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Unit information: Institutions and Anti-Institutions in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s in 2020/21

Unit name Institutions and Anti-Institutions in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s
Unit code ITAL30050
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. John Foot
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Italian
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This course looks at the history of Italian institutions in the post-war period, and at the struggle to reform and abolish those institutions that developed in the 1960s and 1970s. The course will examine four kinds of institution (the asylum, the family, the school/university, the prison) and then try and understand why they became discredited in the eyes of many by the end of the 1960s, and how reform and more radical activists tried to change them, or get rid of them altogether. The course will cover theoretical material but will also use historical and sociological studies, film, photography, art and fiction.

Aims: • to introduce students to the study of the 1960s and 1970s in Italy through the examination of key institutions and the struggles to reform those institutions • To familiarise students with debates in the fields of memory and history, with particular reference to the 1960s and 1970s. • To develop further skills of textual analysis, historical interpretation, and independent research, building on the skills acquired in units at level I. • To equip students with the skills to undertake postgraduate study in a relevant field. • To familiarise students with the workings of a series of key institutions in Italy in historical contexts.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

1. demonstrate an understanding of specific institutions in Italy in the period and the history of movements that attempted to reform or abolish those institutions;

2. evaluate written, filmic, and photographic texts within context;

3. select and synthesise relevant critical material for the analysis of these texts;

4. formulate sophisticated written arguments in response to critical questions.

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

1 x 1,500 essay (30%) testing ILOs 2 and 4.

1 x 3,500 essay (70%) testing ILOs 1-4

Reading and References

Franco Basaglia ed., L’istituzione negata, Einaudi, 1968, Baldini & Castoldi, 1998. Don Milani, Lettera a una professoressa, 1967. Luisa Passerini, Autoritratto di Gruppo, 2008. M. Flores and A. De Bernardi, Il sessantotto, Il Mulino, 2003. David Cooper, The Death of the Family, Penguin, 1974. Eleanor Chiari, Undoing Time: the Cultural Memory of an Italian Prison, Peter Lang, 2012.