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Although several courses have been taught at Sewanee on the subject of Italian over the past several years, it is only a recent development that students can formally minor in study of the language. Dr. Maggie Fritz-Morkin, Assistant Professor of Italian, described the changes in her department by interview, calling it “an exciting addition to the Sewanee curriculum, I think, and it looks something like a minor in French studies that has courses both taught in English and Italian. Students have to show that they are fluent in Italian and can read literature, but they are able to do some interdisciplinary coursework in other fields”. Students can attain this minor by taking a literature course, Introduction to Literature, and I still showing competence of the language as well as 300-level and upper classes, a minority of which can be taken in English or with an emphasis on Latin. Programs on a study abroad that either deal directly with Italian studies, or are taught entirely in the language, can also fulfill some of these credits.
The minor has not made significant changes to the existing coursework in the Department, but several new courses have been offered recently to expand upon it. As Dr. Fritz-Morkin put it, “Now that there’s a minor, it really just recognizes, officially, the coursework that is available…this is my third year on the job, and before I came here there were just four courses offered per semester. One of them was teach that, but I now I teach it in three different iterations, Introduction to Prose, Introduction to Poetry, and Introduction to Theater, which means that students can take up to three courses taught in Italian here on the Sewanee campus. Which has kind of just opened the door for students to take a lot more courses in Italian.” These courses are available after students have already demonstrated a proficiency in the language.
Several courses are also offered entirely in English, that both tie into the minor and an be taken as an accessory to other majors in related fields. Dr. Fritz-Morkin is “really excited to get English Majors and Classics Majors, because I think they have a lot to contribute…the English seminars do tend to be on Medieval and Early Modern topics, and are good supplements for people in Medieval Studies to count towards a Medieval Studies major, or in English, working towards a Medieval Studies certificate. It’s a kind of cultural currency that’s shared between Renaissance Italy other literatures here that students are reading.” Studies usually begin at around the 13th Century, and cover a variety of topics, from specific authors to general cultural trends, such as the disproportionate number of female poets compared to contemporary European countries.