C.A. Dana Professor of Italian; Commons Head - Cook
As Head of Cook Commons, I join Dean Ian Sutherland, Coordinator Linda Schiffer, Commons Residential Advisor (CRA) Nadia Schreiber, Middlebury ’12, the residential life student staff, and Commons Council, to welcome all new and returning students, faculty, and staff to our social and intellectual community of “pleasure and intelligence.”
I have been Professor of Italian at Middlebury since 1982 and Commons Head of Cook since 2000. I supervise the general running of our Commons, which I conduct in a collaborative manner with the aid of with our Dean and Coordinator, both highly experienced and expert in their roles, our CRA, and our FYCs and RAs.
The Cook Commons House at 46 South Street is a place where faculty, students, and visiting experts can meet and/or dine to discuss a wide variety of topics in more intimate groups. There is also a larger dining and social venue in Forest East Lounge for dinners, lectures, and receptions. As in the past, students, staff, and faculty will have an opportunity to work with me to plan events in these facilities. In addition, we hold monthly dinners for the entire Commons or other designated groups in Atwater Dining.
The Commons system, and Cook as a particular neighborhood of the Commons, places first-and second-year students at the forefront our work. Our First-Year Counsellers, the upper-class students who live on the halls with the new students, work to establish an inclusive, welcoming, and respectful atmosphere on the halls. They offer personal and academic support, and encourage the growth of social, cultural, and academic community through a variety of activities, starting with Orientation itself.
The Cook House, along with other Commons Houses, offers direct support to First-Year Seminars affiliated with our Commons by providing venues for class dinners, discussions, and film viewings.
Continued thought and planning is going into the “Sophomore Experience,” when students start to think more concretely about their academic and personal futures. This includes meetings about the decision to study abroad, choosing career and study paths, and the academic disciplines, represented by professors sharing their research and their life stories with students.
Each year, the Sophomore class determines the scope and path of their experience. The “Sophomore Experience” in 2012-2013 will take shape according to the preferences of the class of 2015.
First year and sophomore students are required to live in the Cook community; after the first two years, students go on to live in “Community” Housing. All students who start in Cook Commons, even as juniors and seniors, remain in Cook and maintain contact with our Dean. We invite our upperclassmen to return to the Cook Office, 150 Battell North, for candy, conversation, and academic and personal support.
Cook Commons Council meets every Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Pearsons Lounge and welcomes students from all four years to participate in creating events and building Cook’s vibrant local community.
Where you live and how you live there profoundly affect the quality of your college experience.
Cook is your community. You are responsible for this place and its quality of life.
The Commons staff, faculty and staff affiliates, res life staff, and Council welcome you and support you in this great new year in the life of Cook Commons.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
FYSE 1121 - Representations of Urban Italy
Representations of Urban Italy: Rome, Florence, Venice
Rome, Florence, and Venice are central to the Western image of the city. With ancient Rome as a model, we will enrich our historical knowledge of these cities and their famous sites. We will explore how literature, urban planning, and the arts represent them. Genres to be explored (in English) will include travel memoirs, classic films (Rome Open City, La dolce vita), adaptations of novels (The Talented Mr. Ripley, Room with a View), “magic realism” (Winterston’s The Passion), detective fiction (Donna Leon, Michael Dibdin), modern and contemporary Italian prose and film (Moravia, Ozpetek’s Facing Windows), and toga epics (Gladiator, Rome). Culinary history and practice will be included. 3 hrs. sem.
