Middlebury Language Schools. 100 years of Language.

Antonio Nicaso

Italian School Associate Director


Antonio Nicaso is a bestselling author, an award-winning journalist and an internationally recognized expert on organized crime. He has published 27 books on Mafia and Mafia-type criminal organizations and is teaching courses on the history of organized crime in Canada, Italy and the United States.

Regular consultant to governments and law-enforcement agencies around the world and lecturer at several universities, he is the co-director of the Research in Forensic Semiotics Unit at Victoria College (University of Toronto).

He sits on the Advisory Board of the Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security, at York University (Toronto); on the International Advisory Council of the Italian Institute of Strategic Studies “Niccolò Machiavelli” in Rome (Italy), and on the Expert Advisory Committee on Bullying, Intimidation and Gang Violence in Montreal. 

He is also the President of Centro Scuola e Cultura, in Toronto.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

ITAL 6576 - Faces of Italy:1861 to Present      

Faces of Italy: Italian Culture and Society through Literature and Scandals from 1861 to the Present

This course examines the most pressing issue that has confronted Italian society since its Unification: How does one make a nation? If the Italian historical process that led to unification (the Risorgimento) can be read as an unfulfilled revolution (Gramsci), a revolution that failed (Gobetti), or even the fulfillment of noble plans made by enlightened men, animated by a philanthropic spirit (Croce), how can these different ways of reading the nation’s beginnings help us to understand its past, its present, and its future? The course is interdisciplinary: we will place political and historical transformations (from Liberalism, to Fascism, to the Resistance, to the First and Second Republics) in a dialectical relation to the cultural production of an Italy constantly in flux, looking at literature, music and the visual arts as expressions of social change: as reactions for or against the dominant culture. Particular attention will be given to major scandals that have characterized the history of Italy. We will also contextualize the Italian
reality within that of Europe and the rest of the world.

Required Texts:
A. Nicaso, Pignotti, L’Italia spiegata ai ragazzi. Mondadori, 2011. - 978-88-04-61355-8
Andrea Camilleri, La bolla di Componenda. Sellerio, Palermo, 1997. - 9788838913686 Civ Cul & Soc Literature

Summer 2012, Summer 2013, Summer 2014 Language Schools, Summer 2015 Language Schools

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ITAL 6628 - The Mafia:Cinematic Perspectvs      

The Mafia through Cinematic and Literary Perspectives

The course will analyze the cinematic representation of the complex phenomena called Mafia. We will study how within Italian cinema the characterization of the Mafia and mafiosi began with the archetypal figures of the bosses and the good guy, crusader from the North sent to Sicily to fight crime. Special attention will be dedicated to Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy, Placido Rizzotto, Salvatore Giuliano, Il giorno della civetta, Falcone, Borsellino, Fortapasc and Il Divo.

Required Texts:
La mafia spiegata ai ragazzi. Nicaso, Antonio - Mondadori, 2010
Il Giorno della civetta. Sciascia Leonardo, Baglione A. - La nuova italia editrice, 1993
Silvana Gandolfi, Io dentro gli spari, Salani Editore, 2010
Giancarlo De Cataldo, Nelle mani giuste, Einaudi, 2007 Civ Cul & Soc

Summer 2011, Summer 2012

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ITAL 6629 - The Risorgimento Nicaso      

The Disunity of Italy: Deeds and Misdeeds of the Risorgimento Nicaso

The history of Italian Risorgimento is conditioned by rhetoric that has constructed a nation founded on a legendary past, based on the heroism and martyrdom of a minority of combatants who believed that they had a special mission to accomplish. Reality is different. In order to understand what really happened, a deep re-reading of historical facts is necessary. The course will focus on how the unification of the south with the north led to a civil war. We will explore how the victor effaced the memories of the vanquished and discover the true nature of the Risorgimento.

Required Texts: O Roma o morte di Arrigo Petacco, Mondadori, 2010- ISBN 978-88-04-60457-0, Il sangue del Sud di Giordano Bruno Guerri, Mondadori, 2010-ISBN 978-88-04-60330-6, Il Gattopardo di Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Felitrinelli (Universale economia), 2003, ISBN 880781028X. Civ Cul & Soc

Summer 2011

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ITAL 6717 - Globalization of Criminal Org      

The Globalization of Criminal Organizations

This course aims to analyze the globalization of diverse criminal organizations (Mafias) and their entrance in the ‘new economy.’ At first, the course will examine the origins of this globalization: the summit of Palermo and Appalachian in 1957; the market of the heroine; the investigation of the French and Pizza Connection; the testimony of Joe Valachi; and the cover up of Joe Pistone’s that revealed the secrets of the ‘Cosa Nostra’ to Americans. Then students will be introduced to the diverse ‘Mafias’criminal organizations in Italy. For example, the ‘Ndrangheta will be analyzed as one new example of globalized criminality, including the diverse activities in which it is involved: kidnapping, construction market, drug trafficking, money laundering, and investments in the legal economy. Keeping in mind the evolution from the old to the new economy, this course will conclude with the internalization of markets, the condition of the legal economy, and above all criminal organizations’ relationship with power in moments of economical crisis. The course will also take into consideration the diverse sectors of success of the Mafia economy and the cultural, political, and economic acceptance of its infiltration into society.

*Required texts*: /La mafia spiegata ai ragazzi
, Antonio Nicaso, Mondadori, ISBN 978-88-04-60368-9
Dire e non dire, I dieci comandamenti della 'ndrangheta nelle parole degli affiliati, Nicola Gratteri, Antonio Nicaso, ISBN 978-88-04-62306-9
Gomorra, Roberto Saviano, Mondadori, ISBN 978-88-04-61316-9. Civ Cul & Soc

Summer 2013

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ITAL 6721 - Globalization of the Mafia      

The course aims to provide the basic knowledge to interpret the phenomena of organized crime. It defines patterns, characteristics, norms, myths, symbols and languages and offers a reading of their evolution as a function of globalization and new technologies, starting with Lucky Luciano to the present day. In particular, we will study criminal activities with reference to drug trafficking and trade routes (Caribbean, Atlantic and transoceanic), the economic outlook favored by old and new recycling techniques (casino, internet, financial institutions, and other commercial activities), joint-ventures with interactions and strategic alliances between various criminal groups, especially in the Americas, and communication systems based on languages that are increasingly sophisticated.

Required Texts:
Dire e non dire, di Nicola Gratteri e Antonio Nicaso, Mondadori, Milano, 2012. ISBN 978-88-04-62306-9
Quando la mafia trovò l'America, Salvatore Lupo, Einaudi, Torino, 2008, ISBN 978-88-06-18598-5 Civ Cul & Soc

Summer 2014 Language Schools

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ITAL 6726 - History of Anti-Mafia Movement      

In Sicily there is not only the Mafia. There is also, and has been for more than a century, the fight against the Mafia. This course reconstructs the struggle against the Mafia, from the Fasci Siciliani up to the present day: from the first expressions of class struggle to a movement that in recent decades has become the expression of a civil commitment extending throughout the entire Sicilian and Italian national territory.

Required Texts: Umberto Santino. Storia del movimento antimafia. Editore Riuniti, 2000. ISBN 88-359-4844-4. Antonio Nicaso. La mafia spiegata ai ragazzi. Mondadori, ISBN 978-88-04-60368-9. Civ Cul & Soc

Summer 2015 Language Schools

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The Italian School

Sunderland Language Center
Middlebury College
P: 802.443.5727
F: 802.443.2075

Mailing address
Italian School
14 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT  05753

Kara Gennarelli, Coordinator