) class discussions, student presentations, tastings and outdoor activities designed to engage students with local community in Florence. The structure of the course will follow a chronological order and methods of analysis will be predominantly historical in nature.

Objectives
By the end of this course you should be able: to understand the relevance of an interdisciplinary approach studying food; to be familiar with the historical and social construction of taste; to develop an understanding of food as a most fundamental cultural aspect of Italian society and to have enhanced your academic skills of critical analysis, literature reviews and oral presentation.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

International Business

BUSN 430 – The Business of Art: the Economics and Management of Culture Credits: 3

Instructor: Francesca Marini, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
Markets for visual arts provide a particularly fertile ground for those concerned with the economics of culture. The study of the past and current structure of the market for visual art, the mechanisms that fuel this flourishing market and the involvement of public and private institutions in the context of the current globalization of the arts, provides significant instruments for the development of museum management studies, as well as a different methodological approach to art history and history of culture management.
The economics of the arts are an inter-disciplinary field of study that deals with the application of economics to the production, distribution and consumption of all cultural goods and services. Past contributions to cultural economics were focused mainly on public policy issues, in particular the rationale for public subsidy and the evaluation of public expenditure, but the interdisciplinary nature of this discipline and the growing interest in it expanded research to broader areas of interest that combine economics with the sociological, anthropological and historical point of view.

Objectives
By studying the theoretical and practical aspects of this field of study in the context of visual arts, students will develop an understanding of the main topics and scope of the field and the history, behavior and structure of the art market. While analyzing the economic impact of past and current art law they will evaluate the organization of visual arts and entertainment industries both in the past and in the ‘new economy’ environment, which will be enriched by meetings with significant professional figures working in the world of museums, foundations and international art trade.
Students will be introduced to institutional networks that sustain and promote the art business, the current art market and auction house environment.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

MGMT 320 – Family Business in Italy Credits: 3

Instructor: Clive Woollard, M.B.A.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Italy, many of them family owned, account for 81% of the Italian workforce, compared to a European average of 67%. Many of the world’s most famous brands such as Prada, Ferrari, Ferragamo and Benetton are Italian companies that remain firmly under family control.
Family businesses have long been the motor of Italian economic development. Is there something in the fabric of Italian society that leads to such a high proportion of family businesses? Are there lessons to be learned for family businesses elsewhere?
This course will explore the trends in family business, the challenges that they face, the keys to their success and the future, bright or otherwise, of these businesses.
Another unique feature of Italian business is the Industrial Cluster. Internationally, companies generally try to put as much distance as possible between themselves and their competitors. In Italy, however, competitors have often tended to cluster in tight geographical locations. We examine the reasons why, the implications of doing so and the likely future development of such clusters.
The first half of the course will focus on achieving a solid understanding of the theory of family business, what makes it successful and what threatens its survival, through classwork and visits. After the mid-term break, we will deepen our analysis by looking at a series of world-class Italian family businesses, to understand the secrets of their success.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

Italian Language

ITAL 101 – The Florence Experience I: Beginning Italian I Credits: 4

Instructor: ISI Italian Faculty
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 4

Description
The Florence Experience I is an interdisciplinary course which focuses on achieving a basic level in cultural and linguistic-communicative competences (speaking, writing, reading and understanding) regarding familiar contexts, everyday life activities and simple interaction with native speakers, while introducing the students to various, relevant aspects of contemporary Florentine life and Italian culture. The course offers students an interdisciplinary experience in language learning. As is well known, this is possible only by direct immersion in the target culture. Since language and culture are deeply connected (language IS culture and culture IS language), each class will introduce students to linguistic skills such as communicative structures, grammar structures, vocabulary and pronunciation. At the same time, however it will provide them with a deeper knowledge of Italian culture. The city of Florence will thus become a cultural laboratory: with its world-famous fashion concerns, its beautiful theaters and lively markets, its young writers and actors, and its characteristic stores and artisans’ workshops, it stands out as a most appealing mix of contemporary Italian culture to be explored by the student.
In addition to classroom work, which is based on the standard content of the first semester of language study, the course includes a series of on-site meetings (incontri). These will range from interviews with Florentines to meetings with artisans in the botteghe (workshops) of the characteristic Oltrarno neighborhood, field-trips and treasure hunts at the most vivacious markets in town, as well as meetings with students from the University of Florence. Students will also meet young Florentine actors who will offer interactive performances.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

