Italian Studies and Italian Theatre at UTM
Italian Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga
Italian Studies has been a part of UTM’s curriculum and identity since the campus (then Erindale College) first opened its doors in 1967. From its inception, Italian Studies has adopted informed classroom methods and ground-breaking research initiatives as the two core pillars of its teaching practices. It has supported university initiatives but has also fostered collaborations with other academic institutions and community partners. The story of Italian Studies at UTM illustrates these principles. It is a story of substantial growth, both in terms of student numbers as well as the breadth and depth of their education. Enrolment in Italian programs in recent years has risen, proportionally with campus-wide enrolment, to almost 500 students. Each year, Italian Studies attracts an increasing number of students from non-Italian backgrounds who, after their first course, continue to pursue Italian programs at all levels.
Without a doubt, Italian Studies owes this growth to the rising international visibility of Italian language and culture, as well as the strong reputation that it has developed as a discipline throughout North America. Our academic curriculum includes courses covering every major aspect of the Italian language (as well as recent research on teaching Italian as a second language), all major periods of Italian literature, and other significant expressions of Italian culture such as theatre, cinema, and contemporary civilization.
Over the years, Italian Studies has been engaged in many community initiatives designed to foster a better understanding and appreciation of Italian language and culture. Notably, UTM is the host site, in alternating years, for the Ontario Italian High School Contest. Italian Studies faculty regularly host film nights, concerts, and lecture series that are open to the general public. Most importantly, the strong support of our local and international partners makes it possible to provide our students with a range of innovative co-curricular opportunities such as Italian Theatre, Text and Performance; The Italian Internship; and several study abroad programs in Italy.
Italian Theatre at UTM
Professors Salvatore Bancheri and Guido Pugliese first introduced Italian theatre as an extracurricular activity at UTM with the formation of the theatre troupe Maschere Duemondi in 1986-87. The immense success and growing popularity of the “Italian Play” (as it is referred to among the community) led to this extracurricular activity being reimagined in 1992 as a full-year credit course, Italian Theatre, Text and Performance, in which students have the opportunity to critically analyze, rehearse, and perform a five-run theatre production of an Italian-language work. Listed among the 25 Best World Language courses by the AP World Languages Best Practices Study, Italian Theatre, Text and Performance is a pivotal cornerstone by which the Department of Language Studies at UTM continues to distinguish itself through the experiential methodology of its founding vision and, consequently, its course offerings. Since taking on the instruction and direction of the course in 2010, Professor Teresa Lobalsamo continues to maintain the mission of the theatrical workshop as a student-centered space for optimal language and culture acquisition.
There are three dimensions to Italian Theatre, Text and Performance: literary, linguistic, and performative. Plays are analyzed as literary and historical artifacts, operating according to the premise that the script is fully actualized only when performed before a live audience. Since plays communicate their message almost exclusively through dialogue, they are useful vehicles for generating communication among students.
For over thirty years, Maschere Duemondi has staged plays inspired by the works of Goldoni, Pirandello, the De Filippo brothers, Machiavelli, and others. This year, we are excited to
present a contemporary work from the author Marcello D’Orta and director Lina Wertmüller, Io speriamo che me la cavo (As for Me, Let’s Hope I Make It).
The collaboration between the community and Maschere Duemondi has produced, among many other benefits, the establishment of various scholarships. Many students involved in the play win the following scholarships year after year:
• The Alex and Angelina Prokich Italian Prize • The Delia Social and Cultural Centre Admissions Scholarship • The Italtheatre Scholarship • The Manuela Bastone Scholarship in Italian • The Mississauga Canadian Italian Association Scholarship • The Mississauga Canadian Italian Benevolent Association Forum Italia Scholarship • The Pugliese-Bancheri Scholarship • The Roberto Paul Dioné Memorial Scholarship • The Sharp Electronics of Canada Limited Scholarship
University of Toronto Mississauga Italian Students Association (UTM ISA)
UTM ISA looks to continually promote both Italian culture and personal growth in Italian communication for each member, as well as a lifelong love and knowledge of the culture and language of Italian in a caring, respectful, and supportive environment. We believe the Italian Students Association is more than just a club; with all our members, it is a way to enrich one's knowledge of Italian culture and the Italian language. Through workshops, seminars and other cultural events, UTM ISA creates a club where all feel welcome and comfortable to practice their Italian and learn more about Italy.
Language Studies Academic Society (L.S.A.S.)
LSAS is a student-run academic society that was formed in 2011 on behalf of the Department of Language Studies at UTM. Led by outstanding students, LSAS’s mandate is to enrich language learning at U of T Mississauga by providing students with an academic and social environment that fosters strong connections between the Department’s various programs. Through its activities, LSAS aims to:
* promote the curricular offerings of the Department of Language Studies;
* connect first-year students with their peers and faculty to enrich their academic experience;
* provide opportunities for students to experience the international community at the University of Toronto; and
* offer students opportunities to explore career options by nurturing university ties with the broader community.