Skip to main content

Unit information: Modern Italy in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Modern Italy
Unit code ITAL10033
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. John Foot
Open unit status Not open

Must have Italian language competence



School/department Department of Italian
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit is designed to provide an introduction to the politics, culture and society of Italy from World War I to the present day. The unit works chronologically and is based around certain key texts which will be studied in detail in the seminars which accompany the lectures. The lectures will provide a broad historical, cultural and social introduction to each period. Students will be expected to engage with the history of Italy and with the use of a series of different kinds of text – film (documentary and fiction), novels, memoir, theatre, and journalism.

Intended learning outcomes

Students will:

  1. Be able to demonstrate a detailed knowledge of specific historical events studied and their relation to concepts of Italian national identity;
  2. Be able to demonstrate a good knowledge of the theoretical debates over Italian unification, fascism, and liberalism;
  3. Be able to evaluate and analyse relevant material from a significant body of primary and secondary source materials and relate it to historical context;
  4. Be able to responded to questions or problems by presenting their independent judgements in conjunction with appropriate use of secondary literature.
  5. Have developed substantial essay writing skills.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous sessions and asynchronous activities, including seminars, lectures, and collaborative as well as self-directed learning opportunities supported by tutor consultation

Assessment Details

2 x online tests (10% each), ILO 1

1 x 1000-word commentary (30%), ILO 3

1 x 2000-word commentary (50%), ILOs 1-5

Reading and References

Paul Ginsborg, A History of Contemporary Italy 1943-1988, Penguin, London, 1990.

Paul Ginsborg, Italy and its Discontents: 1980-2001, Penguin, London, 2001.

Christopher Duggan, A Concise History of Italy, CUP, Cambridge, 2014

John Foot, Modern Italy, Palgrave, London, 2014

Mary Wood, Italian Cinema, Bloomsbury, London, 2005.

Italian Cultural Studies: An Introduction, ed. David Forgacs and Robert Lumley, OUP, Oxford, 1996.