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The Ethics of Narratives: between old and new media

Analyse how the old and new major forces of enjoyment and knowledge deeply influence modern culture from a moral and ethical point of view

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CIVIS focus area
Society, culture, heritage
Open to
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
Field of studies
  • Art, Design and Media
  • Social Science and humanities
  • Blended Intensive Programmes (BIP)
Course dates
12 - 23 June 2023

The Blended Intensive Programme in "The Ethics of narratives: between old and new media" analyses how the old and these new major forces of enjoyment and knowledge deeply influence modern culture from a moral and ethical point of view.

The new media have shown to be able to tell very long stories, allowing the characters to evolve over a particularly long period of time and, since instead of forcing audience to leave their house the new media entered the home of the user, creating a bond with them based on a greater intimacy: all this has made contemporary narratives particularly complex and, at the same time, has allowed the narrative to reduce the dominant ethical and moral apparatus. In this light, the new media are a privileged observatory of the ethical complexification of contemporaneity, as if on the one hand they serve to entertain the audience, on the other they are also functional to educate the audience and make it reflects on a different ethical dilemma. The School will compare the old and the new media for how they influence society and, consequently, the ethical structure that characterizes it. Ethics and its various "gradations" become the cornerstone around which the new media revolves, differently from the old ones: the human being is no longer placed in front of a strong and profound opposition between good and evil, but rather he must understand himself in the light of the new contemporary nuances of the ethical apparatus.

The Blended Intensive Programme provides a theoretical, critical and historical grounding about media and transmedia storytelling in order to make students understand the connection between media and identity construction. The goal is to broaden the scholarly assessment of storytelling in old and new media; in other words, the Blended Intensive Programme want to deepen the impact that old and new media have on the constitution of identity in relation to ethics in today's world. The complexity of new types of narratives will be investigated as a societal challenge by representing, experiencing and comprehending the complex phenomena of new media. The School will focus also on societal contexts in order to better understand the connections between contexts, storytelling, and complexity. In other words, we will examine the relationship between media storytelling and their external environment from an ethical point of view.

The Blended Intensive Programme will be divided into two part: the first one consists of 14 hours of lessons delivered online synchronous or asynchronous made by experts in the media sector to introduce the main theme, while the second consists of 26 hours of lesson in presence at University of Rome “La Sapienza” to deepen the ethical dimension, plus a final written test to allow students to think about what they have learned from a theoretical point of view. In addition to the 40 hours of face to face teaching activities (both online synchronous, asynchronous and in presence), the Blended Intensive Programme will have 45 hours of students’ individual study activities: 35 before the School take place and 10 after the virtual lessons. In particular, the first 35 hours will be spent by the students to read some books as well as to see video materials (in particular films and TV series, especially for the lessons concerning transmedia storytelling) that every professor will indicate for his/her lesson. In this light, as the other 10 hours will take place after the introducing virtual lessons and will be devoted to get prepared to the next lessons.

The school will examine ethics from several point of view related to the main topic, such as: ethics of narration in the theoretical debate (Jameson vs. Ricoeur, etc.); moral values narration in old media; how mass-media change the audience, marking the definitive passage to a new political, economic and social phase in relation to moral values; moving between narratology and ethics, we will discuss, in a wider perspective, about the moral sense of literature; morality in transmedia storytelling; ethics nuances in complex seriality within contemporary TV series.

For example, we will take into account the extent to which the selective representation of the past, as well as its manipulation, typical of some transmedial adaptations, can be interpreted as a claim for creativity within the ideological framework of the late postmodernism. At the same time, the Blended Intensive Programme will also analyse the contemporary tv series where the main focus is the ethical dimension and where the traditional moral opposition are overcome.

Moreover, we will reconstruct the different narratives that have been made and reflect on the ethical and moral implications of the politic dimension: it will explore how extremist discourses spread across social actors and borders by focusing on the circulation, interplay and mainstreaming of extremist narratives in the EU and its neighboring countries.

The School will therefore focus on the analysis of the transmedia representations of the moral component: first of all the press, but also how the most important events have been narrated in other media and how it affected the construction of social and moral identity of audience.

In conclusion, the main goal of the Blended Intensive Programme is to analyse the moral environment both from a theoretical and from a practical point of view, taking into account the construction of the ethical dimension that is deeply influenced by old and new media.

Main topics addressed

  • Old and new media mechanism
  • New media analysis
  • Transmediality

Learning outcomes

The Blended Intensive Programme will give the students the chance to deepen their knowledge about old and new media and about narratives and storytelling in order to access further studies and to improve their knowledge analysis competences of media scripts, transmedia books and different palimpsests, film and tv series, politic discourses.

In terms of professional competencies and skills, the Blended Intensive Programme offers students the opportunity to understand, reflect and act upon the old and new communication media. In this respect, professors will introduce to the latest concepts, theories, principles and fundamental methods of research in communication and media studies, in a globalized social exchange of information. This Blended Intensive Programme give to students a valuable preparation for careers in various aspects of the media and arts.

Dates: 12 - 23 June 2023 Total workload: 85 hours
Format: Blended ECTS: 3*
Location: Rome, Italy Language: English (B2) 

* Recognition of ECTS depends on your home university.

Physical mobility

The physical part will take place from 19 to 23 June 2023.