ITAL 102 – The Florence Experience II: Beginning Italian II Credits: 4

Instructor: ISI Italian Faculty
Prerequisite: One semester of Italian
Credits: 4

Description
The Florence Experience II is an interdisciplinary course which builds on one semester of previous work. It focuses on achieving a post-basic level in cultural and linguistic-communicative competences regarding familiar matters, personal experiences, studies, work and daily routine, while introducing the students to various, relevant aspects of contemporary Florentine life and Italian culture. Students will develop communicative skills in order to easily make themselves understood and understand during interaction with native speakers. The course offers students an interdisciplinary experience in language learning. As is well known, this is possible only by direct immersion in the target culture. Since language and culture are deeply connected (language IS culture and culture IS language), each class will introduce students to linguistic skills such as communicative structures, grammar structures, vocabulary and pronunciation. At the same time, however it will provide them with a deeper knowledge of Italian culture. The city of Florence will thus becomes a cultural laboratory: with its world-famous fashion concerns, its beautiful theaters and lively markets, its young writers and actors, and its characteristic stores and artisans’ workshops, it stands out as a most appealing mix of contemporary Italian culture to be explored by the student. In addition to classroom work, the course includes a series of on-site meetings (incontri). These will range from interviews with Florentines to meetings with artisans in the botteghe (workshops) of the characteristic Oltrarno neighborhood, field-trips and treasure hunts at the most vivacious markets in town, as well as meetings with students from the University of Florence. Students will have the opportunity to interact with author Camilla Trinchieri, who will conduct with them a dialogue about her recent book Cercando Alice. Students will translate selections from the novel during the first part of the semester, and they will subsequently meet the author.
Students will also get to know young Florentine actors who will offer interactive performances.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

ITAL 201 – The Florence Experience III: Intermediate Italian I Credits: 4

Instructor: ISI Italian Faculty
Prerequisite: Two semesters of Italian
Credits: 4

Description
The Florence Experience III is an interdisciplinary course which builds on two semesters of previous work. It focuses on achieving an intermediate level in cultural and linguistic-communicative competences regarding familiar matters, personal experiences and events, a various range of conversational topics and situations likely to arise whilst traveling while introducing the students to various, relevant aspects of contemporary Florentine life and Italian culture. The course offers students an interdisciplinary experience in language learning. As is well known, this is possible only by direct immersion in the target culture. Since language and culture are deeply connected (language IS culture and culture IS language), each class will introduce students to linguistic skills such as communicative structures, grammar structures, vocabulary and pronunciation. At the same time, however, it will provide them with a deeper knowledge of Italian culture. The city of Florence will thus become a cultural laboratory: with its world-famous fashion concerns, its beautiful theaters and lively markets, its young writers and actors, and its characteristic stores and artisans’ workshops, it stands out as a most appealing mix of contemporary Italian culture to be explored by the student. In addition to classroom work, the course includes a series of on-site meetings (incontri). These will range from interviews with Florentines to meetings with artisans in the botteghe (workshops) of the characteristic Oltrarno neighborhood, field-trips and treasure hunts at the most vivacious markets in town, as well as meetings with students from the University of Florence. Students will have the opportunity to interact with author Camilla Trinchieri, who will conduct with them a dialogue about her recent book Cercando Alice. Students will translate selections from the novel during the first part of the semester, and they will subsequently meet the author.
Students will also get to know young Florentine actors who will offer interactive performances.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

ITAL 202 – The Florence Experience IV: Intermediate Italian II Credits: 4

Instructor: ISI Italian Faculty
Prerequisite: Three semesters of Italian
Credits: 4

Description
The Florence Experience IV is an interdisciplinary course which builds on three semesters of previous work. It focuses on achieving a post-intermediate level in cultural and linguistic-communicative competences regarding a wide range of complex, longer oral and written texts. The course aims at developing such competences in order to enable students to express themselves without evident strain in a wide range of subjects and spontaneously participate in interaction with native speakers, while introducing them to various, relevant aspects of contemporary Florentine life and Italian culture. The course offers students an interdisciplinary experience in language learning. As is well known, this is possible only by direct immersion in the target culture. Since language and culture are deeply connected (language IS culture and culture IS language), each class will introduce students to linguistic skills such as communicative structures, grammar structures, vocabulary and pronunciation. At the same time, however, it will provide them with a deeper knowledge of Italian culture. The city of Florence will thus become a cultural laboratory: with its world-famous fashion concerns, its beautiful theaters and lively markets, its young writers and actors, and its characteristic stores and artisans’ workshops, it stands out as a most appealing mix of contemporary Italian culture to be explored by the student. In addition to classroom work, the course includes a series of on-site meetings. These will range from interviews with Florentines to meetings with artisans in the botteghe (workshops) of the characteristic Oltrarno neighborhood, field-trips and treasure hunts at the most vivacious markets in town, as well as meetings with students from the University of Florence. Students will have the opportunity to interact with author Camilla Trinchieri, who will conduct with them a dialogue about her recent book Cercando Alice. Students will translate selections from the novel during the first part of the semester, and they will subsequently meet the author.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

