All Roads Lead to Rome is a three credit, partially onsite, core course for students studying in Rome. The course is designed to satisfy the University of Notre Dame's literature, history, and fine arts requirements. It includes several opportunities for experiential/engaged learning in the city of Rome and is designated a Notre Dame Center for Social Concerns Community-Based Learning Course.
Few cities in the world can boast twenty-eight centuries of such a dense, glorious, turbulent history as Rome. At the center of western culture and civilization, Rome translated Greek science and philosophy for all the nations and people of the ancient world; from the Greek tradition, Rome inherited the models to give life to its own literature in Latin, as well as those for the fine arts; it created the system of laws that is still at the base of our concept of justice, and developed a political culture that put the law above everybody and everything; it absorbed the rigorous Judean spirituality transfusing it into the new Christian tradition/religion for the ecumenical masses. Rome created the concept of public works, preferring aqueducts, sewers and thermal baths to exaggerated, hyperbolic, self-referential monuments. Most of ancient Roman literature, painting, sculpture and architecture is lost, but enough remains to help us understand why we are what we are today; for example, why we have a sense of political ethics and of religious and political liberty.
Is it possible to understand this immense phenomenon in a semester of site visits, historical studies, literary readings, film viewings and lectures? Of course not. Nevertheless, students in this course start to understand Rome by experiencing the complexity of its urban network; by studying the ruins of antiquity and the splendors of Renaissance, Baroque and 18th century Rome; by tracing the epic adventure that reunited Italy and led to the establishment of Rome as its capital (so that today it is at the heart of two states: the Italian Republic and the Vatican); by revisiting the tragedies of modern times, including fascism and the civil war; and by learning about the Rome of postwar and contemporary Italy.
At the end of the course every student submits a research paper on a topic of his or her choosing. The following essays submitted during the spring 2017 semester were selected by the faculty to illustrate the range of interesting topics and the high quality of the scholarship of the papers that students write for the course.
Nick Courtney - Business major, Accounting minor - "The Hidden Population: A Firsthand Look at the Refugee Experience in Rome"
Katie Galioto - Political Science major, Journalism and Business Economics minor - "Power of Parole: The Influence of Fascism on the Italian Language"
Michael Junker - Mechanical Engineering major - "Bernini's Final Act of Gratitude: The Message of the Tomb of Pope Alexander VII"
Annamaria Roberto - Business major, Management and Italian minor - "Villa Torlonia throughout the Ages"
Tracey Schirra - Classics major, Philosophy and Theology minor - "A Walk with Purpose: The Guides of Medieval Rome"
Megan Sharp - Business major, Accounting minor - "Life as a Vestal Vergin: A Blessing or a Curse?"