Courses Taught

Click here for a full list of courses taught.


Dr. Albaum has taught the full sequence of language courses, taking students from “Ciao” to advanced composition. Her language courses rely on extensive use of authentic materials and guided conversation exercises, and each lesson is aimed prepare students for everyday communication tasks such as introducing yourself and ordering a coffee to discussing the latest episode of a popular Italian TV show.

Learning a language requires not only learning a new vocabulary but also opening yourself up to a new culture and a new way of approaching and understanding the world. To learn Italian means also, on a basic level, to learn how to live Italian. This is why Dr. Albaum’s language courses are grounded in authentic popular materials: from day one, students will listen to Italian music, order from Italian menus, comment on Italian instagrams, enjoy Italian graphic novels, and much more.

* Click here for sample assignments and projects from Dr. Albaum’s language classroom.


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“Look at the cocaine, you‘ll see the powder,” writes investigative journalist Roberto Saviano. “Look through the cocaine, you‘ll see the world.” This course explores the world of drugs and organized crime through the lens of Italian literature and film. We will start from the Hollywood myth of the Italian gangster and examine a range of works including crime fiction, addiction diaries, narco-dramas, and investigative journalism. Drugs, far from a deviant phenomenon, are a driving force in the global economy, and offer a way of thinking about many of the dynamics that structure contemporary Italy, including migration, political corruption, inequality, waste, the global south, and ecological crisis. This course is taught in English.

This course (taught in Italian) offers a comprehensive review of Italian language through an engaging examination of a wide variety of contemporary issues and current events in Italian culture, including immigration, Slow Food, ecotourism, fake news, Italian television, and Italy’s role in the EU. Students will expand vocabulary and improve conversational skills through in-class discussion and small-group speaking exercises. Students will also craft short weekly response papers in order to polish and perfect their written Italian. This course is a prerequisite for other advanced courses in language, literature, and culture and society. 

Click here for the list of assignments.

Ti piace il cinema italiano? In this course (taught in Italian) we will build fluency in Italian while enjoying award-winning classic and contemporary Italian films. Students will get to know the genres and directors that have made Italian cinema famous across the world, from auteurs like Fellini and De Sica to more popular genres like the peplum and the spaghetti western. This seminar-style course also offers advanced students a fun and unique opportunity to develop their conversational Italian. Class discussions will explore a range of topics related to Italian current events, culture, and history, including the mafia, sexual politics, and the European migrant crisis.

Click here for the list of assignments.

This course explores the spooky world of the gothic imagination and the queer, perverse, monstrous, hybrid, unhuman, and posthuman creatures that inhabit it. We will interrogate the timeless appeal of scary stories, from gothic romance novels to modern horror films: why do we derive such pleasure from being scared? We will also devote particular attention to how gothic fiction responds to contemporary anxieties about animal cruelty, flesh consumption, queer sexualities, and the destruction of the natural world. This course is taught in English.

Course readings will include works by Tarchetti, Capuana, Landolfi, Ortese, and Capriolo. We will also watch a variety of films from the Italian gothic tradition.