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Contemporary Society and Politics in Rome

Instructor: Prof. Gregory Smith [see profile]
Disciplines: Sociology, Urban Studies

The course explores social and political issues concerning the city of Rome. It provides background on the role of the city in the unification of Italy, and then focuses chiefly on the period following the Second World War. Topics include the image of Rome in popular culture, the modern evolution of the city as a physical entity, the migration of southerners to the city, the dynamics of family, and the role of gender. Soccer is examined with particular reference to citizen participation. Local criminality is put in national context. Other topics include the church and the education system. Government and politics are given special attention. Final consideration is given to Rome as a European capital city. Throughout the course attention is paid to relevant administrative issues and social contexts, attempting to gain a vision of Rome seen in Italian and European perspectives. The course includes visits to a major public housing project and to an area noted for excellence in developing the extreme periphery.


  • a midterm
  • two field research papers (8-10 total pages)
  • a final exam