ITAL 310 – The Florence Experience V: Advanced Italian Credits: 4

Instructor: ISI Italian Faculty
Prerequisite: Four semesters of Italian
Credits: 4

Description
The Florence Experience V is an interdisciplinary course which builds on four semesters of previous work. It focuses on achieving an advanced level in cultural and linguistic-communicative competences regarding a wide range of complex, longer oral and written texts. The course aims at developing such competences in order to enable students to express themselves fluently in a wide range of subjects and spontaneously participate in interaction with native speakers, while introducing them to various, relevant aspects of contemporary Florentine life and Italian culture. The course offers students an interdisciplinary experience in language learning. As is well known, this is possible only by direct immersion in the target culture. Since language and culture are deeply connected (language IS culture and culture IS language), each class will introduce students to linguistic skills such as communicative structures, grammar structures, vocabulary and pronunciation. At the same time, however, it will provide them with a deeper knowledge of Italian culture. The city of Florence will thus become a cultural laboratory: with its world-famous fashion concerns, its beautiful theaters and lively markets, its young writers and actors, and its characteristic stores and artisans’ workshops, it stands out as a most appealing mix of contemporary Italian culture to be explored by the student. In addition to classroom work, the course includes a series of on-site meetings (incontri). These will range from interviews with Florentines to meetings with artisans in the botteghe (workshops) of the characteristic Oltrarno neighborhood, field-trips and treasure hunts at the most vivacious markets in town, as well as meetings with students from the University of Florence. Students will have the opportunity to interact with author Camilla Trinchieri, who will conduct with them a dialogue about her recent book Cercando Alice. Students will translate selections from the novel during the first part of the semester, and they will subsequently meet the author.
Students will also get to know young Florentine actors who will offer interactive performances.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

ITAL 430 – Italian Language through Economics and Business Credits: 4

Instructor: Catia Santi, M.A.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 4

Description
Italian Language through Economics and Business is a course that focuses on achieving a basic level in cultural and linguistic competence (speaking, writing, reading, and understanding). As such, it gives students the opportunity to learn vocabulary and language skills that are proper to the business world. Language is the core of culture and vice versa. We thus wish to teach students both, so that they may fully understand our language while learning what it means to work with and for Italian companies. As is well known, this is only possible by direct immersion in the target culture. Since language and culture are deeply connected (language is culture and culture is language), each meeting will introduce students to linguistic skills such as communicative structures, grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. In particular, lexicon and communicative structures are focused on economics and the business world. These elements will make up the core of this course so as to provide students with a deeper knowledge of business in Italy. Each day, students will have the chance to experience this peculiar culture and use its specific language by using the skills they learn in class. In addition to classroom work, which is based on the standard content of a first semester of language study, the course includes a series of on-site meetings (incontri).

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

ITAL 340 – Readings in Italian Theater Literature: A Journey into Italian Theater (in Italian) Credits: 3

Instructor: Emanuela Agostini, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: Proficiency in Italian
Credits: 3

Description
Il corso, interamente impartito in italiano, è rivolto a studenti a un livello avanzato di conoscenza della lingua italiana.
Gli studenti saranno guidati nella lettura di una selezione ragionata di testi teatrali dedicata ai ruoli femminili sulle scene italiane tra Cinque e Settecento: dalle Innamorate della Commedia dell’Arte ai “caratteri” di Carlo Goldoni. L’analisi dei testi sarà inserita all’interno dei contesti nei quali furono prodotti. Il corso non si limita pertanto alla lettura delle opere, ma fornisce agli studenti anche le linee guida per la comprensione di alcuni dei principali fenomeni dello spettacolo italiano.
Le lezioni integrano la lettura di testi scritti all’analisi di materiali multimediali, film e registrazioni di spettacoli che allargherà la riflessione ai “ruoli” femminili nel teatro e nel cinema italiano del Novecento.
Tramite la visione dell’allestimento di spettacoli dal vivo in cartellone presso i teatri fiorentini si stimolerà l’interesse degli studenti verso la tradizione del teatro di prosa e d’opera italiani. Il seminario condotto da attori professionisti e il laboratorio di drammaturgia permetteranno agli studenti di mettere alla prova le proprie abilità espressive nella comunicazione orale e scritta.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

