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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages and Cultures - Italian

Undergraduate Course: Performing Europa in Modern and Contemporary Italy (ELCI10033)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis option course aims to engage Honours students in Italian with modern and contemporary interpretations of the myth of Europa. According to the myth, Europa was the name of a Phoenician princess of mixed Asian and African lineage who was seduced by the Greek god Zeus, in disguise as a white bull, and abducted to the island of Crete, where she 'originated' the first civilisation of Europe. Classical commentators highlighted that this myth elaborates on a history of migration and forced marriages across the Mediterranean Sea, as the bull into which the god transforms himself is a clear metaphor for a ship. The historical allegory of the mixed origins of the European civilisation was constructed with common narratives of erotic seduction as cultural and political conquest, which have strong implications in terms of the representation of gender (the male god) and ethnicity (the white bull). The myth will be studied and put under critical scrutiny through modern and contemporary sources, with a particular attention to operatic adaptations.
Course description Students will explore a selection of Italian sources on the myth of Europa from early-modern to contemporary literature, with a particular focus on operatic adaptations. The myth of Europa was present at the very beginnings of opera, in late Renaissance Italy, and the operatic adaptations will be particularly instrumental to unlocking the potential for critical and creative interpretations of this highly influential myth of origins. One of the main objectives of the course is to develop a critical understanding of the myth's dominant narratives of migration, gender, and ethnicity by contrasting them with the idea of the 'original' in translation and performance, challenging in particular the conventional associations of narrative voices and performative roles. The study of the myth of Europa throughout different times and cultures, languages, genres, and media enhances the learning experience by contributing to a wider sense of belonging and becoming in the construction of European identities.

The course is taught in 2-hour seminars over 10 weeks. Each week students will give brief individual presentations on primary sources that will be discussed in class and analysed more in depth in their essays. Presentations will receive formative feedback and will be marked as part of the coursework. Students are also encouraged to form autonomous learning groups outside classes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge and a critical understanding of the primary literature related to this course.
  2. Apply analytical skills to course materials and use research skills associated with the discipline.
  3. Engage with the primary literature and support arguments with critical close reading.
  4. Present and convey specialised information on topics related to this course.
  5. Exercise autonomy in research-related activities and initiative in working with others.
Reading List
Primary literature (selections):

G. Boccaccio, De mulieribus claris (1361/62), trans. V. Brown (2001).
G. Bonsignori, Ovidio Methamorphoseos vulgare (1497).
M. Bontempelli, Viaggio d'Europa (1941), libretto by P. Masino (1955).
R. Calasso, Le nozze di Cadmo e Armonia (1988).
L. Cereta, Solitaria Europa (1487/88), trans D. Robin (1997).
G. Chiabrera, Il ratto d'Europa (1608).
E.S. Piccolomini, De Europa (1458), trans. R. Brown.
G.B. Marino, Europa (1607).
G. Mazzini, D'una letteratura europea (1829).
P. Metastasio, Il ratto d'Europa (1717).
Mosco, Europa (II BCE), trans. G. Leopardi (1815).
A. Poliziano, Stanze per la Giostra (1475-78).
S. Rendine, La Bell'Europa (1989), libretto by D. Villatico et al.
A. Salieri, Europa riconosciuta (1778), libretto by M. Verazi.
A. Tazio, Leucippe and Cleitophon (II CE), trans. T. Whitmarsh (2001).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will develop graduate skills in all four clusters of ability: a) research and inquiry; b) personal and intellectual autonomy; c) communication d) personal effectiveness. In particular students will:

A) be able to exercise critical judgement in creating new understanding; be ready to ask key questions; be able to critically assess existing understanding and the limitations of their own knowledge and recognise the need to regularly challenge all knowledge; search for, evaluate and use information to develop their knowledge and understanding; recognise the importance of reflecting on their learning experiences and be aware of their own learning style;

B) be open to new ideas, methods and ways of thinking; be creative and imaginative thinkers; be independent learners; be able to make decisions; be intellectually curious;

C) make effective use of oral and written means to critique, negotiate, create and communicate understanding; seek and value open feedback to inform genuine self-awareness;

D) have the confidence to make decisions based on their understandings and their personal and intellectual autonomy; be able to work effectively with others.
Course organiserDr Davide Messina
Course secretaryMiss Fiona Jack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3635
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