About the Program

In addition to core courses in the language, students choose from a wide selection of offerings in Art History, Africana Studies, Classics, History, Government, and Music. Learning Italian is key to research in the fields of medicine, art history, literature, and archaeology. More than a dozen of Italy’s most prestigious and academically rigorous universities offer English-language MD/MBBS programs where students prepare for residency, research, and clinical practice at an economical cost. Italy has the eighth largest economy in the world and is part of the G7 leading industrialized countries whose employers seek people who speak both Italian and English.

A Sampling of Courses


Introduction to Italian Literature and Culture

An introductory survey course that offers students continued development of Italian grammar and conversation through literature, film and other cultural products such as music, visual arts and print media. Emphasis on oral and written work. Taught in Italian.

Explore these select courses:

Introduction in speaking, writing, reading and listening comprehension. Highly interactive with a strong emphasis on obtaining both communicative and cultural competency in Italian. Classes supplemented by online vocabulary-building and grammar practice sessions and Language Center projects and activities. For students with no prior experience in Italian. Those with previous experience with the language will take a placement test in order to be placed at the appropriate level of Italian. This course is only offered in the Fall.

Strengthening of grammar, syntax and conversation skills through interactive communicative activities. Incorporates films, readings and current events to reinforce cultural competency as well as conversation skills. This course is only offered in the Fall.

Focus is on expanding vocabulary and strengthening verbal proficiency and writing skills through increased exposure to literary and cultural readings. This course is only offered in the Spring.

This course explores the nature of silence in literature and music as a way to understand how sound, or lack thereof, came to shape modern Europe. We will discuss the history of silence as a philosophical concept, as a response to crisis, alienation and negation, gendered muteness, as well as the aesthetics of dissonance. Literary and musical selections include Boethius, Dante, Petrarch, Gaspara Stampa, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Robert Musil, Arnold Schoenberg, Theodor Adorno, Eugenio Montale, Anna Banti, Alda Merini,  Luigi Nono, Ingeborg Bachmann, George Steiner. Taught in English. 

"Amor condusse noi ad una morte" (“Love led us to one death”). As Dante portrayed in the Inferno, the experience love is inseparable from death. Our journey begins with Dante’s memory of Beatrice retold and reimagined in The New Life—a work inspired as much by love as by death. When Dante reunites with Beatrice in The Divine Comedy, his understanding of love also evolved. How did this shift prompt him to twist the stories of great lovers as a near-death encounter? We will explore an array of literary variations on the theme of love and death from the Middle Ages to the contemporary world. In addition to investigating the rich literary tradition, we will also turn to works in music and the visual arts. 

Meet Our Faculty

Serena Bassi

Visiting Assistant Professor of Italian


20th and 21st Century Italian literature; queer studies; gender and sexuality in modern Italy; cultural studies and Italian cultural history; Italian critical theory and Italian thought; translation studies and translation history

Cecily Cai

Assistant Professor of Italian Studies


19th- and 20th-century German and Italian literature, literature and music, literary criticism, literary translation

Mackenzie Cooley

Assistant Professor of History


history of science; early modern world; Colonial Latin America; environmental history; intellectual history; digital humanities; history of gender and sexuality; animal studies; genetics and history

Anne Feltovich

Chair and Associate Professor of Classics


Greek and Roman comedy; Greek and Roman gender and sexuality; Greek archaeology

Heather Merrill

Professor of Africana Studies


critical human geography; race, place, and belonging in Italy, Black Europe, and the U.S.; gender and intersectionality; African Diasporic politics and identity in Italy; Blackness and anti-blackness

Explore Hamilton Stories

Cecily Cai, Italian studies

Meet the New Faculty: Cecily Cai, Italian Studies

Cecily Cai joined the faculty in August as a tenure-track assistant professor of Italian studies. See why she chose teaching and why Hamilton.

Glori Difo '20

Study in Perugia Leads to Difo’s Geosciences Senior Project

Having spent a semester studying in Perugia, Italy, Gloribel “Glori” Difo ’20 became so captivated with the city that she decided to take what she saw and learned to create an interdisciplinary senior project: A Walking Tour of Perugia, Italy: Exploring the Building Stones Used in the City’s Construction.

Jacob Colangelo '20

Art History, In Person

Drawn in by the open curriculum, Jacob Colangelo ’20 enrolled at Hamilton and then happily followed his parents’ advice, which was to discover new interests.


Department Name

Italian Studies Department

Office Location
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323

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