Women, Wheat, and Weather? Lessons from Italy and the Global South for the 21st Century (COMPLIT 288, FRENCH 188, FRENCH 288, ITALIAN 188, ITALIAN 288)
The Global South - a symbolic Mediterranean stretching from the Caribbean to India - lures the civilized man with the promise of excellent weather, voluptuous women, and good food. Already in antiquity, Sicily, the southernmost province of what is today modern Italy, was known as "the granary of Rome," supplying the Empire with wheat. Still today, the South is associated with vacation, underdevelopment, superstition, the mafia, la dolce vita: "The South is the problem; the North the solution," Boaventura de Sousa Santos succinctly puts it. In this course, we will move beyond the three W's by focusing on Italy from the point of view of "Southern Thought" ("pensiero meridiano"). We will read 20th/21st-century literary, philosophical, anthropological, and sociological texts from the Global South (Franco Cassano, Roberto M. Dainotto, Salman Rushdie, Gayatri Spivak, de Sousa Santos, Frantz Fanon, Homi Bhabha, Achille Mbembe, Carla Lonzi) to discuss such relevant topics as community and belonging (Elena Ferrante), technology and globalization (Luigi Pirandello; Fernando Pessoa), virus and contagion (Albert Camus), as well as race and gender (Igiaba Scego) from a Southern critical perspective. What counterhegemonic, non-binary, and renewable alternatives do the south of Italy and the Global South in general offer to understand these issues, and to the Western and Northern European emphasis on reason (the Cartesian "cogito"), individualism, and objectivity? We will have guest speakers from the Council of the EU and USAID specialized in international development, as well as conversations with authors. Taught in English.