12805 - History of English Culture

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the students will have a wide overview of the main  historical, geographical and social aspects and contexts of British Culture from the end of world war two to the end of the second millennium. The students will also be able to contextualize and analyze various texts and documents, placing them in relationship with the most relevant and significant changes of the cultural and linguistic area of reference

Course contents

Photography in British and Anglophone culture from William Fox Talbot to Martin Parr

The aim of the course is to analyse the importance, the use and the representation of photography in English Culture from Talbot’s invention to nowadays.


Compulsory readings for all the students:

M. CometaStudi Culturali, Napoli, Guida, 2011 (prefazione, seconda parte - paragrafi 1, 2,3,4 - e quarta parte). 

S. Albertazzi, Letteratura e fotografia, Roma, Carocci, 2016.

All other teaching materials and slides will be uploaded on Virtuale at the end of the lessons. 

The students of Storia della cultura must read these texts:

Thomas Hardy, “An Imaginative Woman”

Henry James, “The Friends of Friends”

Geoff Dyer, The Colour of Memory

Graham Swift, Out of This World

William Boyd, Nat Tate. An American Artist

They must read one of these novels:

Anita Brookner, Family and Friends; Penelope Lively, The Photograph; Geoff Dyer, But Beautiful; Jonathan Coe, The Rain Before it Falls.

The students of Letteratura dei paesi di lingua inglese must read all the following texts:

Nathaniel Hawthrone, The House of the Seven Gables

M. Ondaatje, Coming Through Slaughter

John Berger, A Seventh Man

Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath her Feet;

They must also read one of these novels :

Michael Ondaatje, Divisadero; Amitav Ghosh, The Glass Palace; Colum McCann, Songdogs; Anita Desai, “Winter Landscape” in Id., Diamond Dust and Other Stories

All the students must see the following films:

Michelangelo Antonioni, Blow up

Uberto Pasolini, Still Life

J. Moorhouse, Proof

R. Kaufmann, Z. Briski, Born into Brothels

During the lessons the teacher will refer to photographs from Britain and from the former British colonies, showing photos, videos and documetary films. The list of the artists will be published at the end of the course and all the materials will be uploaded on Virtuale. 

The students who will not attend the course, beside study all the compulsory texts, reading all the novels and consulting all the materials on Virtuale, will study two more texts:  Understanding a Photograph by John Berger and On Photography by Susan Sontag e conoscere tutti i materiali che saranno caricati su Virtuale nel corso delle lezioni.


Teaching methods

Traditional lectures will be alternated with a seminar approach, encouraging students to participate in the discussion of books, films, songs and other documents and texts. The students will be asked to do research online and to make presentations on the subjects of the course.

Foreign students must be fluent in Italian in order to attend this course.

Assessment methods

During the course the students will be asked to do research and make presentations as written in the "Texts" section.

The oral test consists in a talk whose aim is evaluating the critical and methodological ability of the students in relating to British cultural history the texts, authors, events and movements analysed during the course. The student must demonstrate an appropriate knowledge of the bibliography used during the course and added to the course program.

The students who are able to show a wide and systematic understanding of the issues covered during the course, and are able to use them critically and who master the field-specific culture and history of the discipline will be given a mark of excellence.

The students who demonstrate a mnemonic knowledge of the subject with a more superficial analytical ability and ability to synthesize, a correct but not always appropriate command of the language , will be given a ‘fair' mark.

A superficial knowledge and understanding of the material, a scarce analytical and expressive ability , a language that is not always appropriate will be rewarded with a pass mark or just above a pass mark.

Students who show gaps in their knowledge of the subject matter, inappropriate language use, lack of familiarity with the literature in the programme bibliography will not be given a pass mark.

Teaching tools

Traditional lectures with reading and analysis of documents and texts will be alternated with an approach on seminar base, encouraging students to participate in class discussion ando to do research and make presentations.

 Video and Audio supports will be used.

Office hours

See the website of Silvia Albertazzi