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Italian Studies

Contact: Claude Potts

Scope of Collection
The Library collects materials in all aspects of Italian history and literature, including literary criticism, philosophy, and critical theory. The Library maintains an exceptional collection in all divisions of Italian history and literature, from the medieval and renaissance periods to the present. For the 20th and 21st centuries, collecting focuses more heavily on new literature(s), literary and cultural theory, cinema, historiography, Italian colonial presence in Africa, national and regional identity politics, and comparative studies with other Romance traditions.

The Italian Collection primarily serves the Department of Italian Studies, the Institute of European Studies' Italian Studies Program, and the Medieval Studies Program. The Italian Collection also serves a broad range of interdisciplinary faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students from distinct departments such as Anthropology, Classics, Comparative Literature, Economics, English, Film & Media Studies, Gender & Women's Studies, Geography, History, Linguistics, Near Eastern Studies, Political Science, Rhetoric, Slavic Languages & Literatures, Sociology, Theater, Dance & Performance as well as academic programs in African Studies, East Asian Studies, International & Area Studies, Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Peace & Conflict Studies, Political Economy, Religious Studies, and Romance Languages and Literatures.

Besides established programs in Medieval Studies and Folklore, the Italian collection also supports new cross-disciplinary Designated Emphases PhD programs in Critical Theory, Film & Media Studies, Gender & Womenís Studies, and Renaissance & Early Modern Studies that attract the nationís foremost graduate students.

Collection Strengths
Historical strengths lie in the medieval, baroque, and early modern periods. For publications in the new millennium, holdings are mostly research-level but less comprehensive in certain areas due to declining budgets and deliberate cooperative collecting efforts with Stanford University Libraries. According to these agreements, Berkeley will take primary collection responsibility for regional histories for Lombardy, Piemonte, Val díAosta, Umbria, Rome and Papal States, and Sardegna. Berkeley endeavors to maintain its historical strengths in medieval and early modern history, literature, and philosophy while taking the lead on themes or periods such as 19th Italian history, especially the Risorgimento (1831-1870), cultural identity, and linkages between opera and politics/history.

Special Collections
The Bancroft Library houses more than 500 Italian manuscripts and books from 1450-1800. Of the 400 or so incunabula in the entire collection, a majority emanate from Italy. Many of the manuscripts have been partially digitized and can be viewed in the Digital Scriptorium. The Fontana and Trevesiani collection contain important literary and historical works (often translations of classics) from the Middle Ages, the Baroque, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment including the first book ever printed in Italic type, the 1501 Aldine edition of Virgilius, and Eusebius of Caesarea's De euangelica proeparatione (1470) Original works by innovators of the printed book like Aldus Manutius, Francesco Griffo, Vittorio Baldini, Giambattista Bodoni, and Alberto Tallone can be found in the Bancroft, a result of the Libraryís longstanding interests in documenting the history of books, printing, and typography.

Primary Languages and Formats
Digital and print for Italian, Latin, and regional languages and dialects.

Related Collections
Mainly Bancroft (for special collections), Art History/Classics, Graduate Theological Union, Media Resources Center, but also Anthropology, Environmental Design, Music, Pacific Film Archive, and the Robbins Collection (Law).

For information about research tools, library guides, and related pages, see Italian Studies.

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Last updated 08/29/13. Comments?