Literature

ITAL 340 – Readings in Italian Theater Literature: A Journey into Italian Theater (in Italian) Credits: 3

Instructor: Emanuela Agostini, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: Proficiency in Italian
Credits: 3

Description
Il corso, interamente impartito in italiano, è rivolto a studenti a un livello avanzato di conoscenza della lingua italiana.
Gli studenti saranno guidati nella lettura di una selezione ragionata di testi teatrali dedicata ai ruoli femminili sulle scene italiane tra Cinque e Settecento: dalle Innamorate della Commedia dell’Arte ai “caratteri” di Carlo Goldoni. L’analisi dei testi sarà inserita all’interno dei contesti nei quali furono prodotti. Il corso non si limita pertanto alla lettura delle opere, ma fornisce agli studenti anche le linee guida per la comprensione di alcuni dei principali fenomeni dello spettacolo italiano.
Le lezioni integrano la lettura di testi scritti all’analisi di materiali multimediali, film e registrazioni di spettacoli che allargherà la riflessione ai “ruoli” femminili nel teatro e nel cinema italiano del Novecento.
Tramite la visione dell’allestimento di spettacoli dal vivo in cartellone presso i teatri fiorentini si stimolerà l’interesse degli studenti verso la tradizione del teatro di prosa e d’opera italiani. Il seminario condotto da attori professionisti e il laboratorio di drammaturgia permetteranno agli studenti di mettere alla prova le proprie abilità espressive nella comunicazione orale e scritta.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

ITAL 430 – A City with a View: Modern Italy through Florence Credits: 3

Instructor: Alessandro Raveggi, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
This course aims to introduce students to the history and the evolution of Italian literary and cultural movements from the 19th century to the present. The city of Florence will be used as a “lens”, as it were, to assess Italy’s history, its protagonists, peculiar settings, and “views” on modern issues. Ever since the aftermath of Italy’s political unification in 1861, Florence has been an important center and a laboratory of ideas, which intersected and anticipated the trends that were to characterize the new Italian nation. In doing so, the city’s culture coped with, criticized, and readapted its glorious and often complex tradition, which was — and, to a certain extent, still is — mostly linked to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. To retrace this rich context the course will adopt an interdisciplinary approach, relying on literature, movies, and the visual arts.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

Political Science

HIST 310/POLSC 430 – The European Union Credits: 3

Instructor: Simone Paoli, Ph.D.

Prerequisite: None

Credits: 3

Description The European Union is still the biggest capitalist marketplace, the biggest trading power and one of the most influential political players in the world, despite its facing one of the worst political, social and economic crises in history. The course is divided into two parts. The first focuses on the main policies of the European Union, taking into account historical evolution, political objectives and major achievements of each area of activity. The second concentrates on the relations between the European Union and the United States, analyzing separately the most important dimensions of the transatlantic relationship. Classes are structured as lectures, student presentations, and group discussions. Lectures do not simply explain the readings, but also complement them by providing further figures, information, and anecdotes. In doing so, the instructor makes extensive use of multimedia presentation formats such as PPT, movies, and documentaries. Opportunities to meet with experts will offer students a wider range of viewpoints on the present and future of the European Union, while short field trips (without any fee) will provide students with a better understanding of what the European Union represents for its citizens. In this semester there may be also the possibility of visiting (again, free of charge) the Historical Archives of the European Union and the European University Institute, both situated in Florence.

Objectives The aim of the course is to give students explanations for current trends within the European Union. The focus is on the present, the study of the past being a way to better understand the European Union as it is nowadays. On completion of the course, students will have acquired the instruments for grasping, interpreting, and discussing the topical issues of the European Union and its relations with the United States.

Textbooks During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation. Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.  

HIST 315/POLSC 430 – History and Politics of Modern Italy: The Twentieth Century Credits: 3

Instructor: Peter Fischer, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
This course has been designed to review and examine the modern political history of Italy from the first World War to the end of the 20th century. After a short overview over the longer Italian History, the main areas of focus will be: the rise and the fall of Italian fascism, the Second World War and the Cold War, the workings of governing institutions in the post-war period (there will be detailed discussion of the postwar constitution and the new political system), the role of the Church, political parties and movements, the European unification process, black and red terrorism, as well as political corruption and political conspiracy. There will also be detailed discussion of the crises and transformation of the post-war Italian political system in the early 1990s.

