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  • Locations: Rome, Italy
  • Program Terms: Spring Quarter
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Information:
sociology italy
 Location Rome, Verona, Padova, Veince, Florence, Italy
Spring Quarter
March 26 – June 2, 2018
 Estimated    Program Fee $8,250
 Credits 15 UW credits
 Prerequisites N/A
 Program      Directors Raimonda Modiano, Ricardo De Mambro Santos, Norman Arkans
 Program  Manager Darielle Horsey |
 Application    Deadline November 15, 2017
 Information  Session(s) Thursday, October 12, 6pm in CMU 226
Thursday, November 9, 6pm in CU 226
  General The program will also offer students an opportunity to become acquainted with the monuments and cultural heritage of four other cities in Italy: Verona, Padova, Venice, and Florence. 
Where You Will Study
Expenses, Financial Aid, & Scholarships

Application process
  Visas This country is part of the Schengen area. Please click here to learn more about important rules and restrictions for foreign visitors to this area.

Program Description

The English Spring Italy Program offers three courses that take full advantage of Italy's unique character as an artistic and historical land, with multiple layers of meaning that include preceding ages in an intertextual dialogue across time. The course on “Gift and Sacrifice” explores in a foundational way the primordial origins of all societies through relations of reciprocal exchange, obligation, and religious piety. A second course called Eloquent Bodies will examine representations of the body in art history. A third course called Italy in the European Imagination will explore the role Italy plays in the literary works of authors from other European countries. The program will also offer students an opportunity to become acquainted with the monuments and cultural heritage of four other cities in Italy: Verona, Padova, Venice, and Florence.




Verona, Padova, Venice, Florence.


Housing for the English Italy program in Rome is arranged by the U.W. Rome Center. Our students are typically assigned to apartments at the Campo de’ Fiori, which is located close by the Rome Center and very convenient for the students with full kitchen facilities, washing machines, and wifi access. Housing in other locations will be arranged by the program.


Pre-Requisites/Language Requirements/Physical Components

The Spring Rome program is open to students from all disciplines. The program offers an intensified approach to the humanities as well as an introduction to critical theory and practice. Besides English and Comp Lit majors, we welcome and have benefited greatly from students from all majors including Business, Finance, Accounting, Political Science, Communications, etc., but we typically also draw a number of students from History, Philosophy, European Studies, and Anthropology. The majority of our students are undergraduates, but we have also on occasion had graduate students, alumni, and others. There are no prerequisites for Italian language, but we encourage students to consider a preparatory foundation in the language prior to departure.

Although we will do a fair amount of walking to monuments, art galleries and historic sites we are visiting, this program will not involve excessive physical activity. For sites that are distant we will usually take public transportation, including trains, vans and taxis.


15 Credits


ENGL 498 or C LIT 496 (5 credits)

This seminar will introduce students to concepts of gift and sacrifice, two foundational structures of exchange that have ruled economic, social, and religious life since the inception of culture. Both raise fundamental questions about the constitution of communities by means of the binding power of gratitude, or, more ominously, sacrificial scapegoats. As a contemporary critic wrote (Mark Osteen), the study of the gift touches on some of the most fundamental concerns that define our humanity: “freedom and autonomy, calculation and spontaneity, gratitude and generosity, risk and power.” The study of sacrifice in turn generates a series of provocative as well as unsettling questions: whether conceptions of the sacred are inextricably linked with violence, whether sacrificial rituals escalate rather than contain violence, whether recuperative economies that seek gain out of loss inevitably fuel sacrificial behavior, whether capital punishment is not in effect a contemporary version of ancient sacrificial rites, and whether communities can ever escape the predicament of uniting against a designated scapegoat and resorting to sacrificial ideologies.

These and related questions will form the subject of this course, which will introduce students to foundational texts in anthropology, psychoanalysis, and sociology (Marcel Mauss, The Gift; Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo; Rene Girard, Violence and the Sacred) and to the representation of gift and sacrifice in the Bible, folklore, film (The Merchant of Venice; Babette’s Feast; Breaking the Waves) and literature (Aeschylus, Agamemnon, William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice and Julius Caesar, Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, selected poems by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, and Lord Byron). The course will also deal with specifically Roman customs of gift and sacrifice and use the rich resources in Padova, Venice, Florence, and Rome to document the various representations, especially in Medieval and Renaissance Italian art, of three founding biblical stories of sacrifice: the sacrifice/murder of Abel by Cain, the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, and the sacrifice of Christ.

Learning Goals

The goal of the course is to make students aware of the complexity and importance of understanding the function, both positive and negative, of activities and societal norms based on gift and sacrifice. I tell the students that while all think that they know the meaning of gift and sacrifice, by the end of the course they will in fact not be able to define these terms so easily, if at all. They will become aware of the extraordinary variety of cultural practices of gift and sacrifice that cannot be encompassed in easy definitions. The course will also make them reflect on their own experience of when a gift misfires, for example, and why. It will shed light on the unappealing but nonetheless prevalent practice of constituting communities by means of an exclusion, the sacrificial victim. The assessment of students will take place through class discussion, oral group reports on assigned texts, written term papers, and exams.

ENGL 395 or C LIT 395 (5 credits)

This course will explore the relationship between various European writers and the country of Italy. Since at least the Renaissance, Italy has fascinated writers in numerous ways, from the setting for a number of Shakespeare's plays to the symbolic role it plays in more modern works, like those of Thomas Mann and Joseph Conrad. We will explore the role Italy plays in the works of authors from several other European countries, including plays by Shakespeare, poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley and Robert Browning, and fiction by Joseph Conrad and Thomas Mann.

