Advanced Contemporary History – Mod. B – 2023-2024

Teacher: Prof. Salvatore Romeo
CFU: 6
Course code:
Degree: Master’s Degree “Scienze della Storia e del documento”
Course delivery modalities: In-presence
Language: Italian
Pre-requisites: Basic examination of contemporary history at the first degree. Students who do not have this requirement must agree on a specific program with the teacher, and can still follow the lessons
Attendance: Optional
Assessment method: Oral exam
Period: 1st  term
The Material Heritage of Industrialization
Industrialization is one of the defining characteristics of the contemporary age. Since the late 18th century, it has reshaped the social morphology and territorial structures of an increasing number of contexts. Starting in the 1960s, the industrialist paradigm began to be questioned. In the West, in particular, it started to be seen as a cumbersome past. This trend intensified with the deindustrialization processes that, from the late 1970s, have once again redrawn the economic geography of the world, igniting dramatic conflicts around the memory of industrialization and its material legacies. Adopting a plural methodological approach which centers around environmental history and incorporates analytical trajectories from urban history, social history, cultural history, and economic history the module will be structured in four parts. The initial lessons will provide an overall framework of the technological transformations introduced by the industrial revolutions, highlighting their consequences on both production and consumption methods and on forms of human and non-human life. The focus will then shift to the formation of industrial environments capable of deeply altering territorial arrangements, with some of the most significant cases being highlighted, particularly the Italian experience. Thirdly, the emergence of a new anti-industrial sensitivity will be addressed, focusing on some of the issues it raised (especially those related to the environment) and on the most relevant experiences of that era. Finally, the scenarios opened up by deindustrialization in terms of dealing with the legacy of the previous phase will be discussed.
Text books:
J. R. McNeill, Qualcosa di nuovo sotto il sole, Torino, Einaudi, 2020.
Essays and documents made accessible by the teacher.
Educational goals and expected learning outcomes:
A) Learning outcomes: Make sure that the student master the main historiographic questions and interpretations concerning the topics of the program; moreover, that he knows how to use and work critically around the historical sources, in view also of the elaboration of the degree thesis. The student must know how to apply the skills gained in the study of other themes and historical periods. He will also have to achieve a critical spirit of judgment and be able to clearly present what has been learned.
B) Knowledge and understanding: within the framework of a solid knowledge of contemporary history, the student will acquire particular skills on the topics dealt with. Through the study of relevant texts of historiography and direct historical sources, the student will develop scientific knowledge of a specialized level.
C) Applying knowledge and understanding: thanks to the methodological preparation achieved, the student will be able to investigate other aspects and problems related to the topics dealt with. He can use the skills acquired also in the study of other historical subjects.
D) Making judgements: students will be able to collect and interpret data useful for the comprehension and analysis of historical documents and historiographic texts, to comment critically in autonomy the contents and for reflection on social, scientific, or ethical issues related to them, having acquired the ability to formulate independent judgments.
E) Communication skills: students will be able to communicate correctly, rigorously and effectively information, ideas, problems and solutions regarding the main issues addressed, both to specialist interlocutors of the discipline and to non-specialists. For this purpose we will try to direct the student to structure and refine their communication skills, including through discussion and debate in the classroom, the assignment of seminar tasks.
F) Learning skills: the module should provide a significant contribution to the development process by the student of the cognitive and theoretical-critical skills necessary for an independent and specialized study of the historical disciplines. This includes the ability to formulate original research hypotheses and to know how to properly develop them.
Methods and criteria for verifying the learning:
Assessment consists of an oral exam. Attending students may, at their discretion, take half or two-thirds of the exam by preparing and discussing agreed-upon insights in class.
Teaching methods:
Throughout the lessons, various topics are addressed through lectures, analysis of sources, and historiographical literature, both Italian and international, with active involvement of the students. Starting from materials provided by the teacher, attending students can develop further insights and present them in class according to a format that will be explained during the course and aimed at learning techniques for elaborating, writing, and presenting seminar-style short texts.
Attendance modalities:
The course is divided into 18 lessons of 2 hours, for a total of 36 hours. Additional hours will be possible to complete the program. Attending students will have to participate in the frontal explanation parts, use the teaching materials provided by the teacher and animate the debate in the classroom.