GBL 258/ENG 255 Italy: Myths, Mafia and Migration 4 S.H.
This is a course about transformation as reflected through the lens of the literature of Southern Italy. We will engage in close readings of poetry and fiction in translation and see how literature and language are a means for exploring cultural difference. As a result of our study and exploration together in Southern Italy, you will develop a deeper understanding of the values that underlie Italian culture and may be transformed as well.
In the pre-departure course you will become familiar with a selection of myths from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, one of the most enduring and beguiling poems ever written. The stories that Ovid adapted from Greek mythology explore human desire and weakness. In them people transform into other life forms, reflecting and rejecting the values of Ovid’s times. Some scholars have noted that no other text has had a greater influence on the literature and art of Western civilization than the Metamorphoses. During our time abroad we will see many remains of the Roman Augustan age when Ovid wrote the Metamorphoses; further, we will see how the myths in his poem have been brought to life in sculptures, frescos, and paintings throughout Southern Italy.
After the pre-departure course, our readings will shift to contemporary literature. Before landing in Sicily, you will become familiar with Inspector Montalbano, the protagonist of the highly popular and respected Montalbano mystery series. The author, Camilleri, will give us a footing in Sicilian culture, with a focus on the Mafia. With Camilleri’s story as our backdrop, we will get acquainted with the Mafia’s influence in Sicily. The next major reading, God’s Mountain, takes us to post-World War II Naples, where you will learn of a boy’s struggle with loss and dialect as he transitions into manhood. Our final major text, Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio, takes place in Rome. It sheds light on contemporary Italy’s transformation with the advent of peoples migrating from countries to its south and east.
Counts toward Expression (lit) or ENG elective and satisfies one unit of experiential learning toward fulfillment of the Experiential Learning Requirement.
- Grades count toward an Elon GPA.
- Study abroad courses may not be taken on an audit or pass/fail basis.
Prerequisite Preparatory Seminar: GBL 158
This Winter Term course has a required one semester-hour fall prerequisite preparatory seminar course associated with it. Students accepted into the Winter Term course will be automatically registered for the associated fall course. There is no additional cost for the prerequisite preparatory seminar course for students who are registered full-time even if the one credit creates an overload for a student's registration.
It is Elon University policy that students who are registered part-time for the fall semester will be charged the additional one credit hour of tuition for the fall prerequisite preparatory seminar course. Students will also be charged four credit hours of tuition for Winter Term in addition to the program fees. If students contact the Bursar's office to verify that they will be enrolled full-time in the spring semester, the four hours of Winter Term tuition will not be collected.
There will also be a required meeting about the course in May.
Spring Meeting Information
The Spring meeting will meet on Friday, May 3, 2019 from 3:00-4:30 in Carlton 221.
Fall Course Meeting Information
The fall pre-departure course will meet on Wednesdays from 5:30-07:10 p.m., location TBD.
Activity Level: Challenging
Activity levels are rated to fit into one of four categories: easy going, moderate, challenging and demanding. This program is rated as challenging, which means walking is the best way to get to know a new place. Be prepared for a good physical challenge and to spend the entire day on the move, whether it’s public transit, city streets or village cobblestones. At the end of the day, you will likely feel like you’ve had a real workout.
Students are required to take the fall pre-departure course associated with this Winter Term course. All students will automatically be registered for the pre-departure course but must register themselves for the Winter Term course during registration for Winter Term.
To cancel your participation in a program, complete the Winter Term Withdrawal questionnaire in your application.
The tentative dates for the program are January 2-21, 2020.
While official flight itineraries are typically distributed in early September, the tentative group departure/return point is TBD.
Note: This information is subject to change based on airline changes and cancellations.
This course tentatively plans to visit the following cities: Rome, Naples, and Cities in Sicily. Students will visit and explore the following locations:
- Monument to Giovanni Falcone Students will have read about this famous prosecutor who took on the mob and helped change the course of organized crime in Italy.
- Palazzo Dei Normmali This is the seat of the Norman kings where students will learn that not only the Greeks, but also the Normans migrated to Sicily.
- Cappelli Palatina At this royal chapel of the Norman Kings students can experience the architectural intersection or Muslim and Christian cultures in Sicily.
