HIS2113 : Italian Unification: Nation, Religions, Revolution, 1796-1871

  • Offered for Year: 2012/13
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Federico Casari
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The aim of the module is to study the experience and the impact of revolutionary and counter-revolutionary change in XIX century Italy. It starts with the disruptions caused by the French Revolution and the Napoleonic reforms, and ends with the formation of the Italian state.
The lectures will introduce the events, personalities and symbols of the struggle for unification; they will focus on the unification and its aftermath: the southern question, the relationship between State and Church, banditry, emigration and the resistance to the new state; and they will examine the representations of the Risorgimento: the heroic narratives and cults of personality, the birth of a civil religion, and its impact on the celebration of the nation in the liberal age.

The aims of the module are:
•To acquire a sound general knowledge of events, causes and consequences of the Italian Risorgimento.
•To develop understanding of the links between political, cultural and social issues in the history of the Italian unification.
•To become familiar with contemporary debates and recent historiography.
•To develop the capacity for independent study.

Outline Of Syllabus

Outline syllabus, intended as a guide only; week-by-week topics may be slightly different to the following.
1. Introduction: the historical roots of united Italy
2. The legacy of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era
3. Italy in the ‘second restoration’
4. Before and after 1848: a geography of revolt
5. Italian nationalism and the Risorgimento (Mazzini, Cattaneo, Pisacane)
6. Cavour and the wars of national unification
7. Garibaldi and the Sicilian expedition
8. Rome capital: the new Italian state and the church
9. Contesting the nation: banditry and emigration
10. ‘Making Italians’: nation building after unification
11. Conclusion and essay revision

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion661:0066:0040% of guided independent study
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading661:0066:0040% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching41:004:00Tutorials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching102:0020:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study321:0032:0020% of guided independent study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures impart core knowledge and an outline of knowledge that students are expected to acquire. They also stimulate development of listening and note-taking skills.
Seminars provide students with an opportunity to participate in discussion and thus to improve their oral communication skills.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1351A60unseen
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M402000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes and develops key skills in research, reading and writing. Work submitted during the delivery of the module forms a means of determining student progress. The exam tests acquisition of a clear general knowledge of the subject plus the ability to think and analyse a problem quickly, to select from and to apply both the general knowledge and detailed knowledge of aspects of the subject to new questions, problem-solving skills, adaptability, the ability to work unaided, and to write clearly and concisely.

ERASMUS students at Newcastle One 2,000 word essay to be handed in by 12.00 p.m. of the Friday of the first week of the assessment period. This will replace all work required of domestic students. It remains the case that, if an ERASMUS student specifically requests that s/he be permitted to do the same assessments as the domestic students, that option remains open to them. No variation of the deadlines will be allowed except on production of medical or equivalent evidence

Reading Lists


Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.