Sunday, April 26, 2015

Quizzes for Week 15

Dear Readers of Rome,

Our last round of quizzes — due Tuesday, April 28, at 11:59 p.m. — are now up and running:
  • Quiz 1: Basic Roman Topography (17 pts., 90 seconds)
  • Quiz 25: Modern Rome (37 pts., 8 min.) 
Quiz 25, multiple choice, synthesizes material on modern Rome (the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries). Reviewing the timeline of modern Rome will very important, but other presentations and readings should not be neglected.

Quiz 1 brings us back to the start, now with a timer at 90 seconds. Can you do it?

Please remember that the due date is Tuesday, the last day of classes, not Wednesday.

Good luck!


Assigment for Monday, 04-27-15

Dear Readers of Rome,

For our last Reading Rome class on Monday, April 27, please do the following:

(1) Download, print, and read Alessandra Bava's poem, "In the Shadow of Giordano Bruno." In lieu of a factsheet about Alessandra, who is too modest for such things, I'll say a few words about her in class. For now, it's enough to note that she is a Roman passionate about Rome and that we'll spend some time with her during our residency in the city.

(2) (Re)download, (re)print, and (re)read "City Imaginaries" by Gary Bridge and Sophie Watson, the essay with which we began the semester. IMPORTANT: As you revisit this piece, write down one way in which you feel Rome has fit into the Bridge-Watson range of imaginaries in any of our four units. We will invite everyone to share their examples in class on Monday.

(3) If you haven't done so already, create a blog and share the URL with all three members of the instruction team. Guidelines for doing this have already been published previously.

(4) If you missed it in class, download the narrative timeline of modern Rome. As I noted yesterday, you should read it at least twice: once, just to get a sense of its scope; a second time, after a break but before before taking the quiz to be based on it (on which more in a follow-up post).

Finally, please bear in mind that Monday's class will be packed to the gills with both concluding  remarks about Reading Rome and reminders about Writing Rome. I urge you in the most violent and animated language possible to be on time.

We look forward to receiving your giornali by noon on Sunday.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Setting up Your Writing Rome Blogs

Dear Readers of Rome,

As mentioned in class today, between Friday and Monday please set up your Writing Rome blogs, which you will use to submit your writing assignments during the travel seminar.

Below I'll offer some guidance on setting up a blog, if blogging is new to you. But no matter what your level of experience, your blog should observe the following requirements:
  • It should be, at the very least, accessible to those with the URL (no passwords or special accounts required for access). We'll be posting the links to your blogs on a sidebar of the Writing Rome blog, so it's important that access be open.

  • If you already have a blog, make a new one just for Writing Rome -- a nod to our blogging as an educational endeavor.
  • Email all three members of the instruction team with the name and URL of your blog once you have it.
That's it. Watch for Friday's assignment, coming sometime tomorrow.


*                   *                   *                   *                   *

First of all, the term blog is an abbreviation of web-log, or a diary kept on the web. Now you know.

The three most common blogging services are Blogger (which hosts this blog), WordPress, or Tumblr. All are free, though you will need to register to use them; if you already have a Google account, then you can begin using Blogger. Generally speaking, neither one of these services is far superior to any other, though each has its advantages and disadvantages -- and its own loyalists and detractors.

All of them permit a high degree of personalization, but don't worry about perfecting the look and feel of your blog just yet. You can tinker with it after the semester is over and before the trip begins.  The important thing is to get your blog set up so we can create our blogroll (roster of blogs) in preparation for Writing Rome.

You will, however, have to name your blog. For all sorts of reasons, it's probably advisable not name it something like, "[Your name] Spanks Rome's Booty," not least because a future employer might find it. But do be appropriately creative. And no, "Roman Roaming" and its variations are NOT creative, in case you were wondering.

As noted, make sure that your blog is publicly viewable on the web. It's up to you whether you want comments to be enabled. We will not use them to offer feedback (we'll do that by sitting down and talking with you in Rome). If you do allow comments, take care to guard your privacy and to set some restrictions on who may comment, lest your posts get spammed.

If you need help setting up a blog, your instructors or your peers will be delighted to help you.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Assignment for Wednesday, 04-22-15

Dear Roman Readers,

On Wednesday, April 20, we move into the 1980s with two Roman essays from esteemed travel writer, Paul Hofmann. Please do the following:

(1) Read Hofmann's 2008 obituary in the New York Times, which will also serve as a factsheet.

(2) Download, print, and read the two essays from Hofmann's 1983 memoir, Rome: The Sweet, Tempestuous Life: "Coffee and Ice Cream" and "Time in an Eternal City." Not only will you enjoy these, but they'll offer you something aspirational for your own writing in May and June.


Quizzes for Week 14

Dear Readers of Rome,

Our quizzes for next week are now up and running. Due Wednesday, April 22, at 11:59 p.m., they are:
  • Quiz 19: Basic Roman Basilica (11 pts., 3 min.)
  • Quiz 23: Grand Tourism (15 pts., 4 min.) 
  • Quiz 24: Women in Rome (10 pts., untimed.)
Quiz 23, multiple choice, synthesizes material on the Grand Tour, Nightingale, Petigru Carson, and Piranesi.

Quiz 24, a short-answer quiz, asks you to select and discuss two paragraphs from the Roman letters of Nightingale and Petigru Carson.

Good luck!


