04177 - Sociology of Literature

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

No poverty Sustainable cities Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student possess basic knowledge about the functioning of the literary institutions, regarding the text and context nexus, the dynamics of literary communication and its political, ideological, socio-economic and editorial influence. The student will be able to use the main forms of study of the sociology of literature, with a particular focus on the thematic and sociological components of literary texts.

Course contents


Current news and events are characterized by a terrifying and aggressive interpretation of the international migratory flows that are crossing our peninsula.

However, the entire history of the Italian unification process is marked by huge flows of emigration that have affected all areas of the country as well as different social classes, from rural laborers and workers to scientists and scholars, who now constitute a very large part of the expatriates both within and beyond Europe (the so-called "brain drain").

The course aims to investigate the profound changes brought about by international migration movements through the analysis of some of the many literary texts which have their roots in this phenomenon. These works – sometimes composed in the writer’s native tongue but often in the language spoken in the country of arrival – reveal the complex reasons behind migration and describe the tragic events that define trips and sea-crossings, the early, difficult contacts with foreign customs and cultures, the segmented and contradictory processes which generate progressive integration over successive generations.

Figures and personal epics like those of Marisa Fenoglio and Carmine Abate in Germany, Saro Marretta in Switzerland, Luigi Di Ruscio in Norway, Girolamo Santocono and Salvatore Adamo in Belgium, Rosa Cappiello in Australia, Marinette Pendola and Erminia Dell'Oro in Africa, John Fante, Helen Bartolini, Louise De Salvo, Jerre Mangione in the USA and many others constitute a rich and varied textual corpus on which literary criticism has rarely focused – despite the fact that this corpus, because of its size and quality, is an important part of our national literature.

The course will also focus on the voices of hundreds of young people at the core of the new international mobility, who relate their (mis)adventures in foreign countries not only in literary texts, but also through new, more immediate ways of communication like interviews and blogs.



The complete reading list will be announced in September 2018.


See Italian Syllabus.

Teaching methods


Lectures in Italian.

The 60-hour course will take place in the 1st Semester starting from 2 October 2018 in Via Zamboni 38.

Tuesdays 5-7 p.m. aula Tibiletti

Wednesdays 5-7 p.m. aula II

Fridays 3-5 p.m. aula II


Assessment methods

Students will be assessed by oral examination.

The evaluation of the competences acquired during the course consists of an oral interview which has the aim of appraising the students’ critical and methodological abilities. Students will be invited to discuss the texts included in the teaching programme. Students will have to show an appropriate knowledge of the bibliography detailed in the reading list.

Top marks will be awarded to students showing a wide and systematic understanding of the issues covered in class, but also capable of using these notions critically to elaborate clear and relevant analyses through an appropriate vocabulary.

Average marks will be awarded to students showing a mostly mnemonic knowledge of the subject matter, a moderate ability to summarize and elaborate on key topics and using a correct vocabulary, though not always relevant.

A superficial knowledge and understanding of the primary sources and related bibliography, accompanied by scarce analytical and expressive competences, will be rewarded with a pass mark or just above.

Students showing significant gaps in their knowledge of the subject matter and related bibliography and/or expressing in a confused and inappropriate way will not be given a pass mark.

Teaching tools

Video projector, overhead projector, videos, web resources.

Meetings with international experts and authors that write on migration issues.


Office hours

See the website of Fulvio Pezzarossa