Contemporary History (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Federico Melotto
Federico Melotto
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 2B dal Apr 8, 2019 al Jun 1, 2019.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

Acquisire gli strumenti culturali indispensabili per razionalizzare il senso del tempo e dello spazio, al fine di esaminare criticamente le interrelazioni storiche. Conoscere e saper accostare con maggiore consapevolezza alcune tra le maggiori problematiche della contemporaneità. Sapere operare nel proprio spazio/tempo con maggiore consapevolezza e competenza, sapendo contestualizzare correttamente gli odierni problemi sociali, politici e culturali. Incrementare la capacità degli studenti di collocare le problematiche educative odierne all’interno di un più ampio quadro storico-sociale e culturale. Mostrare di sapere elaborare con sufficiente autonomia riflessioni critiche sui principali nodi tematici dell’epoca contemporanea e di saperle comunicare con una certa chiarezza.


The course aims to outline a general overview of the main events of the political and social history of the 20th and 21st centuries, so that students can be provided with the cultural instruments necessary to properly understand the thematic issues of the Italian and world contemporary age.
In particular, the following topics will be covered:

1) The Belle Epoque and the origins of contemporary Europe.
2) The origins of contemporary Italy: the Giolittian era and its contradictions, seized and failed opportunities.
3) The Apocalypse of industrial and war modernity: questions and issues related to the First World War.
4) An impossible transition: political violence, apocalypse of democracy and fascism.
5) The age of totalitarianisms (with a particular attention to educational policies).
6) The world after the catastrophe. The hard journey towards rebirth (1945-1950).
7) The golden age in the Western world, the “birth” of the Third World (1945-1975) and the great transformations from the sixties onwards.
8) To observe and figure out the world we live in: the seventies, eighties and nineties.
9) The contemporary world problems: the globalization as a failed opportunity, the new migrations, the return of nationalisms, the rise of populisms and the crisis of democracy.

Being the course an introductory one, attended by a large number of students, the lessons will be mostly one-sided, that is the teacher will lecture on the topics most of the time, without debates or discussions. Nevertheless, there will also be thematic insights into some particular types of documents (specific and significant archive papers, historical documentaries, songs etc.). At the end of the course, some educational trips will be organized to the places where historians carry out their own researches. In particular, the following places will be visited: the State Archive of Verona, the Municipal Library of Verona, the Capitular Library of Verona.

These visits have two main objectives:

1) to allow students to understand the process through which the historiographical “tale” is being created, which is always connected to the study and analysis of archive papers and the bibliographic research;
2) to allow students to better figure out the complex process for elaborating any scientific study and, therefore, to become more aware, in view of the thesis drafting, of the importance of the sources research.

Each group of students taking part in the visit cannot be formed by more than twenty people. Each group will be accompanied by the teacher and will make use of a guide within the visited place. The visits will be organized at the end of the course.

A) Reference texts (for attending and not attending students):
G. Sabbatucci, V. Vidotto, Storia Contemporanea. L'Ottocento, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2008 (ONLY chapters "L'Europa tra i due secoli", and "L'Italia giolittiana").

One of the following texts to be selected:
G. Sabbatucci, V. Vidotto, Storia Contemporanea. L'Ottocento, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2007;
A. M. Banti, L'età contemporanea. Dalla Grande Guerra a oggi. Laterza, Roma-Bari 2009.

B) One of the following books to be selected:
1) M. Colucci, M. Sanfilippo, Le migrazioni. Un'introduzione storica, Carocci, Roma 2015;
2) M. Campanini, Storia del Medio Oriente contemporaneo, il Mulino, Bologna 2017;
3) D. Tosini, Terrorismo e antiterrorismo nel XXI secolo, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2007;
4) A. Molinari, Una patria per le donne. La mobilitazione femminile nella Grande Guerra, il Mulino, Bologna 2014.

C) Gli studenti che necessitano di 9 crediti formativi ai testi già indicati devono aggiungere:
F. Barbagallo, L'Italia repubblicana. Dallo sviluppo alle riforme mancate (1945-2008), Carocci, Roma 2012.

Assessment methods and criteria

The final examination is written.
Objectives: to test the proper knowledge of Contemporary History and the ability to argue a critical reasoning about the main thematic issues.
Contents: the open questions regard the whole chronological period covered during the course (the twentieth century and the early years of the twenty-first century).
Mode: the exam is made of four open-and-limited-space-answer questions (15/20 lines). The first three questions are meant to test the knowledge of the general and handbook part, whereas the fourth question regards the specific book chosen by each student according to their own interests.
Marks: each question is given a mark, 7 points for the three questions regarding the Contemporary History handbook, 9 points for the question regarding the further specific book. The arithmetic sum of the marks for each question determines the final result.

The non-attending students are not going to sit a different examination.