ITL 411 - SILLABO 2010

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On this page you find the syllabus used during the Spring semester of 2010. Read it carefully enough. Ask as many questions as necessary to clarify any obscure passage.

Course description

What's it all about, in simple terms

An examination of the Italian language in the context of contemporary Italy, with an eye to the effects of globalization and localism on society and culture. The course is designed to develop fluency and accuracy in the use of the spoken and written language through intensive practice, class discussions, and the use of different media. Class readings, conversations and assignments focus on today's multifaceted Italy, steering clear of stereotyped images and misconceptions.

Course prerequisites

Practically a legal disclaimer

Prerequisite: completion of ITL 311 and ITL 312.

Contact information

You know where to find us

Instructor: Dr. Andrea Fedi.
Office hours (rm. 1148 or rm. 1055, Humanities building): Mondays and Wednesdays 5:15-6:30, Fridays 2:15-3:30, and by appointment.
Telephone: (631) 632-7449 [there is no voice-mail: to leave an urgent message, you can call Mary Wilmarth, the secretary of the Department of European Languages, at (631) 632-7442].


Additional readings posted online

Students must purchase the following text: Andrea Fedi and Paolo Fasoli. Mercurio: An Intermediate to Advanced Reader in Italian Language and Culture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.

The textbook is available at the University bookstore or online (for example, here it is on Amazon). If you don't have the textbook yet, you can download or read online the first Chapter, "Biciclette", with the original pagination and graphics, minus the footnotes (size of this Acrobat PDF file: 26.5 MB).

Other readings (from newspapers, magazines, recent literature, etc.) will be handed out in class or posted on the class website.

Grades and coursework

'Some' people go straight to this section

Grades are determined according to the following scale:

20% for class participation and attendance

10% for a journal (due Apr. 30)

50% for homework assignments

20% for the final exam (May 12, 2:30-4:30, HUM 3019).

The journal should focus on personal discoveries and learning moments that happened while you were practicing Italian outside the classroom. It should include 30-40 entries, of a length of 50-100 words. Each entry should include a line specifying the context of your learning experience (the title of a video or movie, the URL of an Italian Web site, the title of an article, of a short story or book), followed by a description of specific passages found in those readings which provoked a reaction in you. The primary focus of this activity should be the material assigned during the semester. However, you can also include entries referring to sources that were not assigned in class.

In-class activities and homework are based on clusters of readings and/or other material (TV programs, scenes from Italian movies, comics, songs, etc.), illustrating different aspects of contemporary Italy, with special attention to the terminology currently used, the style, jargon, new metaphors etc.

Written assignments must be brought to class. They must be typed, and the header of each page should include the name of the student and the date on which the assignment or its revision were completed (not the deadline, or the date when the first draft was submitted). The first page should always start with the activity number, the number of points associated with it, and an appropriate title. When formatting your files, please adhere to the following: margins, 1 inch on each side; font, Arial 12 pts.; line spacing, double-space. Each page must include only one assignment, and the pages must be single-sided, not stapled or bound, to facilitate scanning. The assignments will be returned with suggestions for correction and improvement. The final grade of each assignment, after all revisions have been made and multiple drafts have been submitted (whenever necessary), will be used to calculate the final grade for homework.

The final exam consists of 2-3 creative exercises based on the readings introduced in class or assigned during the semester. They may include summaries of excerpts, questions, short compositions, or the transformation of a text from one format/genre to another (from interview to editorial, from Internet posting to article etc.). Click on the following link to see a sample of exercises for the final exam.

The following table shows the numeric equivalents of the letter grades used in this class:

letter gradenumeric range

Participation and attendance

'Yeah, sure...'

Attendance is essential. Since new material is introduced with each lecture, missing even a few classes may have a serious effect on your grades. Attendance will be monitored circulating an attendance sheet during each class.

Participation is assessed on the basis of all interactive activities organized in class. If you miss a class, it is recommended that you visit the instructor during office hours to replace your class participation with a one-to-one conversation. The suggested format is the following: personal/subjective reaction to a topic or reading.

Classroom Policy

Turn your cellphone off!

Students are expected to

- arrive for class on time and leave the classroom only at the end of class;
- engage in class discussions and activities when appropriate;
- exhibit classroom behavior that is not disruptive of the learning environment;
- secure and turn off cellphones and all other electronic communications and entertainment devices during class time unless otherwise directed by the course instructor.

Academic integrity

'But I've always done that!'

Stony Brook University expects students to maintain standards of personal integrity that are in harmony with the educational goals of the institution; to observe national, state, and local laws and University regulations; and to respect the rights, privileges, and property of other people. Faculty are required to report to the Office of Judicial Affairs any disruptive behavior that interrupts their ability to teach, compromises the safety of the learning environment, and/or inhibits students' ability to learn. Each student must pursue his or her academic goals honestly and be personally accountable for all submitted work. Representing another person's work as your own is always wrong. Any suspected instance of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Academic Judiciary. For more comprehensive information on academic integrity, including categories of academic dishonesty, please refer to the academic judiciary website, at

Disability Policy

Talk to the instructor, whenever necessary

If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact your course work, please contact Disability Support Services (631) 632-6748 or go to They will determine with you what accommodations are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation is confidential. Students who require assistance during emergency evacuation are encouraged to discuss their needs with their professors and Disability Support Services. For procedures and information go to the following web site:

Last updated on 04/09/10. Fedi © 2010

This site is owned and managed by Dr. Andrea Fedi, Department of European Languages, State University of New York at Stony Brook.