ATS3939 - Crime in Italian popular culture - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Italian Studies

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Barbara Pezzotti


Dr Barbara Pezzotti

Unit guides



  • Summer semester A 2019 (On-campus block of classes)


Completion of second year-level Italian language units or equivalent knowledge.



From The Godfather to The Sopranos, American crime fiction has played a crucial role in shaping the collective imagination about Italy and Italians, contributing to the stereotype of Italy as the "country of corruption and crime". Italian writers have appropriated the crime fiction genre to tell their own stories. This unit focuses on the origins and development of Italian crime fiction, from the first serialised novels (gialli) published in the 1930s to cinematic masterpieces and internationally-acclaimed TV series.

Students of this unit will explore and analyse the way in which this genre has been shaped by successive generations of Italian writers and movie directors in order to confront issues of justice, politics, and national, regional and gender identities in an all-Italian context. This unit will offer a unique opportunity to investigate and understand crucial aspects of Italy's contemporary history, society and culture through crime fiction.


Upon successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. critically analyse a variety of sources (crime novels, films, TV series and programmes);
  2. apply a range of contemporary theories in crime fiction studies;
  3. interpret key elements of recent Italian society through crime fiction;
  4. research, develop and confidently communicate a critical argument.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study