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Assignment for Monday, 04-20-15

Dear Readers of Rome,

For Monday, April 20, please do the following:

(1) Read the last section of the Historical Sketch in the Blue Guide, "Rome, the Secular Capital" (pp. 29–30).

(2) Download, print, and read the excerpts from Borden Painter's excellent book, Mussolini's Rome: Rebuilding the Eternal City (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2005).

(3) Download, print, and read Alexander Stille's essay, "The Double-Bind of Italian Jews."

All of our readings will speak to both the continuing transformation of Rome into a modern capital, and the costs that come with that transformation.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Assignment for Friday, 04-17-15

(NOTE: This assigment is missing one of the readings, which will be available tomorrow. You can expect to see this post again in completed form.)

Dear Roman Readers,

As noted, Friday's class was to have been a Skype conversation with previous Romekids about travel in Rome and Italy; but it's been posponed until next Friday, April 24.

For April 17, please do the following:

(1) Read the following sections of the Blue Guide:
  • "Revolution" in the Historical Sketch (pp. 27–9); and
  • "History of the Vatican City" (p. 472).

(2) Download, print, and read the factsheet on the Great Synagogue of Rome, which includes a description of synagogue rituals.

(3) Download, print, and read the annotated timeline, From Napoleon to Mussolini, which will take us from the 18th to the 20th centuries. (Coming soon!)

(4) Download, print, and read the packet on Albany, the Empire State, and the Nelson E. Rockefeller Plaza in preparation for our trip on Saturday.

As noted, the reading for item 3 will be available tomorrow, along with a new version of this post.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Assignment for Wednesday, 04-15-15

Dear Roman Readers,

The assignment for Wednesday, May 15, is not large, but it is multifacted. Use this post to help you keep track. Please do the following:

(1) Download, print, and read the factsheet on Piranesi, the premier 18th-century illustrator of Rome and its ruins;

(2) View the Piranesi prints of Rome through the special View-o-matic program I've written for you (instructions below);

(3) Download, print, and read the factsheet on Florence Nightingale, British nurse extraordinaire and (before that) intrepid Roman traveler;

(4) Download, print, and read Nightingale's letters from Rome, which detail her adventures in the city during her Grand Tour;

(5) Download, print, and read the factsheet on Caroline Petrigru Carson, South Carolina socialite turned expatriate artist in Rome; BONUS: her obituary in the New York Times on p. 2;

(6) Download, print, and read Petrigru Carson's letters in Rome, which span the time of her first arrival until her death; and

(7) View Petrigru Carson's paintings of Italy, which are as valuable to understanding her time in Italy as her letters.

*                    *                    *                    *                   *

Sure, seven items — but manageable ones. The factsheets won't take you long; and the two collections of letters are together about as long as many of the readings we've given. As for the images, Carson's paintings are assigned to give you a sense of her as an artist; Piranesi's will require a little more time to get through, but they are exquisite and ought to fuel your imagining of they were meant to do.

Regarding the View-o-matic: When you access the first page, you'll have the choice of (a) downloading the images, (b) viewing them at random or (c) viewing them in sequence. Choose only (a) or (c) at this point; (b) will be for testing your recall later on.

If you choose option (a), you can download the images as one big .ZIP file and (once unzipped) view them in your favorite image viewer.

If you choose option (c), you'll stay within the View-o-matic program. Click the arrows at left and right to scroll through the images, which will be clearly labeled. Click on an image to enlarge it and savor it in a higher resolution.

We'll look forward to our last student-led discussion of Nightingale and Petigru Carson with Team F.

Go in peace, children, and beware of Roman procuresses!


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Quizzes for Week 13

Dear Readers of Rome,

Our quizzes for next week are now up and running. Due Wednesday, April 15, at 11:59 p.m., they are:
  • Quiz 1: Basic Roman Topography (17 pts., timer now at 100 seconds!)
  • Quiz 21: Medieval and Renaissance Rome (34 pts., 7 min.) 
  • Quiz 22: Masterpieces (10 pts., untimed.)
Quiz 21 synthesizes much of the material from the past two weeks. Careful review, especially of the various timelines and factsheets, will be key. PRO TIP: Use this blog to backtrack through the assignments and the readings.

Quiz 22, a short-answer quiz, asks you to select and compare two works from our trio of Renaissance Roman artists.

Good luck!


Friday, April 10, 2015

Assignment for Monday, 04-13-15

Dear Readers of Rome,

As we embark upon our last full unit, Modern Rome, please do the following for Monday, April 13:

(1) Read the following sections in the Historical Sketch of the Blue Guide:
  • "Years of Decline" (pp. 26–7); and
  • "Napoleon in Rome" (p. 27).
(2) Download, print, and read the excerpts from Jeremy Black's book, Italy and the Grand Tour (Yale 2003).

(3) Download, print, and read the factsheet on Edith Wharton.

(4) Download, print, and read Wharton's short story, "Roman Fever."

*                    *                    *                    *                    *

Our concern on Monday will be making sense of tourism in Italy, which although not exclusive to modernity, is nonetheless a fixture of it. Who participated in the Grand Tour and why? Were the experiences of men different from those of women? How do their experiences and expectations differ from those of modern tourists? How are they the same?

We'll look forward to your outlines on Sunday, noon.


PS: The PDFs for Monday will look quite long in terms of page length, but I assure you, this is because they are generously spaced.