Learning Goals

The goals of the course are to introduce students to a variety of literary voices that have been shaped by their imaginative engagement with Italy, including writers from different times and countries working in the three major genres: drama, poetry and fiction. Some of the questions we will attempt to answer include why and how Italian culture influences the art and what advantages it brings to the artistic objectives of the authors. Are the themes universal or specific to Italy? Can we imagine these works set elsewhere and what difference, if any, would it make? Ultimately, the goal is to develop students' critical reading and analytical abilities across the three genres. Work in the course will be evaluated from participation in class discussions and written assignments.

ENGL 295 (5 credits)

This course will focus on the analysis of the different forms of representation of human figures and their various narratives from Renaissance to Baroque. The class will explore the aesthetic implications as well as the ideological, religious, and cultural agendas related to the emergence of new visual compositions in which the organization of images – and, more specifically, the arrangement of human figures within art-related spaces – could be compared to a discursive, rhetorical practice known as “ut pictura poësis,” according to a theoretical paradigm that establishes a profound connection between images and words and asserts the idea that a painting, a sculpture, and even an architecture should be “read” as a particular visual text. From the analysis of fifteenth-century art theories published in Rome, Florence, and Milan, to the investigation of Leonardo’s, Michelangelo’s as well as Raphael’s depictions of the human body, the course will provide a close examination of some exemplary artworks produced in Italy between 1400 and 1600. Special attention will be dedicated also to the interpretation of images made in contrast with Renaissance canons by masters such as Caravaggio and Bernini. Furthermore, the course aims to examine, from a different perspective, the multiple ways in which patrons and collectors may have played a relevant role in the production of artworks in accordance with Renaissance, Mannerist, and Baroque stances. Accordingly, many of our meetings will take place outside the classroom, in galleries, museums, and art collections in order to give our students the opportunity to undertake a direct, personal experience of original artworks often displayed in their original locations. br />

Learning Goals

In this art history course, students will acquire an introductory background and critical tools to understand the production, reception and diffusion of art works in Italy from the Renaissance to Neoclassicism. Through formal analysis and close investigation, students will develop a historically based interpretation of artworks within their specific historical context. Rome, Florence and Milan will become our classroom as we explore the paintings, sculptures, churches and palaces commissioned by Italy's noble families. Specifically, we will investigate the motivation behind lavish spending: Why were certain expenditures made, and how were those who made them seen by the intended audience?
In this course, students will be graded in accordance with the following assignments and criteria: 1. Active class participation and critical engagement (50%) 2. Written research-based paper (at least 10 double-spaced pages) analyzing the historical significance of one work of art examined during the course (50%)

Program Directors & Staff

Raimonda Modiano, Department of English, Program Director 

Ricardo De Mambro Santos, Department of English, Program Co-Director

Norman Arkans, Department of English, Program Co-Director

Norm Arkans taught 19^th Century British literature at the State University of New York at Stony Brook before joining the University of Washington, where he had a long and varied administrative career, mostly in public relations, media relations and communications. At Stony Brook he taught courses in 19^th Century British literature, Victorian literature and Thomas Hardy. His scholarship focused on the poetry of Hardy. He graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a degree in English and earned his master’s and Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Washington. At the University of Washington, he worked in the Provost’s Office prior to becoming Assistant Dean of the Graduate School. In 1985, he moved to University Relations, where he was responsible for the University’s media relations program, serving in that capacity as the University’s spokesman. He was responsible for the strategic direction and management of the University’s relations with the media and coordinated the various media relations offices on the University’s three campuses. He also led the University’s crisis communications response team.

Program Expenses

Estimated program fee: $8,250

Included in the program fee
  • $450 Study Abroad Fee
  • Instruction
  • Housing
  • Program activities and program travel
Not included in the program fee
  • Airfare - average price subject to when and where you buy your ticket - $1,500
  • Food
  • UW Student Abroad Insurance ($62/month)
  • Other health expenses/immunizations
  • Personal spending money

Payment Schedule

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Payment Type Payment Amount Payment Due Date
TOTAL FEES CHARGED $8,250 April 13, 2018

Financial aid

  • A large percentage of UW students utilize financial aid to study abroad. Most types of financial aid can be applied to study abroad fees.
  • Students can also submit a revision request to increase the amount of aid for the quarter you are studying abroad. These additional funds are usually in the form of loans.
  • Consult the Financial Aid section of our website for more information on applying for additional financial aid, special considerations for Summer and Exploration Seminar program students, and budgeting and fundraising tips.


  • There are many scholarships designed to fund students studying abroad. The UW has some of our own, but there are also national awards available to you as well.
  • Scholarships vary widely in their parameters. Some are need-based, some are location-based and some are merit-based.
  • Consult our Scholarships page to learn about UW-based scholarships. The Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships, and Awards can help you learn about additional opportunities.
We understand that figuring out your finances for study abroad can be complicated and we are here to help. Please do not hesitate to contact your Program Manager listed above if you have any questions about the information on this page, or in the Finances section of our website.


To be eligible to study abroad, all program participants must attend an in-person pre-departure orientation facilitated by UW Study Abroad. You are also required to attend all program-specific orientations offered by your program directors.

You must register for orientation through your online study abroad account in order to attend a scheduled session. You can visit the orientation section of our website to view the current orientation schedule.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.

Application Process

The application includes:

  • four short answer questions
  • one faculty recommendation
  • electronic signature documents related to UW Study Abroad policies and expectations

Following the on-line application process students may be contacted by the Program Director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will receive an email from the UW Study Abroad application system.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad, including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. You can do so by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

For Non-U.S. Citizens

If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting: The procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $450 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable once you have submitted a contract. Students withdrawing from a program may be responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the business day UW Study Abroad receives your signed withdrawal form.

Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

  1. Provide notice of your withdrawal in writing to the Program Director
  2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to UW Study Abroad, 459 Schmitz Hall

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.