Illusions of Grandeur – Utopian and Dystopian Worlds in Italian Literature: A Three Part Course with Dr. Kristin Stasiowski

Illusions of Grandeur – Utopian and Dystopian Worlds in Italian Literature: A Three Part Course with Dr. Kristin Stasiowski


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after each event.

Utopian fantasies of uniting humanity under a commonwealth of inspired ideals formed the basis of political and philosophical thought throughout the late Middle Ages and during the Renaissance with its focus on civic humanism and virtue ethics, but the narrative thread of these imagined worlds traces its own unique history through the words of some of Italy’s most esteemed intellectuals. 

The promise of a perfectly moral and political community, in fact, has occupied the Italian literary imagination ever since the 1516 publication of Thomas More’s Utopia. Beginning with More, this three-part course will examine the history of utopian (and dystopian) literature in the Italian cultural and historical context. From Tommaso Campanella’s City of the Sun to Paolo Mantegazza’s The Year 3000: A Dream, participants will be invited to consider themes as varied as power, injustice, human flourishing, the influence of technology, and the dream of civic virtue and the reality of fractured political systems. 

Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the history of Italian utopian and dystopian visions. Led by an expert in Italian literature and culture, Kristin Stasiowski, Ph.D., this interactive course will introduce participants to the literary figures of Thomas More, Tommaso Campanella, and Paolo Mantegazza and more through an in-depth discussion of the literary, historical, and political contexts in which they wrote and offer a glimpse into the way that these texts shaped the genre of science fiction. 

Lecture One: Introduction to Topics in Utopian and Dystopian Literature
During our first week together, we'll discuss Thomas More’s Utopia and Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

Lecture Two: A Renaissance Rethinking of Tomorrow
Our course continues with an examination of Tommaso’ Campanella’s City of the Sun and the ideal city.

Lecture Three: Visions of the Future
We will conclude with Paolo Mantegazza’s The Year 3000: A Dream and the beginnings of utopian science fiction in Italy. 

Kristin Stasiowski, Ph.D. is the Assistant Dean of International Programs and Education Abroad for the College of Arts and Sciences and is also an Assistant Professor of Italian Language and Literature in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at Kent State University. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University in Italian Language and Literature and has taught Italian language, literature, cinema, history, and culture in both Florence, Italy, and at Kent State. She recently published a chapter entitled "A Divine Comedy for All Time: Dante's Enduring Relevance for the Contemporary Reader" in Italian Pop Culture: Media, Product, Imageries. Rome, Italy: Viella Editrice s.r.. Her current research is focused on Dante, Boccaccio, and the modern poet Clemente Rebora.

How does it work?
This is a three-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture. 

When will I receive the Zoom link?
Your link to enter the Zoom room will be the same for all  sessions. It will be sent to the email address used to place your order 30 minutes prior to each lecture's start time.

Is there a reading list in advance?
Though the course is open to participants with no background on this topic, there are suggested readings for further investigation. These will be provided at the course's conclusion.

How long are the lectures?
Each lecture is 60 minutes long with time for Q&A.

How much is the course?
The course is $105 USD for three lectures.

Is a recording available?
Yes. All registered participants will be sent a recording link within 48 hours of each session's conclusion. It will be available to re-watch for 30 days after the course concludes.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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