390S Italian / History / Jewish Studies / International Comparative Studies / Romance Studies



Jews in Italy are often referred to as “the most ancient minority,” because of their continuous presence in Italy, from pre-Christian times to today. This course examines the wealth of art, culture, and especially literature that they have produced and inspired. We will discuss a range of works, from antiquity to modern day Italy, to analyze Jewish Italy and its representations and historical contexts, focusing particularly on Rome, Venice, Turin, Trieste, and Ferrara. We will scrutinize representations of the ghetto, Jewish learning, antisemitism, family life, memory, and the Holocaust in figures such as William Shakespeare, Leon Modena, James Joyce, Italo Svevo, Umberto Saba, Natalia Ginzburg, Igiaba Scego, Primo Levi, and Alexander Stille, among others. In the last portion of the course, students will build on their readings to develop final projects that will determine in part our shared readings for class discussion.