WHY DANTE AND WHY ITALY?
Dante Alighieri is one of the most important and renowned authors of the Western world. His cultural influence transcends countries and media to permeate the work of countless artists and intellectuals throughout the centuries.
“The World of Dante” (TX 200, 1 credit) is a journey back in time to explore the political, historical and cultural world where Dante lived and which influenced his masterpiece. After reading and analyzing his Comedy during the semester, students explore several sites in central Italy that are pertinent to Dante’s work. Students start their journey in Florence, Dante’s birthplace, where they gain understanding of the political turmoil that affected the city during his life. Students then follow Dante’s steps to Pisa and Siena. He often traveled to these Tuscan towns as “Secretary of State” for the city of Florence, and several pivotal historical figures in the Comedy resided there. This journey back to the 14th century provides students with the tools to understand the intricate political relationships between the three city-states and create connections with international relations today.
Students next explore the Marches region. It is the birthplace of one of the most important dynasties of the 14th–15th centuries, the Malatestas, whose early vicissitudes are intertwined with Dante’s life. Finally students will dwell on the meaning of exile, as they follow Dante’s steps as an expatriate to Ravenna.
Through lectures, museum visits, and guided tours, students will expand the ideas developed in classroom discussions, consolidate their understanding, and elaborate connections with modern topics.
Barbara Garbin is a teaching professor of Italian in the World Languages and Literatures Department. Born in Italy, she studied at the University Ca’ Foscari in Venice. She earned a Ph.D. in Italian literature at Yale University, with a dissertation on fantastic literature in Fascist Italy. She has published on Italian women writers and cinematic representation of Italian cities, and she is now working on two research projects: the Italian influences in Robert Penn Warren’s early work, and the contribution of the city of Venice to the Italian fashion industry.
Garbin teaches Italian language courses with special attention to innovative pedagogies, blended learning and flipped classroom pedagogy. In her literature courses, she aims to incorporate new interactive and out-of-classroom activities to enhance students’ appreciation of Italian literary masterpieces.
Enrollment in the accompanying on-campus course “Dante’s Divine Comedy” (WLL 273 in English, 3 credits).
The anticipated fee for the travel seminar is $3,900 (this includes airfare from the New York City area to Florence and back from Ancona to New York City, ground transportation for program excursions, on-site accommodations (generally double occupancy), two meals per day, international medical insurance, entrance and performance fees, local guides, cultural excursions, Skidmore faculty on site, and the support of Skidmore’s OCSE. The fee does not include transportation to and from the New York City area, passport and visa costs, or personal expenses. Financial aid is available for eligible students.
For a tentative itinerary and more information, check out the program brochure!