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Great circmspection is required on this subject, which I have been teaching at Boston University for eight years now. Rather than describe my course, which in its basic outlines reproduces, I'm sure, that of many colleagues, here are some observations on the practicalities: (1) In most universities, and certainly in American universities, the subject will appeal largely to students of Italian descent and to foreign (Italian) students. I think we should all recognize that the overwhelming majority of these, whether undergraduates or, alas, graduates, will be flourishingly and happily ignorant of any context for studying Italian history, whether political, geographical or economic -- on a blank map of the world, several students placed France off the mainland of China, and Boston University is not exactly a second-rate institution. From this it follows that any course in Italian History should make absolutely sure of the basic co-ordinates of wheres and whens. Becker's European History is currently used by at least one professor to teach Juniors and Seniors; in 1940, in a public school in California, it was the eighth grade text. So we have dumbed down by seven years, no mean feat. (2) What is "modern" history? A tendentious subject. At Oxford, when I was younger, outside examiners had to be brought in for any subject newer than a hundred years ago. This is no longer the case, though I would argue vigorously that taking such a course beyond the 1948 elections is folly. There is no such thing as "contemporary" history. That is the province of journalists. And when Ginzborg's book (excellent in many ways) is mentioned, I remind the profession that his work is powerfully biased: as would be any "contemporary" political study. I stop at 1948: despite keen student interest in being up-to-date. Historians should not, ever, seek to be fashionable. (3) The available texts in English are for the most part quite satisfactory, but all have defects. I use Duggan because it is concise and fair; AND because it is sketchy, which is about all students can absorb. I used DiScala's excellent text for two years, but no student ever really read it through, much less used the bibliography. On special subjects, D. Mack Smith is an useful adjunct, despite the British "liberal" slant which makes him such a hero in Italy. My answer is to have written my own text, which is not "event" history but interpretative. For the facts, I tell my students, use Duggan. (4) What one does about pre-unification Italy is a far more serious problem, and has not been addressed by any of the correspondents I have so far read. I have written a sort of basic synopsis (ca. 20,000 words) which I hand out to students and tell them they are responsible for. It is one way to ensure they know about the exarchate and Arabs and Greeks and petty principalities and Spaniards e tutti quanti. (5) One way to ensure at least SOME historical method is to enforce the rule that no final paper is acceptable that does not make use of some primary sources. Oddly enough, students can understand this, and sometimes even swot up a little Italian to deal with their subjects -- which I assign, in the belief that by so doing, thirty to forty different topics will have been studied with a little more depth. (6) I strongly suggest to anyone teaching such a course that about one-quarter of each class be left open for questions: that is when one can fill in the enormous voids. No professor on this forum will be, I am quite certain, unaware of the fact that students don't know why "left and right" are used in parliament, what proportional representation is, what the powers of a prime minister are, which are the prerogatives of a monarch, etc. There is no question so dumb that a good teacher cannot make a mini-lecture out of it. (7) The rudiments of modern Italy are (and I duplicate some responses): the Enlightenment, the Napoleonic period, the Restoration, liberal Italy, the Great War, Fascism, the "Civil War" post World War II, e basta. Special subjects that cannot and must not be avoided are: Church-State relations, the role of the Monarchy, the North-South divide, Colonialism, Socialism (and the broad left) and Fascism: to be taken seriously, and not just as an epithet. On all these "special" subjects, American students are likely to be very poorly informed generally, much less in regard to Italian variants. Keith Botsford Boston University