- Galleria Regionale Della Sicilia This art gallery contains the largest collection of artwork by Sicilians. Here students can begin to develop an appreciation for what makes Sicilian culture distinct as well as how it is similar to and different from the culture of Italy’s mainland.
- Stop at Valle dei Templi on route to Agrigento. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this is arguably the largest archaeological site in the world containing some of the best preserved Grecian art and architecture. Students will walk through the temples honoring the gods and goddesses, some of whom appear in the Metamorphoses.
- Duomo di Siracusa Visiting this church will reveal to students how the culture of Sicily is grounded in Greek ideology which transformed overtime into Christianity ideology. The original structure was built for the goddess Athena and was later incorporated into a Christian church dedicated to the nativity of Mary.
- Archeologico della Neapolis Further developing students’ understanding of the influence of Greek culture on Southern Italy, students will visit this archeological site which contains a beautiful Greek amphitheater as well as an Roman amphitheater built during the time of Augustus when Ovid wrote the Metamorphoses.
- The Fountain of Arethusa embodies a myth students will have read in the Metamorphoses as does the Diana Fountain located in Piazza Archimede that they will also visit.
- Museo Archeologico Regionale Paolo Orsi One of the premier archeological museums of Europe revealing what life was like in Greek and Roman times.
- Paestum - Vallo di Diano e Alburni This park contains ruins from two major cities from classical times, Paestum and Velia. Students will see the remnants of Greek colonizers and the remnants of the indigenous Etruscan and Lucanian peoples, the two major cultures founding Italy.
- Stop at Ravello, Positano, or Amalfi for lunch on route to Sorrento. Any one of these cities will showcase the arts of southern Italy, particularly ceramics, helping students understand the pride of regional crafts, a theme in their text, God’s Mountain.
- Interview students learning English University of Sorrento, if not at Naples with connection of Mena Marino
- Capri – Gardens of Augustus Students will visit where Emperor Augustus resided and encounter how remarkably regional Italy’s cuisine and crafts can be. This island was particularly influenced by the abundance of lemons grown in the region.
- Stop at Pompeii or Herculaneum on route to Rome. Students will walk the streets of a city frozen in time just following when Ovid wrote the Metamorphoses. They will learn what life was like in the Augustan Age and see the myths of the Metamorphoses embodied in frescos.
- City Tour Napoli including God’s Mountain Students will visit the neighborhood which is the setting for the second major text.
- Archeological Museum of Naples This museum houses one of the most outstanding collections of Greek and Roman antiquities, many of which will prepare students for their visit to Pompeii.
- Interviews at Orientale di Napoli
- Piazza Vittorio Students will visit the setting of their final major text, Clash of Cultures Over an Elevator in the Piazza Vittorio.
- Galleria Borghese Students will view Bernini’s statues that embody myths of the Metamorphoses, such as Pluto & Persephone and Apollo & Daphne.
- Pantheon Students will experience a temple to the gods originally commissioned in the reign of Augustus, when Ovid lived.
- Colosseum, Roman Forum Students will experience the influence of Greek culture on the Roman Empire and put in context the times surrounding Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
- St. Peter’s Basilica Students can consider the connection of the Catholic saints to the gods and goddess of the Metamorphoses, reflecting on the ways they do, and do not, fulfill some of the same functions.
- Vatican Museums Students will view many images of Roman mythology spoken about in the Metamorphoses, such as statues of Apollo, Cupid, and Hercules.
Note: Itinerary is subject to change due to availability of local facilities and scheduling issues.
Students will be housed in shared hotel accommodations.
Costs for global study vary program to program and are in addition to the tuition for Winter Term (included in fall semester tuition/bill).
Basic cost information is available on the Cost and Credit Chart.
Detailed cost information is available on the budget sheet.
Students seeking need-based financial support are encouraged to apply for the GEC Access Scholarship.
For additional information on scholarships or other funding for global engagement, see the Financial Planning for Global Study page or the financial planning section of our FAQs.
If you qualify for a travel grant through any of the fellows or scholars programs, see the appropriate program director for more information on how to apply the grant to your program.
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