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IP317-15 Venice: Resistance and Representation

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Level 3
Module leader
Bryan Brazeau
Credit value
Module duration
3 weeks
75% coursework, 25% exam
Study location
Venice (Warwick in Venice Site / Ca' Foscari)
Introductory description

This is an optional module for the BA Liberal Arts, and for the GSD BASc Global Sustainable Development degrees; it will be available to undergraduates across the University, but students from SCFS will have priority. As part of Warwick WIISP it will be taught intensively onsite in Venice.

Module aims

This module uses an interdisciplinary lens to examine Venice as a site of cultural, ecological, intellectual, social, and political resistance while also interrogating the representational strategies and legacies of such defiance. Using a combination of hands-on problem-based learning activities, site visits, and co-creative pedagogies, the module will explore how Venice demonstrates a long legacy of resistance and complex representational regimes that continue to this day and can practically inform resistance movements in the future.

We will explore questions such as: How is resistance articulated in the Venetian context? What role do space and lagunar topography in Venice play in fostering the city's legacy of intellectual independence and cultural resistance? How have such movements been represented either by their participants or detractors, and how do such depictions foster or dampen enthusiasm for such causes? In what ways can the city's rich legacy of resistance movements be relevant to the current problems Venice faces today such as depopulation, mass tourism, and climate change?

Using Venice as a case study will allow us to consider how the floating city can serve as a living repository of ongoing resistance. In examining these problems through an interdisciplinary lens, students will also be encouraged to think about contemporary practical applications of the city's complex legacies of defiance, such as social movements, cultural independence, and championing of intellectual enquiry and artistic expression to resist autocracy, fascism, and expansionist imperialism (whether of a political, social, cultural, or economic nature).

Depending on student interests, the module may explore case studies including...

  • Venice's ongoing resistance to mass tourism via grassroots social movements and local NGOs;

  • Venetian resistance to the Napoleonic and Austrian occupations in the early nineteenth century;

  • Representative strategies used to frame Venice's resistance to ecological forces, such as climate change;

  • Venetian resistance movements during the Fascist period (1922-1945);

  • Labour movements in the Arsenale and the Chemical industry in Porto Marghera in the 1960s and 1970s;

  • The rich history of Venetian Feminism from the early modern period to present day, including discussions of the first feminist manifesto by Lucrezia Marinella, the founding of the first Italian feminist journal in the nineteenth century in Venice, the role played by Peggy Guggenheim as a feminist art collector, and the key leadership roles that Venetian women occupy today;

  • The use of intellectual debate and art as a form of resistance from the once-global-superpower of the Venetian publishing industry to the Biennale art exhibitions today.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

The syllabus will be updated year on year, informed by the most relevant case studies and cutting-edge research. As the module uses co-creative pedagogies, the case studies selected will vary based on student interest. An indicative syllabus is below:

Week 1: The Legacy of Resistance

M. Introduction: Forms of Resistance and Representational Regimes
T. Publishing as Resistance: Venice as a Global Crossroads of Free Thought
W. Resisting Strongmen I: The Napoleonic and Austrian Occupations
Th. Resisting Strongmen II: Venetian Anti-Fascism and Traces of Resistance Today
Fr. Venetian Feminist Defiance from Lucrezia Marinella to Peggy Guggenheim

Week 2: Case Studies of Resistance in Contemporary Venice

M. Industrial Resistance: Labour Movements in Venice from 1950-2022
T. Contemporary Resistance I: Defying Mass Tourism and Grassroots Resistance
W. Contemporary Resistance II: Weathering Climate Change
Th. Artistic Expression as Resistance: The Venetian Biennale
Fr. Conclusions — Adapting Lessons of Venetian Resistance for the Twenty-First Century

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Identify key case studies of Venetian resistance and think critically about their representational strategies.
  • Engage in detailed reflection on how Venice has functioned as a multi-faceted cradle of resistance in the past, and how this legacy continues today.
  • Critically analyse existing resistance movements in Venice (broadly defined) along with their scalability and adaptability to other global challenges.
  • Apply advanced cognitive skills to develop evidence-based research and creative outputs.
  • Implement meta-cognitive skills to approach wicked problems through Problem-Based Learning and gain greater understanding of their own role in the learning process.
Indicative reading list

Selections from the following will be assigned:

Bosworth, R.J.B. Italian Venice: A History. Yale UP: 2015.

Caroli, Rosa and Stefano Soriani. Fragile and Resilient Cities on Water: Perspectives from Venice and Tokyo. Cambridge Scholars: 2017.

Chinello, Cesco. "La Resistenza a Marghera: rottura e ricomposizione nella lotta operaia. Una nuova soggettività sociale e politica," in La Resistenza nel Veneziano, I, La società veneziana tra fascismo, resistenza, repubblica, ed. Giannantonio Paladini-Maurizio. Reberschak: 1984.

Cohen, Stanley and Laurie Taylor. Escape Attempts: The Theory and Practice of Resistance to Everyday Life. Routledge: 2002.

Fonte, Moderata. The Worth of Women: Wherein is Clearly Revealed their Nobility and their Superiority to Men, trans. Virginia Cox. Chicago UP, 1997.

Grab, A. "State Power, Brigandage, and Rural Resistance in Napoleonic Italy," European History Quarterly 25.1 (1995): 39-70.

Jachec, Nancy. Politics and Painting at the Venice Biennale, 1948-64. Manchester UP: 2007.

Laven, D. Venice and Venetia Under The Hapsburgs: 1815-1835. Oxford UP: 2002.