The course will be taught through a combination of formal lectures (incl. power point presentations), document discussion workshops, film presentations and outdoor activities. The lectures will provide a broad outline of the respective period while the workshops will enable students to focus on key topics or themes. Students will engage in full class discussion and small group work. There will be several outdoor activities in Florence.

Objectives
The course seeks to provide students with basic knowledge about Italy’s modern political history, so that they may evaluate the complexity of Italian politics with some degree of sophistication. On successful completion of this course students will be able to gain a command not only of the “facts” of modern Italian political history–the dates of key events, the importance of major personalities, and such–but also come to understand the dynamics involved: the basic trends of continuity and change, cause and effect, the interplay of regional, national and international influences, and the significance of global events within Italy. The four scheduled out-door activities should allow students to get some first-hand experiences of the place where they study.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

The Marywood Architecture & Interior Design Program

ARCH 320 – Architecture Design Studio VI Credits: 5

*This course is exclusive to the Marywood Architecture & Interior Design Program

Instructor: Franco Pisani, M.Arch., Licensed Architect
Prerequisite: Arch. Design studio I-V
Credits: 5

Description Context: strategy+Communication. As a continuation of ARCH 310, ARCH 320 give an emphasis on the roles of space, structure and section in buildings. Students will focus on design projects in which spatial organization, along with principles of structure, materials, and site design, serve as form determinants. Aesthetic judgments based on technical concepts and applications become integral to the design process. This Design studio regards the designer as a thinker as well as a maker, working conceptually and strategically across the fading boundaries of traditional design disciplines. The studio will focus on two design goals: Integrating context and buildings and balancing the needs of the individual with community through projects of residential architecture. More urgently than ever, today’s world needs innovative, informed design, and architects are in need of more complex and interactive profiles. We’re here to define and nurture design’s emerging roles and methods – to educate, to envision and (I hope) to lead.

Objectives The main opportunity offered by a design studio in Firenze, is the opportunity of working in a strongly characterized historical context, with its multiple layers and its continuous in progress status. Firenze and its built environment will be the textbook for studio, and the studio will develop methods to learn from it. Students will be asked to go behind appearances, and to look at the city from different points of view and not as tourists.
ARCHITECTURE IS STRATEGY AND COMMUNICATION.
The main goal of the studio is to provide students with an insight into the nature of the public domain and the ways in which architecture and urban space are weaved to create the physical setting for the activities and rituals of public urban life.
STYLE IS NOT AN ADDED QUALITY
The studio will not focus on a merely functional program; instead, it will operate on the premise that public spaces are important to the livability of a city. Students will cultivate design not to explore style, but to explore what they consider to be fundamental to architecture: namely, issues of space, urbanism and meanings, searching a way to hide thoughts inside shapes.
ORDINARY vs EXTRAORDINARY
Unorthodox programs using contemporary complexity of urban phenomena will be of main importance in developing design proposals. In short (according to NAAB specs) goals of the studio are:
1) to continue the student’s development of architectural design investigation and communication skills ( NAAB SPC A.1, A.2, A.3, A.6, A.7)
2) to encourage an iterative design process (NAAB SPC A.2, A.5, A.6)
3) to document and analyze the forces and systems that are specific to a site or location and introduce the impact of these forces on Pre-Design (NAAB SPC A.2, A.5, A.11, B.1)
4) to investigate the interaction between landscape and architecture to find ways to optimize and conserve natural resources (NAAB SPC A.6, B.3)
5) to develop designs that balance the needs of the individual the community (NAAB SPC A.6)
6) to understand the requirements for life safety and egress (NAAB SPC B.5)
7) to work corroboratively to successfully complete design projects (NAAB SPC C.1)
8) to design spaces that meet or exceed Accessibility standards ( NAAB SPC B.2)
9) to design spaces that optimize natural resources and understand how the choice of materials impacts the environment (NAAB SPC B.3)
By accomplishing the requirements of this studio students will:
1) Students will complete site analysis and pre-design in which they research local zoning requirements.
2) Students will create a masterplan that integrates the building with the public space.
3) Students will develop a preliminary structural diagram for their design.
4) Students will create an ADA accessible residential unit.
5) Students will create a space that meet life safety egress requirements.
6) Students will create presentation drawings.
7) Students will create a portfolio.

