Natasha V. Chang

Dean, Brainerd Commons & Visiting Asst. Professor, Comparative Literature

Phone: work802.443.3320
Office Hours: By appointment. Please contact Diane Burnham, the Brainerd Commons Coordinator, at 443-3320 for availability.
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indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

CMLT 0320 / ITAL 0320 - Narratives Fascist Past      

Narratives of the Fascist Past: Memory, Forgetting, and the Myth of the Good Italian (In English)
In this course we will examine a troublingly persistent trope in post-fascist Italian culture: the myth of the “Good Italian” or the belief that Italians, benevolent by nature, overwhelmingly opposed the ideals of the fascist regime, protected Jews from deportation, and regularly subverted fascist law. Students will read several key literary texts—Gadda’s That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana, Loy’s First Words, Eco’s The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, and Lucarelli’s Carte Blanche—alongside academic historiography, popular histories, journalism, and testimonies in order to fully grasp what is at stake in the heated public and scholarly debate over the “Good Italian”. We will consider issues such as the possibility of knowing history through literature, the ethical implications that arise from that possibility, and the narrative mechanisms through which the literary text engages or fails to engage questions of individual and collective accountability. (ENAM 0103 or CMLT 0101 or permission of the instructor) 3 hrs. sem.


Fall 2014

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CMLT 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
Approval Required

Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016

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INTL 0481 / GRMN 0481 / ITAL 0481 - Memory & National Identity      

Memory Matters: National Identity in Contemporary Germany and Italy
In the course we will explore the crucial role of memory in the formation of national identity, and focus on the troubled remembrance of the Nazi period in Germany and the Fascist period in Italy. Using primary sources in their original language, students will study the ways in which the memory of this difficult past decisively informs contemporary national identity. Topics will include commemorative sites, national symbols, autobiographical memory, traumatic memory, and trans-generational memory. Classes will alternate between a plenary English session and discussions in either German or Italian. This course is equivalent to ITAL 0481 and GRMN 0481. 3 hrs. sem./disc.


Spring 2011

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ITAL 0352 - Cinema e Letteratura del 900      

Cinema e Letteratura del Novecento: Rappresentazioni dell'Olocausto
In this course we will examine the cinematic and literary representation of the Holocaust in Italian culture. Students will engage in interactive discussions on a variety of literary texts, films, commentaries, testimonies, and theoretical writings. Readings will include works by Giorgio Bassani, Primo Levi, Lorenza Mazzetti, and Liana Millu, and films by such directors as Gillo Pontecorvo, Vittorio De Sica, Francesco Rosi, Roberto Benigni, Andrea & Antonio Frazzi, Ferzan Ozpetek and others. In addition to attending regular class meeting times, students will be expected to attend all film screenings. (ITAL 0252 or waiver) 3 hrs. lect./disc./screens.


Spring 2013

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ITAL 0451 - Italian Fiction of Intrigue      

Italian Fiction of Intrigue: From Past to Present Day
In this course we will study the social and political anxieties expressed, and possibly tamed, by the popular genre of the "giallo" or Italian pulp crime novel. We will focus on two related historical moments - the period of the fascist regime in early 20th century Italy and the so-called "second republic" which stretches from the late 20th century to the present day - in order to explore the transformation of the genre and to examine potential shifts in the social reflection it presents. We will read the works of well-known writers such as Andrea Camilleri and Carlo Lucarelli, as well as the lesser known Alessandro Varaldo and Vasco Mariotti. (ITAL 0355 or equivalent) 3 hrs disc.


Fall 2011

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ITAL 0550 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
Italian faculty as a group will consider and approve requests by qualified juniors and seniors to engage in independent work. Students must submit a prospectus that includes a bibliography of no less than five sources. Interested students should contact members of the Italian faculty before the end of the preceding term to discuss their project and to see if they are available to direct the Independent Study. Students must submit a prospectus with the department chair by the end of the first week of classesfor fall and spring term approvals, by the end the last week of fall semesterfor winter term approvals. Prior to submission, sufficient advance consultation with project directors is required.Junior students are strongly encouraged to consider independent study as preparation for senior honors thesis work.

Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Winter 2014, Winter 2015

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ITAL 0755 - Senior Honors      

Students majoring in Italian must complete an independent senior project. Italian faculty as a group will consider and approve the proposals, which should be submitted before the last week of the preceding semester. The senior project will be advised by one member of the Italian department, but will be presented to the whole department. Italian honors will be awarded to eligible students depending on the final grade. (Staff)

Spring 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Winter 2014, Winter 2015

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Research Interests

Twentieth-century Italian literature and culture with an emphasis on gender studies; Fascism and its representations with an emphasis on gender studies.