2015-2016 Italian Courses

Intermediate Italian: Modern Prose


This course aims at improving and perfecting the students’ speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, as well as their knowledge of Italy’s contemporary culture and literature. In order to acquire the necessary knowledge of Italian grammar, idiomatic expressions, and vocabulary, students will be exposed to present-day Italy through the selection of modern Italian literature (e.g., short stories, poems, and passages from novels), as well as specific newspaper articles, music, and films in the original language. Some of the literary works will include selections from Alessandro Baricco, Gianni Rodari, Marcello D’Orta, Clara Sereni, Dino Buzzati, Stefano Benni, Antonio Tabucchi, Alberto Moravia, Achille Campanile, and Italo Calvino. In order to address the students’ writing skills, written compositions will also be required as an integral part of the course. The materials selected for the class, whether a literary text, song, or grammar exercise, will be accessible at all times to the students through MySLC. Research on the Web will be central to the course and will offer the basis for the weekly “Web piece,” a short paper on a particular topic. Individual conference topics might include the study of a particular author, literary text, film, or any other aspect of Italian society and culture that might be of interest to the student. Conversation classes will be held twice a week with the language assistants.

Beginning Italian


This course, for students with no previous knowledge of Italian, aims at giving the student a complete foundation in the Italian language with particular attention to the oral and written communication of everyday use and all aspects of Italian culture. The course will be conducted in Italian after the first month and will involve the study of all basic structures of the language—phonological, grammatical, and syntactical—with practice in conversation, reading, composition, and translation. In addition to the basic Italian grammar and an array of supplementary computer and Internet material, the course will also include texts from prose fiction, poetry, journalistic prose, songs, films, recipe books, and the language of publicity. Conference work is largely based on reading and writing, and the use of the language is encouraged through games and creative composition. The course also has a conversation component in regular workshops with the language assistants. Supplementary activities such as opera and relevant exhibits in New York City are made available, as possible. Credit for the course is contingent upon completing the full year, by the end of which students attain a basic competence in all aspects of the language.

Advanced Italian: "Read the Book! See the Movie!"


This course is intended for students with proficiency in Italian who want to study works of Italian literature in the original, as well as continue their work in the language. The course will study modern Italian novels and the films based on them. We will read the novels as linguistic, literary, and cultural texts and examine the films they inspired as both language and “translation.” The texts and films will be chosen to reflect a range of issues in modern Italian culture: regionalism, Sicily and the mafia, fascism and antifascism, politics and social history. Class work will be supplemented by a grammar review based on analisi logica, using Italian scholastic texts. Conference work may explore Italian literature or Italian film and may also focus on further perfecting language skills. There will be emphasis on writing Italian through the frequent submission of short papers, and weekly conferences with the language assistant will offer additional opportunities to speak Italian. Open to students with advanced proficiency in Italian.

Study Abroad in Italy

Map of ItalySLC sponsors two academic programs in Italy: Sarah Lawrence in Florence and Sarah Lawrence in Catania (Sicily). The Florence program is well suited to students at all levels of language proficiency who wish to spend a semester or an entire year immersed in the culture and history of this city. The Catania program provides a unique opportunity for students proficient in Italian to experience the culture of southern Italy firsthand during a semester of study in the spring. Learn more»