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Made in Italy - HOA00065I

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  • Department: History of Art
  • Module co-ordinator: Ms. Vera Mey
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

The concept of “Made in Italy” has long been synonymous with timeless elegance, impeccable style, and glamour; it is, at once, a guarantee of high-quality and traditional craftsmanship; and a way of identifying and protecting products that are exclusively designed and made on the Italian peninsula. Taking this term as a point of departure, this module will consider what it means to think about artistic production through the lens of national and cultural identity and ask to what extent has this been a concern of Italian visual art throughout the twentieth century?

In the face of an increasingly globalised conception of artistic production, and an impulse to reframe the discipline of art history through the global, have national and even regional histories ceased to be relevant? By examining a diverse body of works alongside key exhibitions and historical, political and art critical writings, this module will interrogate this question and consider how art, architecture, and design has helped define, mobilise but significantly, also resisted the allure of “Made in Italy” through the twentieth century. In doing so, it aims to give a broad grounding in the developments of Italian artistic practice and the key theoretical debates connected to these themes.

Students will develop skills in academic writing, where they will be required to address a clearly demarcated historical period, bringing to bear aspects of social history on the work they are looking at and a specifically national context. Students will develop skills in class discussion, both presenting clearly and listening carefully.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should have acquired:

  • A broad understanding of the key historical debates and critical interpretations surrounding questions of national identity and its formation and designation
  • A broad knowledge of the social context in which the works studied were produced
  • The skill to write clearly and concisely about complex ideas
  • The skill to articulate their own position on the topics we have discussed in the seminar and locate those opinions within the critical literature that we have read in class


Task Length % of module mark
Intermediate Assignment
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Intermediate Assignment
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will receive feedback on assessed work within the timeframes set out by the University - please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

The purpose of feedback is to help you to improve your future work. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further, you are warmly encouraged to meet your Supervisor during their Office Hours.

Indicative reading

  • Anderson, Sean. Modern Architecture and Its Representation in Colonial Eritrea an In-visible Colony, 1890–1941. New York: Routledge, 2015.
  • Barthes, Roland. “The Rhetoric of the Image.” In Image, Music, Text, translated by Stephen Heath, 32–51. London: Fontana, 1977.
  • Bedarida, Raffaele. Exhibiting Italian Art in the United States from Futurism to Arte Povera. London: Routledge, 2022.
  • Bonami, Francesco. “An Ancient Contemporary Civilization.” In Italics: Between Tradition and Revolution, 1968–2008, 25–31. Milan: Electa, 2001.
  • Dickie, John. “Imagined Italies.” In Italian Cultural Studies: an Introduction, edited by David Forgacs and Robert Lumley, 19–34. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
  • Dickie, John. “The notion of Italy.” In The Cambridge Companion to Modern Italian Culture, edited by Zygmunt G. Baranski & Rebbeca West, 17-34. Cambridge: CUP, 2001.
  • London, John. “Translating Futurism: Moving Possibilities.” In One Hundred Years of Futurism: Aesthetics, Politics and Performance, edited by John London, 49–78. Bristol: Intellect Books, 2018.
  • Poggi, Christine. “Futurist Velocities.” In Inventing Futurism: the Art and Politics of Artificial Optimism, 1–34. Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2009.
  • Sabatino, Michelangelo. “The Politics of Mediterraneità in Italian Modernist Architecture.” In Modern Architecture and the Mediterranean: Vernacular Dialogues and Contested Identities, edited by Jean-Franc¸ois Lejeune and Michelangelo Sabatino, 61-100. London: Routledge, 2010.
  • Scarlett, Matthew. “Preserved for Whom?” In The Routledge Companion to Fascist Architecture, edited by Kay Bea Jones and Stephanie Pilat, 179-190. London: Routledge, 2020.
  • Semplice, Andrea. “View: Letter from Asmara.” The Architectural Review 208, no. 1244 (2000): 44.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.