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LTT 150 Italian Journeys (3 credits)

Taught in English, this interdisciplinary First Year Seminar is designed for students who wish to gain knowledge of Italian culture and history as explored through the medium and metaphor of travel. We will investigate Italy’s dual role as the home of legendary travelers and the destination for tourists over the centuries. Through a variety of texts we will explore notions of travel in the lives and works of pilgrims, poets, explorers and artists. We will consider three historical periods: the age of discovery (ca. 1300-1600), the grand tour (ca. 1600-1800) and the age of mass tourism (ca. 1800- present). As we evaluate narratives and interpret the figure of the traveler, students will be encouraged to be “travelers” themselves. In particular, the seminar will be geared toward helping students become aware of issues of identity and power in the contact between cultures. Accordingly, the course pushes them to reflect critically on their own cultural assumptions, as well as those of others. Supplementary cultural experiences will include guest lectures and a trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.