La Lega Toscana di Protezione

Learn more about:

The Project
The Team
The Methods
Our Resources

About the Project

The project is an extension of a Translation Studies course taught this (fall 2181) semester by Prof. Lina Insana, in which a large part of the students' final portfolio work involved the transcription and translation of archival materials from the Heinz History Center's Italian American Collection. In particular, they've collectively translated about 75 pp of the meeting minutes of the Lega Toscana di Protezione [Tuscan League], a beneficial society in existence from 1915 until 1971 and made up of Tuscan immigrants to Pittsburgh. The minute books' first years are written in Italian and their transcription/translation of these materials is the first work being done with them. Since these students now have a unique familiarity with these materials, the class was offered the opportunity to continue their work in different directions next semester, in the form of a research collective.

Prof. Lina Insana (Assoc. Prof. of Italian; Chair of the Department of French & Italian) served as the project leader and supervisor. She is a scholar of post-Unification Italy and has published on Italian American culture and history; she has a particular and emerging interest in the institutional life of Italian immigrant communities during the interwar period. Four students had elected to join the project through various research (ITAL 1909, Undergraduate Research Assistantship) or capstone credits (GEOL 1901 Independent Study). Their collective work on a concise group of research questions will leverage the students’ knowledge of the Tuscan community in Pittsburgh, the activities of the Tuscan League, and information about its members. The four students bring several distinct research disciplines to the table. You can read more about the students and their individual contributions to this research project in our About the Researchers page.

There were a host of primary and auxiliary questions that were the driving force behind this project, and some of them were the following:

A number of local partners are very interested in this work and its results. The Heinz History Center invited the students to be guest bloggers on their site, posts that will be republished in the Italian American Collection’s Bollettino (newsletter). They also invited us to present our research to the Italian American Collection Advisory Council at their April 2018 meeting. Finally, we were selected to participate in a scholarly conferences and present our work in a panel on “Italian Studies in the Digital Age” at the Canadian Society for Italian Studies (Ottawa, May 2018) and at the Keystone DH Conference (Penn State, July 2018).