for BCSP consortium members and associated universities
Fall semester 2012 - N° 10
Italian Literature and Cinema Courses
Interview with Professor Salvatore Botta
Fencing at UNIBO
Student Events & Excursions
Alumnae Notes

passportOn August 27, BCSP welcomed in Bologna 27 Fall semester students and 24 students for the academic year. Three Fall students, Cindy Columbus (Bryn Mawr), Adriana Golindano (UNC), and Mike Psitos (Northwestern) have decided to stay on for the full year. 32 students are expected for the Spring semester 2013, which will commence on Monday, January 14. BCSP offered courses in Advanced Italian Language, Italian History from 1848 - 1945 and Italian Cinema, taught by BCSP's Resident Director, Andrea Ricci. Special thanks to Brigida Gianzi (University of Bologna student of Foreign Languages and Literature: English and Spanish) for the photo above of Piazza XX Settembre in Bologna, an important intersection nearby the train station in the city center.


Meghan Wing is a BCSP Fall semester student and an Italian and Sociology double major at Cornell University. This semester at the University of Bologna she took Contemporary Italian Literature with Professor Marco Antonio Bazzocchi. Her favorite readings were "I sommersi e i salvati" by Primo Levi and "Teorema" by Pasolini because, as Meghan explained: "they showed personal reactions to challenges and changes in Italian society, such as superficiality and the loss of identity that came with the rise of the bourgeoisie.

It was interesting to read about the effects on Primo Levi's life after surviving the Holocaust. In "I sommersi e i salvati" he uses letters that people had written him in response to his first book, "Se questo è un uomo" and how his thoughts changed from that book to his second book. A writer described his survivor's guilt and how he thought someone else should be alive in place of him

Meghan was also in Director Ricci's film class and her favorite film was La Dolce Vita. Meghan commented: It's a famous, classic Italian film that I hadn't seen yet. In class it was very interesting to analyze the film and understand its value within in Italian culture, the rise of significance of celebrities and the emptiness of society.


Professor Salvatore Botta obtained two degrees from the University of Bologna in Law and Political Science. He later obtained a doctorate in Contemporary Political History through the University of Bologna’s School of Political Science, where he currently holds a research position. Prof. Botta teaches Contemporary History at the University of Bologna’s Political Science Department, at the University of Salento’s School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences and at the University of Valle d’Aosta’s School of Political Science and International Relations. Originally the coordinator of the editorial staff, he currently collaborates with the magazine Ricerche di Storia Politica. He contributes to the cultural pages of the Italian national newspaper Corriere Adriatico (Ancona).
Prof. Botta has been teaching at the BCSP office since 2009/2010, every spring semester. His course, Italian Political History (1943–2000), is particularly popular, with 21 students enrolled last Spring.

Q. What do you think is the most difficult part in teaching foreign students (coming from U.S. universities) your subject matter? A. The students encounter the most difficulty with the appropriate use of political terminology, which we use during class to analyze the post-war years in Italy.

Q. At the end of WWII the United States greatly influenced Italian political development. Do you find that students are already aware of this part of Italian history?

A. Many students come to my course already knowing that the model of American Democracy strongly influenced the post-war history of Western countries. However, they seldom have an idea as to how the United States specifically impacted the Republic of Italy.

Q. The political party system in the U.S. is very different from Italy's. After WWII, Italian politics radically changed. How do you explain and describe to the students a relatively new democratic system composed of many political parties?

A. Considering that for many years the Cold War affected the history of Italy's Republic, I always try to provide an interpretation of the crucial stages in Italian political development, without ignoring the main European and extra-European events during the second half of the 20th century.

Q. Could you describe the progress the students make throughout the course? What is your goal for them by the end of the course?

A. By the end of the course the students should be able to identify the main historical and political figures and events that marked Italian political history over the last 70 years. They should also be able to collocate these figures and events within the international context in which the Republic of Italy rose and developed.

Q. Could you comment on a particularly interesting class discussion?

A. The historical period which undoubtedly evokes the most interest in the students is the passage from the "First" to the so-called "Second" Republic. This is due in part to the rise of political figures that the students already know through the media. This passage brought about radical changes in the Italian political system, in its strategies and ways of communicating with the electorate.

Melissa Medina
University of Notre Dame


Melissa, an adamant fencer at Notre Dame (the ND fencing team won the NCAA Championships in 2011 and Melissa played part in that victory), practices with the University of Bologna's fencing club on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights from 7 - 10:30pm. Here is what Melissa has to say about fencing in Bologna so far:

"I have improved my skills with the help of an Italian coach, and I've met a lot of UniBo students, so I've leaved a lot of Italian at the same time. They've invited me to go out with them to dinners, concerts, making me feel more included in the group. It has been a wonderful experience!

The only difference between practice at home and here is that since it's a club they include university students, high school students and workers. It's a broad and diverse range of people, but the enthusiasm to learn fencing is the same for everyone
." BCSP is very happy that Melissa is able to continue cultivating her passion for fencing while studying abroad for the academic year.
View highlights of the student end-of-semester/holiday party held on Thursday, December 13. Photos by Brigida Gianzi.


Justin Sconza, brother of current BCSP student Rebecca Sconza (University of Illinois), attended the program 10 years ago and recently wrote us: "My year in Bologna was one of the best so far. I don't remember it like a chapter, connected to the other chapters in my life, but more like a novella written on the side, and though most of that novella is like a dream I wrote down afterward, the best parts have crossed over. I didn't choose to pursue a career in Italian, but it's still an integral part of who I am. The circle of friends I made in Bologna is scattered around the world now, but we're still very connected. When you share an experience with someone or with a group of people, unless one of them forgets, you form a bond that can't be broken. In Bologna I got to share an amazing journey with friends that I've kept ever since. It stays in your heart. Enjoy it!"

Mary Beth Pounders was only supposed to attend the summer session of the 1976 BCSP program, but ended up calling home (which back then meant going to Piazza VIII Agosto to the Telecom office, going into a booth and waiting for the operator to dial the number for her) to beg her folks to let her stay. Three months just hadn’t been sufficient for mastering the difficult language and she was not at all ready to go back home to Indiana! Mary Beth is still in Bologna after 36 years after having married a Bolognese and having brought up two very Bolognese boys, now ages 26 and 24.
Mary Beth is Secretary to the Managing Director of a local, Italian-owned chemical company, where she has been employed for almost 27 years. In May 2006 she attended the 40th anniversary celebration of the foundation of the Bologna Consortial Studies Program.
She would like to take the opportunity to remember her dear friend, Louisa Travanty, from Kenosha, Wisconsin, who shared that first incredible summer with her in the Indiana University - BCSP program. Louisa passed away in 2003 in Sonoma, California after a long and hard battle against pancreas cancer.

www.bcsp.unibo.it andrea.ricci18@unibo.it