The Make-Up: Representations of Gender in Italy - IT576

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
(version 2)
Autumn 5 15 (7.5) DR A Sforza Tarabochia checkmark-circle


This module introduces students to key concepts in the analysis of social, cultural and artistic representation of gender within the contemporary Italian context. It does so by considering a selection of relevant works from a variety of media, such as, for instance, neorealist and fantastic literature of the post-war years; feminist writings of the 1970s (e.g. Dacia Maraini's novel Donna in Guerra, 1975); contemporary cinema (e.g. Ferzan Ozpetek's Le fate ignoranti, 2001; Donatella Maiorca's Viola di mare, 2009). The module takes as its focus the gendered basis of social and political control as evident in constructions of subjectivity and sexuality exercised – for instance – through the media, while also analysing works that present themselves as a reaction to such control.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20.

Method of assessment

Essay 1 (1,500 words) – 40%
Essay 2 (1,500 words) – 40%
Presentation (15 minutes) – 20%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Bracke, M. (2014), Women and the Reinvention of the Political: Feminism in Italy, 1968-1983, London: Routledge.
Butler, J. (2004), Undoing Gender, London: Routledge.
Guerrina, R. (2014), "(Re)Presenting Women: Gender and the Politics of Sex in Contemporary Italy", Childs, S. and Celis, K. (eds.), Gender, Conservatism and Political Representation, Colchester, United Kingdom: ECPR Press, pp. 161-182.
Pickering-Iazzi, R. (1995), Mothers of Invention: Women, Italian Fascism, and Culture. London: University of Minnesota Press.
Tambo, M. (2014), The Lost Wave: Women and Democracy in Postwar Italy, New York: Oxford University Press.
Wilson, P. (2004), Gender, Family and Sexuality: The Private Sphere in Italy, 1860-1945, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of Italian culture in relation to the representation of gender diversity and roles, and of the way in which aspects have developed across the decades;
Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of Italian society today specifically with regards to gender roles and related issues, and how this is relevant to a critical understanding of gender roles within the European context;
Deploy established Italian cultural studies concepts and techniques to undertake a critical analysis of Italian cultural history;
Demonstrate critical knowledge of the main methods of enquiry in gender studies and evaluate critically the appropriateness of different approaches to textual and visual analysis within the context of Italian cultural studies.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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