Lina Insana

  • Chair, Department of French and Italian
  • Director of Italian Graduate Studies
  • Associate Professor of Italian


1332 Cathedral of Learning

Area of Interest

Post-Risorgimento Italian Literature and Culture; Holocaust Studies; Fascism and Resistance; Sicilian Literature and Culture; Italian American Studies


PhD, Romance Languages and Literatures, U of Pennsylvania (2000)
MA, Italian Language and Literature, U of Pittsburgh (1996)
BA, Political Science and Italian, U of Pittsburgh (1991)

Research Interests & Fields of study

Holocaust literature and film; Sicilian literature; Italian American literature; literature of Fascism and resistance; Italian detective fiction; images of southern Italy in European literature

Jewish Studies Program Executive Committee



  • Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced Italian Language 
  • Italian Cultural Heritage II
  • Modern Italian Literature in Translation
  • Italian Novella 
  • Italian Novel   
  • Italian Detective Fiction
  • Italian America on Screen
  • Fascism and Resistance
  • Literature of the Holocaust
  • Translation Studies
  • From Novel to Screen


  • Representations of the Holocaust
  • Fascism and Resistance
  • Sicilian Literature
  • Translation Studies
  • Italian Detective Fiction

Selected Publications

“Sicily, Terra Ballerina: Shifting Terrain in a Contested Fascist-era Mediterranean.” Sicily and the Mediterranean: Migration, Exchange, Reinvention. Eds. Claudia Karagoz and Giovanna Summerfield. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. [forthcoming]

"Atti deliberati—e omissioni—di memoria" [Deliberate Acts—and Omissions—of Memory]. Il Memoriale italiano ad Auschwitz. Documentazione, conservazione e progetto di integrazione 2008-2012. Eds. Giuseppe Arcidiacono and Sandro Scarrocchia. Bergamo: Sestante Edizioni, 2014. 11-28.

"Translation Matters: Primo Levi, Translation, and the Transmission of Holocaust Tesimony." MLA Approaches to Teaching the Writings of Primo Levi. Eds. Nicholas Patruno and Roberta Ricci. NY: Modern Language Association, 2014. 89-104.

Arduous Tasks: Primo Levi, Translation, and the Transmission of Holocaust Testimony. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2009.

"In Levi's Wake: Adaptation, Simulacrum, Postmemory." Italica 86.2 (2009): 212-38.

"Strega Nona’s Ethnic Alchemy: Stregheria, Magic Pasta, and That Amazing, Disappearing ‘N.’" MELUS 31.2 (2006): 207-43.

"Traumatic Translation: the Ancient Mariner’s voyage from English to Italian—and back again."  Journal of Italian Translation 1.1 (2006): 23-35.

"Fascist Appropriations: The case of Jolanda de Blasi’s Le scrittrici italiane." Strong Voices, Weak History: Women Writers of the Middle Ages and Renaissance in England, France, and Italy. Eds. P. J. Benson and V. Kirkham. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2004. 314-40.

"Redefining dulce et utile: Boccaccio’s defense of literature on economic terms." Heliotropia 2.1 (2004), 5 August 2004.


"Winter Evenings," "Learn a Trade for a Rainy Day," and "Dear Hope," short stories by Marchesa Colombi, in Writing to delight: Nineteenth-Century short stories by Italian Women. Eds. Antonia Arslan and Gabriella Romani. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2006.

Honors and Awards

U of Pittsburgh A&S Type II Research Grant, Summer 2012

University of Pittsburgh Humanities Center Internal Fellow, Fall 2010

2009 American Association of Italian Studies 20th

Century Book Award, for Arduous Tasks: Primo Levi, Translation, and the Transmission of Holocaust Testimony (U of Toronto Press)

Modern Language Association's 2007 Aldo & Jeanne Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies, for Arduous Tasks: Primo Levi, Translation, and the Transmission of Holocaust Testimony (U of Toronto Press)

U of Pittsburgh A&S Type I Research Grant, Summer 2004

Professional Service

Senate Library Committee, August 2003-April 2009

Faculty Mentor, University Honors College Undergraduate Teaching Assistant, Spring 2005, Spring 2010

Faculty Mentor, First Experiences in Research Program, Spring 2005

Heinz Regional History Center, Italian American Program Advisory Board, September 2004-present (Advisory Board Chair since January 2007)

Professional Affiliations