fall2020 News: Italian Studies

A Successful Semester for the New Italian Club

By Isabel Conti ‘22 in consultation with Alyssa Glauser ‘22 and Judith Tauber ‘21

Despite the constraints of a remote semester, William & Mary’s newly created Italian Club has Italian Club-pistacchio (1)grown and had great success in providing students with conversation hours, cooking lessons, and cultural activities over Zoom. We were able to provide students with an opportunity to practice Italian in a more casual setting and we hope that these conversations foster a sense of community and give students a chance to get to know one another even in a remote-learning environment. Academically, we also strived to deepen the students’ understanding of classroom material and enrich the learning experience with culture-focused lectures and club meetings.

We hosted a variety of events this semester, from game nights to lectures. In describing our goals for the club, we placed particular emphasis on conversation hours, in which we discuss more casual topics and explore Italian language and culture. These conversations are divided by level, and focused on current course material. While we provide starting questions, our goal is for conversation to arise naturally, and to give students a space to talk about their hobbies and interests in Italian. We also continued the Casa Italiana tradition of hosting cooking classes. We made Italian dishes, such as pasta al pesto, and had (remote) meals together. Our club meetings also consisted of different cultural activities, such as a game night and discussions of Italian music and current events. 

The Italian Club also wishes to extend great thanks to the speakers who were able to join us this semester to provide their perspectives and expertise. Giulia Falistocco, a PhD student at the University of Perugia, shared her work on the conception of the 1970s in Italy through contemporary Italian novels. Professor Giovannuzzi of the University of Perugia gave a presentation on Italian poetry of the 1970s and the role of generational differences, the focus of his latest volume, Dittico. We were also thrilled to welcome back Chiara DiMaio and Antonella Nicholas, both of whom have been involved with the Italian program here at William & Mary, for their perspectives on cultural differences between the United States and Italy. 

The Italian Club plans to continue operating remotely during the spring semester, so as to make our activities as accessible as possible. We look forward to resuming our conversation hours, cooking classes and other cultural activities, as well as possibly adding movie nights to our schedule this spring. We also plan to welcome Italian Club interest meeting picProfessor Patrizio Ceccagnoli of Kansas University, an expert on Futurism, for a guest speaker presentation. 

We extend our gratitudine to Professoressa Mattavelli and the Italian program, whose support, advice and aid in advertising have helped make this semester such a success! Grazie mille also to our peers who supported us by contributing their enthusiasm and insight to our events rendering our conversations and meetings fun and stimulating. We know we all came away inspired.

Italian Club events will resume in the new semester. Buone vacanze e buon capodanno