Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)


Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Italian)


Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Grade A or above at A level in a foreign European language, or equivalent qualification.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce first-year students to a corpus of literature, film and other media representing Italian culture from the 1960s to today.
  • To study some of the cultural monuments of Italy's recent past as well as achieve a sense of some of the historical events that contribute most to contemporary Italian society.
  • The module should improve the existing programme by providing a cultural/artistic backdrop against which to teach Italian language in first year.
  • It also intends to provide a foundation for literature/culture courses offered in Year 2 and an introduction to the critical skills needed throughout the degree programme.


  • An in-house booklet will be prepared in the department.
  • The first half of the booklet (Term 1) will be divided into thematic units.
  • It will have excerpts from and about contemporary literature, cinema, music and society (phenomena such as linguistic and cultural diversity and immigration/emigration).
  • The second half (Term 2) will contain items relating to the main historical, artistic and cultural events occurring in Italy from 1960 onwards.
  • It will include literature and journalistic documentation as well as notes on films from that period.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students should gain an outline knowledge of the historical, artistic and cultural events which have dominated Italian society since the 1960s.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students should gain an ability to formulate critical observations on Italian texts and other media.
Key Skills:
  • Students will develop skills in critical reading and the expression of ideas both orally and in written form.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • In the first term, lectures will focus on current Italian literature, cinema, music and society.
  • Lectures in the second term will focus on recent Italian history (although the approach will not be purely historical).
  • Seminars will be used to read, examine and analyse texts chosen for their relevance to the historical/cultural/artistic topic of the week.
  • Seminars will also prepare students for presentations in general and for their end of year presentation in particular.
  • Short tutorials will be organised throughout the year to discuss essays.
  • Independent learning will be encouraged by preparation for seminars and by research for the summative essay.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 21 Weekly 1 hour 21
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 1 hour 10
Preparation and Reading 169
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay 1 Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 2000 word 100% Yes
Component: Essay 2 Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2 2000 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University