Fall 2009, Fall 2012
INTD 0210 - Sophomore Seminar/Liberal Arts ▲
Sophomore Seminar in the Liberal Arts
This course is designed for sophomores who are interested in exploring the meaning and the purpose of a liberal arts education. To frame this investigation, we will use the question "What is the good life and how shall I live it?" Through an interdisciplinary and multicultural array of readings and films we will engage our course question through intellectual discussion, written reflection, and personal practice. There will be significant opportunities for public speaking and oral presentation, as well as regular writing assignments, including a formal poster presentation. Readings will include reflections on a liberal arts education in the U.S. (Emerson, Brann, Nussbaum, Oakeshott, Ladsen-Billings, bell hooks); on "the good life" (excerpts from Aristotle, sacred texts of different traditions); on social science analyses of contemporary life; texts on the neuroscience of happiness; as well as literary and cinematic representations of lives well-lived. CMP (J. Miller-Lane; P. Zupan)
ITAL 0101 - Intensive Beginning Italian
Intensive Beginning Italian
This course is an introduction to the Italian language that provides a foundation in both spoken and written Italian. Focus on the spoken language encourages rapid mastery of the basic structures and vocabulary of contemporary Italian. The exclusive use of Italian in dialogue situations and vocabulary building encourages the student to develop skills in a personalized context. Conversation and drill are stimulated and fostered through active reference to popular Italian music, authentic props, and slides of Italian everyday life and culture. Students are required to participate in the Italian table. 6 hrs. disc./perf.; 2 hrs. screen
ITAL 0102 - Intensive Beginning Italian
Intensive Beginning Italian II
This course is a continuation of ITAL 0101, and emphasizes spoken and written Italian and the mastery of more complex grammatical structures and vocabulary. Students continue to work with conversation partners, but will also incorporate more specific cultural references in oral presentations and in written assignments. Students attend the Italian table and mandatory film screenings. (ITAL 0101 or equivalent)
Winter 2011, Winter 2013
ITAL 0103 - Intensive Beginning Italian
Intensive Beginning Italian III
This course emphasizes increased control and proficiency in the language through audiovisual, conversational, and drill methods. Italian life and culture continue to be revealed through the use of realia. Short reading selections on contemporary Italy and discussions enlarge the student's view of Italian life and culture. Students continue to participate in the Italian table. (ITAL 0102 or equivalent) 6 hrs. disc./perf.; 2 hrs. screen.
ITAL 0290 / LITS 0290 - Dante In English
Dante (in English)
An introduction to Dante's major literary works, La Vita Nuova (The New Life) and the Divine Comedy. Close readings of the text will seek to give students an appreciation of Dante's place in world literature. Dante's masterpieces will also be discussed in a historical and philosophical perspective, and supplementary readings will acquaint the reader with the medieval view of life and literature.
ITAL 0490 - Dante In Italian
Dante in Italian
This course concentrates on a close reading of the whole of Dante's Inferno. Students will learn about the historical and literary context of the work, read excerpts from the Purgatorio and the Paradiso, get acquainted with the long tradition of Dante commentaries, and contribute twice a week to an on-line discussion on the weekly readings. After two short papers that will analyze specific aspects of a canto, students will prepare as a final project a Lectura Dantis: a detailed analysis of a canto of the Inferno that will include critical material. (ITAL 0355 or equivalent) 3 hrs. disc.
ITAL 0550 - 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.
Fall 2009, Winter 2010, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Winter 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014
ITAL 0755 - Senior Honors ▹
As prerequisite, students must have an A- or above average in Italian courses and a B overall average to be considered for honors work. They may achieve honors through a one-credit thesis of 25 or more pages, whose work may extend over one or more semesters, or through a comprehensive exam. Italian faculty as a group will consider and approve requests by qualified juniors and seniors to engage in honors work.
Winter 2010, Spring 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Spring 2014
ITAL 1001 - Dante in Translation
Dante in Translation
Central to world literature, Dante's Divine Comedy traces the Poet's journey from the darkness of the Inferno, through the chiaroscuro of the Purgatory mountain, to the celestial vision of the Paradiso. We will situate the work in the context of Dante's poetic predecessors (Virgil, Provencal troubadours/trobaritz, the Sicilian School, Guido Cavalcanti), and in the cultural and historical context of the Middle Ages. We will also consider modern art, literature, and film influenced by the Comedy. Readings will be complemented with audio support in English and Italian.