Textbooks During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation. Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

IARCH 320A – Interior Architecture Studio VI Credits: 5

*This course is exclusive to the Marywood Architecture & Interior Design Program

Instructor: Franco Pisani, M.Arch., Licensed Architect
Prerequisite: IARCH 310
Credits: 5

Description
Italy: news from the interior.
We will not choose wall-papers, curtains or furniture, we will not “decorate” rooms in order to give them a particular appeal, we will shape interior spaces in order to better serve contemporary needs and life-styles.
“A constant, light background noise can be detected behind the apparently unchanged facades of our cities. It corresponds to a continuous change inside our houses, offices, factories, schools and theatres. An incessant bustle is transforming our inhabited spaces, our places of work, study, social life and entertainment from within. It is a reflection of a profound change in our way of life. This is mostly taking place behind closed doors. Protective masks hide today’s faces, which are so different from those of a few decades ago. Over the threshold, and behind apparently unchanged facades, new and constantly changing Italian interiors reflect a profoundly different society. The face of Italy is now composed of these numerous facets. They correspond to different stories and aspirations, but are only rarely expressed or directly perceptible on the outside.” This is how Mirko Zardini, curator of the Italian exhibition of the 2004’s Venice Biennale, presented the excellence of Italian architectural design. In this framework, the Interior Architecture Studio, will operate within the boundary of that phenomenon of gentle transformations, of constant redesign of the internal and external spaces that can be perceived as the main character of italian urban environment. An approach that is not less important than the one traditionally expressed by disciplinary process of modernization which, until the 1970s, led to the country equipping itself with infrastructure, houses, social housing, factories, offices and schools. We will not choose wall-papers, curtains or furniture, we will not “decorate” rooms in order to give them a particular appeal, we will shape interior spaces in order to better serve needs. This studio, open to architects and designers, will focus on the possibility offered by the use of architectural tools applied to the re-shape of interior spaces. From residential to retail spaces, from installations to refurbishments, we will experience the process of analysis of the needs, the development of concepts, the design of the solutions and the presentation to the clients.

Objectives
An ability to analyze potentiality and qualities offered by spaces, to critically analyze and develop expertise in interior architecture, in site analysis, basic programming, diagramming and design.
An ability to synthesize culture, technology, and design in a final project that demonstrates mastery of skills and develop a rigorous formal and theoretical response.
An awareness and understanding of Italian environmental and urban conditions, related to space re-modeling and re-furbishing.
Completing the assignments, the student will gain all tools and skills needed to design, communicate, evaluate and coordinate the process of the refurbishment of an interior space.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

The Roger Williams Advanced Architecture Program

ARCH 416 – Advanced Topical Design Studio: Urban Credits: 5

*This course is exclusive to the Roger Williams Advanced Architecture Program

Instructor: Carlo Achilli, M.Arch., Licensed Architect
Prerequisite: Arch. Design studio Core I-IV
Credits: 5

Description The aim of the first weeks is to introduce students to the cultural experience of living in a city whose layers date back centuries, which at the same time houses contemporary life for its citizens and visitors. The exercises are designed to acquaint the students with the city of Florence, by helping you in reading the urban fabric, along with mapping the city in order to facilitate your understanding of such a different environment from the one you are accustomed. As architectural educators, we share the conviction that architecture should account for its place – its belonging in the contextual setting. Hence our attention will be directed to addressing the myriad issues of place and context in which architectural projects can be situated. The goal is to equip students with the necessary tools to describe, represent, analyze and interpolate the urban fabric. To this end attention is focused on the issues of context by means of initial intensive exercises in site analysis and documentation. Florence is a city whose layers are deposited throughout the centuries therefore a particular emphasis is placed upon the understanding of the urban context of the city, both in present and historical terms. This directive fosters the development of a comprehensive urban perspective. The aim of the studio, is to bring together three modes of inquiry that are often considered separately: a theory-based approach, the consideration of historical urban environment – their meaning and use for today, and a design problem. Articles will be handed out on web, in a common folder, periodically. The first part of the semester will be dedicated to understanding design issues at the urban scale, where the interrelation between elements of a city can be better understood. Public spaces such as piazzas, public buildings and stores play a key role in the civic life of the historic neighborhoods. The studio will explore the rehabilitation of such important elements through a culturally sensitive design effort. The site project in the historic center of Florence will encompass both urban and landscape analysis of the present situation and a proposal of recovery Master Plan for public/private spaces. This exercise is concerned with streets, piazzas, access, setbacks and all the elements which come together to form the “public face of Architecture” for Piazza Brunelleschi Area. The second design assignment will be an infill project located in the area between the Brunelleschi Rotonda and the Università di Firenze buildings. The program includes public buildings, (community center and Library), a mixed use building (commercial+residential), a two stories underground parking garage and re-design of the Piazza Brunelleschi. The study of residential typologies entails an understanding of Italian cultural setting and more specifically of Tuscan way of dwelling. Your design will explore both the building typology and the layering of the surrounding fabric, providing a contextual response appropriate to the setback of the Piazza. Both designs will address the dichotomy public – private space keeping in mind that the task of the architect is to provide the community with livable places of interaction as well as to respond to the individuals’ needs for a place of their own.