Monday 19 June

9.00 - 13.00 CET 

  • Francesca Medaglia, Introduction to the BIP "The Ethics of narratives: between old and new media"
  • Mattia Bonasia, Sapienza Università di Roma, The ethics of translation: from Ancient Rome to postcolonial studies
  • Francesco Lucioli, Sapienza Università di Roma, Ethics and Conduct in Early Modern Italian Literature

16.00 - 18.00 CET

  • Alviera Bussotti, Sapienza Università di Roma, Moral or immoral? Ethics and autobiographical writing in the 18th century

Tuesday 20 June

9.00 - 13.00 CET

  • Federica Perazzini, Sapienza Università di Roma, Common Sense and the Ethics of British Modern Culture
  • Vincenzo Spanò, Sapienza Università di Roma, Exploring the Ethics of Revenge through the Orestes Myth: a short story from Pasolini to Milo Rau

16.00 - 18.00 CET

  • Giorgio Nisini, Sapienza Università di Roma, Neorealist culture: literature, cinema and society

Wednesday 21 June

9.00 - 13.00 CET

  • Elisiana Fratocchi, Sapienza Università di Roma, Women's writings between old and new media
  • Francesca Terrenato, Sapienza Università di Roma, The Voice of South African Women: Post-Apartheid, Oral Traditions and New Media in Performance Poetry

16.00 - 18.00 CET

  • Annamaria Elia, Sapienza Università di Roma, “Staying with the Trouble”: Ecological Ethics in contemporary Post-Apocalyptic and Speculative Fiction

Thursday 22 June

9.00 - 13.00 CET

  • Anja Boato, Damiano Garofalo, Sapienza Università di Roma, Audience Allegiance and Political Positioning in La Casa de Papel and Squid Game
  • Francesca Medaglia, Sapienza Università di Roma, Ethics of narratives in complex and contemporary tv series

Friday 23 June

9.00 - 13.00 CET

  • Daniel Raffini, Sapienza Università di Roma, Ethic of narratives and artificial intelligence
  • Sarin Marchetti, Sapienza Università di Roma, Learning from the Future: Black Mirror and Our Life with Technology

Virtual part

The virtual part will take place from 12 to 14 June 2023.

The virtual part of the Blended Intensive Programme will be necessary to introduce the subject that will be deepen during the intensive part in attendance. In particular, the issue of narration from a literary, media, political and emotional point of view will be introduced through various lessons by experts in the sectors.

Monday 12 June

9.00 - 13.00 CET

  • Franca Sinopoli, Coodinator fo CIVIS,  Sapienza Università di Roma, Welcoming words
  • Stefano Bragato, UZH - Universität Zürich, In between the two cultures: literature, science, and ethics
  • Manuel Alcántara-Plá, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Emotions, Identity and Ethics in Digital Discourses

Tuesday 13 June

9.00 - 13.00 CET

  • Cormac O Cuilleanain, Trinity College Dublin, Necessary Evil? The Cruelty Component of Narrative
  • Stefano Ballerio, Università degli Studi di Milano Statale, “Un crime ou une prière”: Narrative Ethics in Emmanuel Carrère’s L’Adversaire

Wednesday 14 June

9.00 - 13.00 CET

  • Adriana Stefanel, University of Bucharest, Hate Narratives in Online Electoral Campaigns
  • Lorenzo Bartoli, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Troubling confessions: guilt (and shame) in law and literature

16.00 - 18.00 CET

  • Stephanie Rennik, University of Glasgow, Gender Tropes, Bias and Video Game Dialogue: who speaks, what they say, and why it matters


This course is open to Bachelors' and Masters' students at CIVIS member universities studying:

  • Media
  • Transmediality
  • Tv Series
  • Modern Literature
  • Artificail Intelligence
  • Political Linguistics
  • Literature
  • Linguistics
  • Narratology

A B2 level of English is required.

NB: Visiting Students - Erasmus Funding Eligibility

To be eligible for your selected CIVIS programme, you must be a fully enrolled student at your CIVIS home university at the time you will be undertaking the programme. Click here to learn more about the eligibility criteria.

Application process

Interested students should apply by filling in the online application form by 28 February 2023. 

Selection is based on arrival time.

Apply now


In terms of the way the course is structured, including the teaching methodology used, it is fundamental an active participation of students, because at the end of the intensive theoretical lessons there will be a mandatory exam in order to reflect on ethics and morality in modern and contemporary media storytelling. This exam will be a final written text in order to understand if students get the point of the lessons and improved what was discussed.

Blended Intensive Programme

This CIVIS course is a Blended Intensive Programme (BIP): a new format of Erasmus+ mobility which combines online teaching with a short trip to another campus to learn alongside students and professors across Europe. Click here to learn more about CIVIS BIPs.

GDPR Consent

The CIVIS alliance and its member universities will treat the information you provide with respect. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on our privacy practices. By applying to this course you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

  • Manuel Alcántara-Plá, Profesor Contratado,  Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • Stefano Ballerio, Associate Professor, Università degli Studi di Milano Statale
  • Lorenzo Bartoli, Profesor Titular, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • Anja Boato, PhD student, Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Mattia Bonasia, PhD student, Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Alviera Bussotti, Lecturer, Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Stefano Bragato, Postdoc Fellow, UZH - Universität Zürich
  • Annamaria Elia, PhD student, Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Elisiana Fratocchi, Postdoc Fellow, Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Damiano Garofalo, Lecturer, Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Francesco Lucioli, Lecturer, Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Sarin Marchetti, Associate Professor, Lecturer, Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Francesca Medaglia, Lecturer, Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Giorgio Nisini, Lecturer, Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Cormac O Cuilleanain, Professor Emeritus, Trinity College Dublin
  • Federica Perazzini, Lecturer, Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Daniel Raffini, Postdoc Fellow, Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Steph Rennick, Research Associate, Univeristy of Glasgow
  • Franca Sinopoli, Full Professor, Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Vincenzo Spanò, PhD student, Sapienza Università di Roma
  • Adriana Stefanel, Lecturer, University of Bucharest
  • Francesca Terrenato, Associate Professor, Sapienza Università di Roma