Anglo-American Cultures

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
Focusing on the literary and non-literary works, films, art forms, discourses and cultural practices which inform and characterize the current debate on US national, racial and cultural identities against the backdrop of the continent's history and global scope, this course aims to enhance the students' knowledge and understanding of these themes, which are central concerns in our experience of contemporaneity. This aim is pursued through the methodological and critical tools of cultural studies, which, in line with the main objectives of the Degree Course, favour an understanding of ideological, intercultural and socio-spatial relations, as well as a multicultural and interdisciplinary approach. The course is meant to foster active participation from the students, and, besides advancing their English skills, aims to enhance their ability to make judgements and recognize the differences and connections among divergent forms, genres, and cultures, according to the wider mission of Mediazione Linguistica.
Students will acquire the skills relevant to making more informed and autonomous judgements. Thanks to their familiarity with different perspectives of intercultural analysis, they will develop analytical and critical attitudes towards cultural productions and literary texts and draw comparisons and establish connections between the various contexts under scrutiny and their own situated experience.
Expected learning outcomes
Within the frame of the linguistic and cultural specificity and multiplicity of the US, tudents are expected to show interdisciplinary methodological and cultural tools for discussing and analyzing cultural, political and media discourses and practices, fictional and non-fictional texts, visual culture, documentaries and films. This is to be done using the methodological approaches of Cultural Studies. The acquisition of the required skills will be fostered by encouraging active participation and dialogue, and by enabling the students to draw comparisons between the US context and their own situated experience of being Italians and citizens of the world, so as to facilitate forms of analysis and engagement with the issues and challenges of the American present which are consistent with the avowed specialist and intercultural mission of their Degree Course.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
In the emergency teaching phase, should it become necessary to use online teaching, the program designed for face-to-face teaching is modified as follows:

Teaching methods:
The lessons will be held in synchronous, trying to enhance interaction (chat and forum), using mainly Teams; only in specific cases and duly communicated, the lessons will be held in asynchronous (videolessons). In case there will be activities in presence (following the indications of the university), students who will not participate will be offered an alternative online activity that will allow them to develop the same critical and text analysis skills.
The timetable of the lessons remains unchanged and all the most important information will be provided through the ARIEL website of the course.
The methods and criteria for attending the lessons in attendance, which require a reservation with the appropriate app, will be published in good time on the ARIEL website of the course.

Reference materials:
The syllabus is ket untouched. For those who decide not to attend the course, we recommend the supporting bibliography.

Testing and grading
The exam is oral and will be conducted, in the case of online teaching, in Microsoft Teams or Zoom, according to the indications provided by the University. The requirements and methods of evaluation remain the same with respect to the "in presence" program.
Course syllabus
TITLE: God's got a heaven for country trash': poor whites from Tobacco Road to Educated

Cultural representations of poor whites have long shifted between opposite definitions. Poor whites have, in fact, been increasingly portrayed as both racist, bigot, conservative, populist, right-wing extremist and as the victims of socioeconomic politics and intellectual elitist bias; as both ragged individualists and members of well-knitted local communities. This course will examine the representation of poor whites in American culture across various types of texts (novels, memoirs, photography, music, films, documentaries). More specifically, we will focus on three books written between 1932 and 2018 - Erskine Caldwell's Tobacco Road (1932); Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina (1992); and Tara Westover's Educated (2018) - as well as on FSA photography, country music, and recent Netflix productions (the film Hillbilly Elegy, 2020; the documentary Dolly Parton, Here I am, 2019).
Unit 1: Historical, Cultural and Literary Context
Unit 2: Tobacco Road e Bastard Out of Carolina
Unit 3: Country Music, Netflix productions
Prerequisites for admission
Before taking the exam of Anglo American Culture, students must have taken the exam of English Language I and English Culture I. They must be able to read and understand texts in English and they must prove fluent in both written and spoken English.
Teaching methods
Classes will develop on a lecture-based method, with the occasional involvement in public events and with guest speakers. Whenever possible, team-working will be encouraged.
Teaching Resources
Units 1 & 2
Primary texts
Erskine Caldwell, Tobacco Road (1932) [La via del tabacco]
Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina (1992) [La bastarda della Carolina] - selected chapters
Tara Westover, Educated (2018) [L'educazione] - selected chapters

Critical References
Americana: Storie e culture degli Stati Uniti dalla A alla Z, Saggiatore, 2012 (Acquistabile in ebook): solo le seguenti voci:
Cinture; Dust Bowl; FSA; Furori; Grande Depressione; Grand Ole Opry; Quakers, Shakers, Mormons; Redneck; Waco, Columbine e dintorni.

Whereas primary texts can be read either in English or in Italian, the thematic and stylistic analyses carried out in the classroom, as well as during the final examination, will be based on the original texts. Any full edition of the above texts will do.

Unit 3
Dolly Parton, Here I am (Netflix, 2019)
Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix, 2020)
Assessment methods and Criteria
Students will have the opportunity to carry out some in itinere tests and in-depth activities that will be subject to evaluation and on which more specific indications will be given in class. The overall evaluation will be elaborated and communicated at the end of the oral exam.
Lessons: 60 hours
Professor: Scarpino Cinzia