Textbooks During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation. Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

ARCH 477 – Architecture in Context: City, Spaces and Urban Design Credits: 3

*This course is exclusive to the Roger Williams Advanced Architecture Program

Instructor: Carlo Achilli, M.Arch., Licensed Architect
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description The course explores today’s Florence, seen as a living city rather than as an open-air museum for tourists. This approach helps students read and understand the city beyond its monumental highlights. We investigate the various meanings of “context”. We explore the multifaceted, sometimes conflicting, co-existence of modern/global needs & practices and traditional/local spaces. We address the contemporary urban fabric, its environment, its historic process, and its stratified layers; we consider the cityscape, the skyline, the surrounding landscape, the geography of Florence, and its terrain. Starting from the “finished” urban fabric, the course focuses on processes, ideas, and programs behind the contemporary city. We can apply to architecture what Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier, father of modern Chemistry, wrote about the physical world: “Nothing creates itself, nothing gets lost, all change”. Architects never draw on a blank sheet of paper. Hidden links are always present. This course provides students with an approach and the basic tools which enable them to recognize these hidden connections. We explore how contemporary architects and masters of the past used the context as a rich, active source of inspiration, rather than as a limit to their creativity.

Objectives – to develop methods and tools for analyzing, understanding, and evaluating a city or a site and its context; – to use Florence as a study case; – to discover the hidden dynamics of the urban fabric of Florence, beyond the city’s monumental buildings; – to look at the architecture of Florence with new eyes, focusing on the invisible links between life, space, and buildings.

Textbooks During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation. Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.  

Visual/Studio Arts

VARTS 204 – Drawing: The Human Figure Credits: 3

Instructor: Tiziano Lucchesi, M.F.A.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
This course offers students the possibility to master the basic notions of anatomical drawing through the study of classical and Renaissance Florentine sculptures as well as live models. The first part is centered on the anatomical study of the male and female figures; in the second part, it will progress toward the incorporation of color according to old masters’ techniques. In the first phase students will observe and draw busts, plasters and sculptures in the various Florentine collections, following the method of the old masters, using the more familiar drawing techniques with pencil, charcoal, sanguine (iron oxide) and fusaggine. The classes will include brief theoretical lessons to illustrate human anatomy and to analyse figures drawn by famous artists in history. Students will then proceed to drawing figures directly, both in the piazzas of Florence and in the studio with live models. After taking stock of the results and progress achieved in the first part of the course, there will be the possibility of continuing towards the course objectives with the use of color, choosing from numerous ancient and modern techniques. The aim of this class is to prepare students to express their own artistic creativity after having acquired mastery of the drawing of the human figure. There will be an end-of-term exhibit, after which students may take their work back with them.
Class will meet for six hours per week in the studio.
Projects: Students will be expected to work through a series of assignments that will help them become familiar with the techniques being studied.
Critiques: Critiques are intended to serve as an open forum for evaluation and discussion of your work.
Slide Presentations/Site Visits: Slide presentations will address the connections between concepts presented in class, your work, and art history, while site visits to museums and galleries will enable students to view the work of the Italian masters.
Readings: Students will be given handouts to assist in learning techniques.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

VARTS 261 – Introduction to Photography: Portfolio of Florence Credits: 3

Instructor: Gloria Marco Munuera, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
This course will offer students a foundation in one of the most diffused media of the contemporary world: photography. Students will be immersed in the world of imagery by walking tours in the Florentine landscape including urban sites and historical monuments. Florence is an ideal city for photographic imagery. Apart from hosting some of the most precious artworks, it is blessed with a variety of buildings and the unforgettable Tuscan landscape. Relying on these unique features, students will focus on beginning digital photographic techniques including professional portfolio presentation and creative thinking.

Objectives
An objective of the course is to gain knowledge of the basics about shooting color and black and white images with DSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras. Students will leave the course knowing how to use their cameras, correct an image through Adobe Photoshop software, and having produced a professional portfolio that reveals their personal view of Florence.
They will improve their capability to creatively interpret and criticize photographic images while developing the ability to think critically about pictures they see. Using the Florentine environment, students will experience a new culture through the medium of photography and its digital processes. By the end of the course, they will have developed an understanding of
their own photographic language, and have acquired a more critical eye.

