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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 public universities offer English-language MD/MBBS programs where students are prepared for residency, research, and clinical practice at an economical cost. Italy also 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.

In addition to the mandatory core courses in the language, students may choose from a wide selection of offerings in other departments such as Art History, Africana Studies, Classics, History, Government, and Music.

I have grown to appreciate Italian as a language, as a culture, and as a rich literary tradition to a degree that I could not have predicted when I was first captivated by the incomprehensible sounds of Italian radio at age 15 in Rome. My experiences with Italian both at Hamilton and in my studies abroad have made me a more engaged global citizen, deepened my intellectual curiosity, and will continue to enrich my interactions with the world for the rest of my life. In the famous words of Dante, “Considerate la vostra semenza: fatti non foste a viver come bruti ma per seguir virtute e canoscenza” – Consider your origins: you were not made to live like brutes, but to seek out virtue and knowledge. Studying Italian has been an incredibly rewarding quest for knowledge.

Paula Weiman — Interdisciplinary Major in Classical to Contemporary Italian Studies

Contact Information


Italian Studies Department

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323

Meet Our Faculty

A Sampling of Courses

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First Term Italian 110F


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.

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La dolce vita? - Contemporary Italian Culture through Film 150F


This introductory course explores Italian socio-political issues in films by directors such as Garrone, Giordana, Ozpetek, Virzì, and Sorrentino. It focuses on: gender roles and stereotypes; ethnicity, immigration and diversity; media, politics and organized crime; and the on-going economic crisis and its particular effect on Italian youth. The objective of this course is to encourage students to think critically as they view films which will broaden their perspective on Italian culture and society and the challenges posed by the 21st century.

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Cosa nostra—Mafia myths and realities 155S


Examination of the evolution of the mafia from the brigand ‘gangs’ of the Unification period in Italy to the ‘Black Hand’ of the early 20th century in the United States, to the modern-day mobsters who have turned to human trafficking in migrant refugees. Exploration of the myths and stereotypes surrounding the portrayal of the mob by Hollywood vs. the reality of how the mafia actually operates at the highest levels of government. Particular attention will be paid to the Sicilian Mafia as well as the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta and the Neapolitan Camorra. No knowledge of Italian required.

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Italian Renaissance Civilization and Culture: From imitation to innovation 165F


Was it perhaps something in the water? How did Italy produce so much genius between 1300-1600? Economic stability, enlightened rulers, a burgeoning merchant class, and an insatiable thirst for knowledge spawned one of the most prolific periods of artistic, literary, and scientific progress known to history. From Dante to Da Vinci, Giotto to Galileo, Machiavelli to Michelangelo, and Savonarola to sprezzatura, we will study the men, the women, and the ideas that shaped Western civilization.

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Introduction to Italian Literature and Culture 200F


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.

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Sins and Sinners in Dante’s Inferno 233S


Why is it that Dante considers fraud to be the most serious type of sin, placing it in the lowest circles of the Inferno? Why are the sins of usury, sodomy and blasphemy linked in Dante’s hierarchy of Hell? This course will provide answers to these questions and an understanding of Dante’s world through a critical reading of the Inferno. Writing-intensive.

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