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Mafia: a regional, national or global issue?

Italian Studies Courses in Italy - Study in Italy

The image of the Mafia that first arises is generally the one portrayed by Hollywood films, like The Godfather, Good Fellas, or more recently The Sopranos, where Italian American gangsters form family based secret criminal organizations engaged in illegal activities such as drug-dealing, prostitution and protection. However, the wise guys that become rich, feared and respected in the neighborhood by operating in an open war against the legal institutions are a romantic and misleading version of a phenomenon more widespread, more ingrained and more destructive.

Unfortunately, the gangster is just the tip of the iceberg, the visible level of an underworld structure that has different masks, that is covered by shadows and silence and so, most of the time, unrecognizable.


Course code

POL 401/ HI 411 Mafia: a Regional, National or Global issue? (taught in English)
POL 402/ HI 412 Mafia: una questione regionale, nazionale o globale? (taught in Italian)

Course offered

Summer Term Study in Sicily, Italy Programs
Semester Study Abroad in Sicily, Italy

January Term Program

Students can enroll in this course or combine this course with a language or other culture courses in a longer study program

Course Description:

An Interdisciplinary perspective examines the multi-faceted system of organized crime in Southern Italy, in particular Sicily, through an interdisciplinary approach beginning with the historical background and then focusing on the economic, sociological, and political global impact. Unlike the "glorified " version of The Godfather, Good Fellas and the Sopranos, this course examines its legendary origins paired with its historical past and current reality. Although the course focuses on the Sicilian Mafia, students will also examine the Calabrian Ndrangheta and the Neapolitan Camorra. Students will study diverse historical documents/interviews, and attend on-site lectures.  A service learning component with a non-profit Anti-Mafia organization is included.

More about Sicily

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Syllabi for programs are available for faculty members to review prior to approval of academic credits for study abroad in Sicily courses.
Students may directly transfer credits into their home university or earn US university credits through Auburn University.



For more specific details on study abroad programs, please contact:

Donnamarie Kelly Pignone

Kelly Pignone

U.S. Academic Advisor

tel/fax: (+1) 603-894-5552
Cell (+1) 978-828-3228


Italian Studies Courses

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