Required Materials
Art courses require overall time and extra money for supplies. In this photography course you are expected to print only enlargements for the Mid-term and Final Portfolio. Students will also be expected to buy the materials required in order to put together the final portfolio.
An overall estimated cost for the entire semester (including all materials and lab costs) is 60 Euros.
Please note that you will not be able to use all the photos you take. As the semester proceeds, you will have to select your best shots. Keep in mind that the images you photograph are going to be used as a sketchbook for your visual education.

Students must be equipped with:
− SLR Reflex Digital camera with ‘Manual’ function and with at least one lens (manual of instructions for camera, if possible). The amount of Megapixels is not important.
− The cameras USB cable.
− A memory card (at least 2 G card is suggested).
− A card reader compatible with your camera.
− A battery charger and an extra battery for your camera.
− A laptop computer with Adobe Photoshop.
− An external hard disk or USB of good capacity (at least 2 G card is suggested).
− Matting cardboard for final portfolio (this would be announced).
Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

VARTS 282 – Beginning Oil Painting: Imagery of Florence Credits: 3

Instructor: Tiziano Lucchesi, M.F.A.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
This course is designed to introduce students to fundamental materials, techniques, and styles of oil painting. It is for both beginning art students and more advanced ones who are new to the technique of oil painting. The course will present and demonstrate the basic materials used in oil painting, along with fundamentals of drawing and color theory. Students will be introduced to the skills necessary to create painted images while being immersed in the world of the Florentine landscape, urban sights, and historical monuments.

• Projects: Students will be expected to work through a series of assignments (both in-class and homework) that will help them become familiar with the discipline of oil painting. Part of your work will be from life observation and part will be worked out with the support of images. In the latter case, it is very important that you rely on computers and digital cameras.
• Critiques: Critiques are meant to serve as an open forum for evaluation and discussion of your work. During informal critiques where we will address both the positive and negative aspects of your work. By giving students the chance to express their opinions in a spontaneous way, this can prove very useful and stimulating for you. Fellow students can offer precious feedback on your work.
• Slide Presentations/Site Visits: Slide presentations will address the connections between class concepts, your work, and different masters of oil painting techniques. Furthermore, visits to museums and galleries will enable students to view – first hand – the various styles of paintings.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.

 

VARTS 383 – The Art of Buon Fresco Credits: 3

Instructor: Tiziano Lucchesi, M.F.A.
Prerequisite: None
Credits: 3

Description
The studio where students have class is very similar to the original painting workshops that one could find in the narrow streets of Renaissance Florence. As such, it offers an inspiring setting. The fresco walls are prepared with a bare, rough layer allowing students the possibility to work directly in an authentic environment. During the first month of the semester, students will be able to see and study the main ancient techniques of fresco wall painting, from prehistoric times to the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, paying attention to Asiatic and Mesoamerican methods too. Students will also familiarize themselves with the famous art handbooks passed down to us by ancient masters (such as Pliny, Vitruvius, Cennino Cennini, and Vasari).
The study of the various steps in the process includes making the mortar, the preparatory drawings and life-size cartoons, the subdivision into “days’ work”, and the various pictorial phases of this technique. After the first tries, more complex projects (that students can take home with them) will be gradually added. During the last 2-3 weeks of the semester, when students have mastered the technique, we will concentrate on a large fresco that will be carried out by the whole group, as in a real fifteenth-century “bottega fiorentina” (“Florentine workshop”). The theme of this fresco will be realistic; once the setting and the theme are decided upon, students will design the characters themselves. Next will come the life-size drawings and the cutting out of the “cartoons”, followed by preparation of the mortar and all the materials. This one, each student will paint his/her character in the portion set up for the “day” (giornata). By completing the fresco, students will participate in the creation of a large original mural in authentic fifteenth-century fresco technique. They can also make a thorough digital documentation of their work.
Class will meet for six hours per week in the studio.

− Projects: Students will be expected to work through a series of assignments that will help them become familiar with the techniques being studied.
− Critiques: Critiques are intended to serve as an open forum for evaluation and discussion of student work.
− Slide Presentations/Site Visits: Slide presentations will address the connections between class concepts, your work, and art history. Visits to museums and galleries will enable students to view the work of the Italian masters.
− Readings: Students will be given handouts to help them learn fresco techniques.

Textbooks
During orientation at the Institute, students will receive a list of textbooks and/or course readers they are required to purchase. Students should not purchase any texts before orientation.

Course descriptions may be subject to occasional minor modifications at the discretion of the instructor.