LS 819: Italy in the Ancient and Modern Imagination

Summer 2016  |  May 9 to May 30  |  Dr. Sasha Colby
A Simon Fraser University/GLS Travel-Study course

The working itinerary has us staying for the first two weeks in Bologna, a lively university city with tremendous intellectual history, wonderful food, and a relatively un-touristy environment for learning about Italy and the Emilia - Romagna region. Bologna, in addition to being considered the most desirable place to live in Italy by Italians, is also well connected to other major cities by rail, and the first weekend we will stay in Venice and the second week overnight in Tuscany. We will also visit Florence, which is 35 minutes away by train. At the end of week 2, we will move to Rome, staying in centrally located apartments in the Campo dei Fiori and Trastevere areas.

Throughout the course, our emphasis will at once be on the ancient, Renaissance, and Baroque as well as the idea of Italy as it appears in the modern imaginary of artists (at the Guggenheim museum in Venice, for example) and writers including Hawthorne, Mann, James, Pater, Ruskin, Marinetti, H.D., and Pound. We will also consider more contemporary and popular imaginings such as Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun and Bill Buford's Heat which concentrate the modern and consistently recurring theme of Italy as the locus of something lost to be reclaimed. Finally, we will leverage our proximity to the university in Bologna by studying the works of past faculty there, including Dante, Copernicus, Umberto Eco, and Pasolini.

In addition to art and literature, the course will also have a creative writing component, and on return to Canada students will submit either an academic paper or a creative project with substantial statement of intent. Consistently, our focus will be on the interplay between old and new, in the literature, art, food, and culture of the places we visit.

The tentative cost for travel-study for enrolled participants is approximately $2,950 CDN (subject to variations in the Euro and the number of participants) for a private room in a shared apartment, slightly lower if you are willing to share a room in Rome and/or Bologna and higher if you would prefer a private apartment. This includes apartment accommodation in Bologna and Rome, shared hotel in Venice (2 nights) and Tuscany (1 night), some group meals, a variety of guest speakers, 2 hours of Italian conversation class, two cooking classes with wine in Bologna, a wine tasting in Rome, and two historical walking tours. Airfare, mandatory travel insurance, inter-city train travel, and the cost of the 3-credit GLS course taught by Sasha Colby are not included in this estimate.

If you are a current student or a member of the alumni interested in the travel course, please contact our program director Dr. Sasha Colby at your earliest convenience. In the ever present disclaimer, this itinerary is subject to the approval of the university and students must be in good academic standing to enrol.