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  • Term Mode
  • Professional Term 7Campus attendance (Rome)



Unit rationale, description and aim

For most visitors, the draw of Rome is its pasts, not its present. This unit introduces students to Rome as a dynamic and complex modern metropolis, ‘both more and something other than what is conveyed by its global tourist image’ (Marinaro and Thomassen, 2014: 2). Since becoming capital of the new Italian state in 1870, Rome has grown enormously, with much of its expansion unplanned and unauthorised. Consequently, the city now sprawls far beyond the old central neighbourhoods familiar to tourists. The composition and character of Roman society has also changed substantially since the late nineteenth century, first through migration from elsewhere in Italy, more recently with the arrival of overseas immigrants. In turn, recent immigration points to wider processes of globalisation at work in the ‘eternal city’, which have impacted on Roman - and wider Italian - culture, economy, and politics.

This unit may be taught from different disciplinary perspectives, with different content as appropriate. In all cases, visits and field work will be integral to the student learning experience.

The unit aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills to understand, analyse, and engage with key themes, issues and debates relating to modern Rome.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Identify and discuss key themes, issues and debates relating to modern RomeGC1, GC9
LO2Clearly communicate ideas, information and concepts to a specified audience using audio, digital, oral, visual or written forms of presentation as appropriate or directed.GC10, GC11, GC12
LO3Analyse and evaluate key themes, issues and debates relating to modern Rome, making connections (where appropriate or required) to the wider national and/or international contexts.GC1, GC3, GC7, GC8
LO4Reflect on knowledge acquired and developed during the unit.GC3, GC7


Content may vary from year to year. Themes, issues and debates examined in relation to Rome may include but are not limited to:

  •  Migration, immigration and race
  • Post-colonialism and colonial legacies
  • Environmental degradation
  • Economic decline
  • Popular culture, subcultures and counterculture
  • Youth marginalisation
  • Politics, protest and populism
  • Civil Society
  • Demographic change
  • Suburbs and peripheries
  • History, heritage, memory and identity
  • Organised crime

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This 10-credit point unit is taught via attendance in intensive mode at ACU’s Rome Campus. Students will also attend an online preparatory workshop prior to the commencement of the unit.

The preparatory workshop provides students with basic information about the unit, as well as guidance around expectations and advice on the key issues, themes and debates to be explored. In this way, the workshop establishes a framework appropriate for independent learning. The in-country intensive unit uses a range of strategies to facilitate active learning, learner-centred learning, experiential and reflective learning, and transformative learning. For example, students may engage in hands-on field-based activities (either individually or with others), they may meet with relevant individuals, local community groups or organisations to discuss themes, issues and debates relating to the unit, and they will be asked to reflect on those experiences in end-of-day debriefs and in regularly maintained online learning logs. This combination of learning and teaching strategies is designed to encourage students to see themselves as active participants in their own learning, challenge habits of mind, promote deep learning, and develop intercultural competence.

The unit has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements.

Assessment Task one (knowledge task) is designed to enable students to demonstrate achievement of Learning Outcomes 1 and 3. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of the themes, issues and debates addressed in the unit by means of a presentation. The presentation may take a variety of forms (e.g. video, audio, poster, online, face-to-face). Feedback on the task will help students to identify and rectify gaps in existing knowledge.

Assessment Task two (research project) is summative and assesses student achievement of Learning Outcomes 1-4. This task allows students to demonstrate the skills and understanding they have acquired and/or developed during the unit through the construction of an appropriately referenced and sourced, evidence-based narrative or argument. The task also allows students to demonstrate their ability to communicate their ideas and arguments clearly in a form determined by or agreed with the Lecturer in Charge.

Assessment Task three (reflective task) gives students the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of Learning Outcome 5. For the task, students will maintain a critically reflective online learning log. The learning log is a progressive piece of work that reflects the student’s developing knowledge and understanding of the issues, themes and debates explored in the unit. The learning log will incorporate both personal and professional reflection, giving students the opportunity to (re)consider their own frames of reference, that is their opinions, values and assumptions. This will help develop to students’ intercultural competence.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Knowledge Task

Students are required to demonstrate their knowledge of the themes, issues and debates addressed in the unit by means of a presentation.


LO1, LO3

Assessment Task 2: Research Task

This task requires students to demonstrate their understanding of key themes, issues, and debates relating to modern Rome.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 3: Reflective Task

This task requires students to reflect on knowledge acquired and developed during the unit.



Representative texts and references

AA.VV. (2022). The Passenger: Rome. New York, NY: Europa Editions.

Blokker, P., and Anselmi, M., eds. (2020). Multiple Populisms: Italy as Democracy’s Mirror. Abingdon and New York, NY: Routledge

Bosworth, R. J. B. (2011). Whispering City: Rome and its Histories. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Castelli Gattinara, P. (2016). The Politics of Migration in Italy: Perspectives on Local Debates and Party Competition. Abingdon and New York, NY: Routledge.

Herzfeld, M. (2009). Evicted from Eternity: The Restructuring of Modern Rome. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Insolera, I. (2018). Modern Rome: From Napoleon to the Twenty-First Century. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Lombardi-Diop, C., and Romeo, C., eds. (2012). Postcolonial Italy: Challenging National Homogeneity. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.

Mammone, A., Parini, E. G., Veltri, G. A., eds. (2018). The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Italy: History, Politics, Society. Abingdon and New York, NY: Routledge.

Marinaro, I. C., and Thomassen, B. (2014). Global Rome: Changing Faces of the Eternal City. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Merrill, H. (2018). Black Spaces: African Diaspora in Italy. Abingdon and New York, NY: Routledge.

Newell, J. (2020). Italy’s Contemporary Politics. Abingdon and New York, NY: Routledge.

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