La Lega Toscana di Protezione

Learn more about:

The Project
The Team
The Methods
Our Resources

About the Researchers

Lina Insana is Associate Professor of Italian and Chair of the Department of French & Italian at the University of Pittsburgh, where she teaches the literature, film, and culture of post-Unification Italy; Holocaust literature and film; Italian Fascism and resistance; Italian American screen studies; and translation studies. Her published research has focused primarily on representations of the Holocaust, most notably in Arduous Tasks: Primo Levi, Translation, and the Transmission of Holocaust Testimony, awarded the 2007 Scaglione Manuscript Prize by the MLA and the 2009 AAIS 20th c. book prize. Her current research engages theories of space and place, island studies, and critical geography to examine the discourses and cultural production that position Sicily within larger frameworks of belonging such as Italy, Europe, the South, and the Mediterranean. Her interest in the Lega Toscana di Protezione stems from work on a longer-term project that examines US-based institutions of italianità in Italian colonies between the world wars.

Zachary Enick is a fifth-year senior at the University of Pittsburgh, with a double-major in French and Italian Language studies, a minor in Linguistics, and a certificate in American Sign Language. In the Spring semester of 2018, he was responsible for having performed the research of member activity and interactions in the Lega, and he also designed and built this website. In the Fall of 2018, Zachary was awarded the opportunity to continue his research on the Tuscan League with a research fellowship through the University of Pittsburgh Honors College's THINK Fellowship. Zachary first began his Digital Humanities research in the spring of 2017 in the course Computational Methods in the Humanities, taught by the Slavic department chair, David Birnbaum. His specific interest in the Lega Toscana di Protezione was piqued in the Italian Translation Workshop course, taught by Professor Insana in the Fall of 2017. The document analyses performed in that course gave way to an interest in the dynamic of the members within the the League itself, which then materialized into his portion of the research presented here. After his expected graduation in the spring semester of 2019, Zachary will pursue a Master's degree in fundamental and applied language research at the University of Cergy-Pontoise with the Fulbright U.S. student program.

Eliza Jermyn graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in April 2018, with a major in Italian Language and Anthropology with a minor in Religious Studies. Her focus in this project was creating biographies for the more influential members of the Lega Toscana and understanding the kind of community they had created. This research provided a chance for Eliza to integrate the areas of study that have mostly remained separate throughout her college career. To do that, she used online databases like Ancestry and Newspapers and the material resources provided by the Heinz History Center to collect primary sources that would allow her to create a more personal picture of who the Tuscan League's members were and how they existed in Pittsburgh. Her plans following graduation are to remain at the University of Pittsburgh and pursue a Master’s degree in Italian.

Archie Millar graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in the April 2018 with a major in Italian Language & Literature as well as Geology. His primary focus throughout this project was the continuation and standardization of the transcription and translation of the first volume of minutes from the Tuscan League, part of which had already been completed as part of Professor Insana’s Translation Workshop during Fall 2017. He enjoyed being able to interact with the minutes directly, delving into the inner workings of this Pittsburgh community, and was excited to be able to continue working on the translation leg of the project as he was able to gain experience with translation of archival materials but also because he feels it increases the accessibility of these resources to the wider, non-Italian speaking community. Following his August 2018 graduation, Archie has no serious plans and hopes to take some time to travel and run around in the mountains.

Rita Keil graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in April 2018 with a double major in Italian Language & Literature and Environmental Science, and with certificates in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and West European Studies. This Tuscan League project served as her GIS capstone experience. For the project, she collected location data from the Leauge's meeting minutes and application forms and geocoded the data to show which Pittsburgh neighborhoods were most important to the its members over time. She was excited to work on this project because it combined her interests in Italian studies and data visualization. Following her graduation in April 2018, Rita plans on working in GIS and then returning to school for graduate studies.