Marinella, Lucrezia. The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men, trans. Anne Dunhill and Letizia Panizza. Chicago UP: 2007.

Martino, Enzo di. The History of the Venice Biennale Papiro Arte: 2007.

Moseley, Roger. Mussolini: The Last 600 Days of Il Duce Taylor: 2004.

Murer, Delia. Non mancherà la mia voce: le lotte delle donne a Venezia negli anni Settanta. Cierre Edizioni, 2019.

Piva, Francesco. Contadini in fabbrica. Il caso Marghera: 1920-1945. Rome: 1991.

Slaughter, Jane. Women and the Italian Resistance: 1943-45. Arden: 1997

Tarabotti, Arcangela. Paternal Tyranny, trans. Letizia Panizza. Chicago UP: 2004.

Tuck, Eve and K. Wayne Yang, eds. Youth Resistance Research and Theories of Change. Routledge: 2014.

Vianello, M. "The No Grandi Navi Campaign." In Protest and Resistance in the Tourist City, ed. C. Colomb and J. Novy. 171-190. Routledge: 2016.

Zevi, Andrea Tobia. The Century of Global Cities: How Urbanisation is Changing the World and Shaping our Future. Ledizioni Ledi: 2019.

Additional texts, specific book chapters and articles may be set for additional reading.

Research element

Students will produce a final research essay on a topic of their own choosing related to the themes of the module


This is module offers a unique transdisciplinary learning experience allowing students to achieve breadth and depth of knowledge. The module is designed to provide the students with an understanding of relationships between the different disciplinary areas within resistance studies, cultural studies, social sciences, history, and art history with a particular focus on Venice. It also invites to the students to make connections with other disciplinary areas covered in their main study programme. It provides the students with a critical understanding of dominant traditions and methodologies associated with the main phenomena covered in the module and enables the students to transcend disciplinary boundaries. The interdisciplinary course cohort provides contact opportunities and learning to see from different perspectives is a core aspect of the learning experience.


The module draws on cases from different contexts, including different geopolitical areas, professional environments and linguistic contexts. The content and assessment invite the students to reflect on the societal relevance in different environments of the phenomena covered in the module. The assessment involves students working in groups with academic and ideally non-academic stakeholders which (will) allow for a global and local outlook to be built into the module’s work. The international and diverse course cohort provides contact opportunities and learning to see from different perspectives is a core aspect of the learning experience. The module will include experiential learning onsite in Venice.

Subject specific skills

Analytical skills attained through the analysis of existing local models of resistance and future implementation plans, along with their scalability and adaptability to other global challenges.

Transferable skills

Advanced cognitive skills of critical reflection ; Meta-cognitive skills gained through Problem-Based Learning which aid understanding of own role in the learning process; Work effectively with others in group tasks and in teams; Plan and manage time in projects; Develop strong analytical skills; Find, evaluate and use previous research at a level appropriate for an intermediate-year module; Use a range of tools and resources effectively in the preparation of course work; Read and critically discuss academic papers effectively in the context of an intensive programme; Communicate clearly and effectively in discussions; Communicate ideas effectively in writing.

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 5 sessions of 1 hour (3%)
Seminars 5 sessions of 1 hour (3%)
Tutorials (0%)
Project supervision (0%)
Fieldwork 10 sessions of 1 hour (7%)
Private study 60 hours (40%)
Assessment 70 hours (47%)
Total 150 hours
Private study description

Pre-Onsite learning -> Preparatory and background readings, online quiz (20 hours independent learning)
Week 1 onsite – Readings for daily sessions and collaborative group work (20 hours independent learning)
Week 2 onsite – Readings for daily sessions and collaborative group work (20 hours independent learning)
Post-Onsite learning-> Assessments (covered in the assessment hours)


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Students can register for this module without taking any assessment.

Assessment group D1
Weighting Study time
Final Project 50% 50 hours

This is the final piece of assessment in this module. Students are asked to develop a research project on a case study of resistance and/or its representation in Venice and its applications to other contemporary global resistance movements today.

Students must present an original argument and support this with research, scholarly evidence, analysis, and proper citation. However, as the module emphasises creative forms of resistance, students may choose one of the following outputs for their work, based on their existing skillset and which skills they wish to develop:

  1. Traditional written research essay (3,000 words)
  2. Podcast/Video Essay (20 minutes)
  3. Multimedia presentation on Moodle (using H5P) (20 minutes/2,000 words)

Students will have the opportunity to discuss their project plan with the instructor in one-on-one meetings.

Manifesto of Venetian Defiance 25% 10 hours

In groups of two, students will draw on material seen in the module to create a Venetian-informed manifesto of defiance. The assessment should be creative and can adopt any cause that the students feel strongly about. As part of the presentation, students will need to critically reflect on the representative choices they make in creating this manifesto and how these draw on material seen in class (whether theories or primary sources).

Online Test (Take-Home) 25% 10 hours

Online test in week one to ensure comprehension and critical thinking around set background readings before arrival in Venice.

Feedback on assessment

Detailed feedback for written assignments will be provided via Tabula.
Feedback on test will be provided on Moodle.

Past exam papers for IP317


The module is open to all second-year students in Liberal Arts and GSD who will be taking the module for credits in their final year. It is also open to students who have completed an intercalated year as part of their LA/GSD course and will be returning to Warwick for their final year.


Course availability information is based on the current academic year, so it may change.

This module is Unusual option for:

  • Year 2 of UVCA-LA99 Undergraduate Liberal Arts