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Unit information: Sport, Culture and History in Twentieth Century Italy in 2015/16

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Unit name Sport, Culture and History in Twentieth Century Italy
Unit code ITAL20031
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
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

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will examine the importance of sport historically, culturally and geographically in Twentieth century Italy. It will also provide an introduction to theoretical and methodological ways of seeing sport.

The unit will then look at specific sports with a concentration on Football, Cycling but also at Motor Sport and Rugby and through the case studies of the Giro d’Italia, the National football championships and the role of sporting stadia. Sport will be looked at as a form of national and local identity, and through its links to politics, geography, culture, fandom, literature and cinema.

Aims: • to introduce students to the study of sport in Italy in terms of history and memory • to place sport in its historical, sociological and anthropological contexts.

• To engage with critical literature concerning the study of sport and Italian national identity • To develop broader skills of cultural inquiry and criticism, building on those acquired in Year 1

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will:

1. be able to demonstrate a detailed knowledge of specific historical events studied, and the relationship between these events and particular sports; 2. be able to demonstrate a good understanding of the relationship between sport and formations of Italian national and local identity; 3. be able to understand the ways in which sport was narrated, reported and transformed into fiction and narrative 4. be able to demonstrate a good knowledge of the theoretical debates over sport as a discipline; 5. be able to evaluate and analyse relevant material from a significant body of primary and secondary source materials, in English and Italian, at a high level; 6. be able to respond to questions or problems by presenting their independent judgements in an appropriate style and at an high level of complexity; 7. develop good presentation skills, working in groups

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught in a combination of tutor- and student-led teaching, predominantly in seminar format but with a small number of introductory lectures.

Assessment Information

One short essay or commentary of 1500 words (25%) plus one essay of 2500 words (75%). One unassessed group presentation of 15 minutes. The short essay or commentary is normally an analysis of a specific primary text, and allows students to demonstrate their ability to analyse primary texts and relate their analysis to broader theoretical questions underpinning the unit, testing ILOS1-5.. The longer essay will require the students to place particular sports and sporting events in historical context, to demonstrate ability to relate these events to debates over national identity in Italy, and to draw appropriately on secondary literature to formulate their arguments effectively, testing ILOS 1-7. The unassessed presentation will allow them to develop skills of working collaboratively and presentation in front of the group, testing ILOs 1, 5 and 7.

Reading and References

Gianni Brera, Coppi e il Diavolo, Baldini & Castoldi, 1981. Dino Buzzati, The Giro d’Italia. Coppi versus Bartali at the 1949 Tour of Italy, Velopress, Boulder, 1999. John Foot, Calcio. A History of Italian Football, Harper, London, 2007. John Foot, Pedalare, Pedalare. A History of Italian Cycling, Bloomsbury, London, 2011. Simon Martin, SportItalia. The Italian Love Affair with Sport, IB Tauris, London, 2011. David Goldblatt, The Ball is Round. A Global History of Football, Penguin, London, 2007.