Department of History

Exciting New Books from Pitt History Profs

This spring sees the publication of five exciting new books by Pitt History faculty.  Afro-Latin American Studies: An Introduction, co-edited by Reid Andrews and former department member Alejandro de la Fuente, surveys the rise of this important academic subfield over the last 25-30 years. Individual essays examine topics such as Afro-Latin American literature, social and political thought, political movements, art history, music, cultural geography, and Afro-Latin American migration to the United States.  In Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom, Keisha Blain reveals the forgotten black nationalist and internationalist political movements built by African American women across the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, seeking to forge alliances with people of color around the globe and agitating for the rights and liberation of black people in the United States and across the African diaspora. In Empire by Invitation: William Walker and Manifest Destiny in Central America, Michel Gobat traces the untold story of the rise and fall of the first U.S. overseas empire to William Walker, who is the 1850s led an internationally and ideologically diverse groups of expansionists to Nicaragua, determined to forge a tropical “empire of liberty.” Much like their successors in liberal-internationalist and neoconservative foreign policy circles a century later, Walker and his fellow imperialists inspired a global anti-U.S. backlash, as fear of a “northern colossus” precipitated a hemispheric alliance against the United States and gave birth to the idea of Latin America. In The Tropic of Football, Rob Ruck travels to the South Seas to unravel American Samoa’s complex ties with the United States. Football is at a crossroads, its future imperiled by the very physicality that drives its popularity. Its grass roots—high school and youth travel program—are withering. But players from the small South Pacific American territory of Samoa are bucking that trend, quietly becoming the most disproportionately overrepresented culture in the sport.  In American Baroque: Pearls and the Nature of Empire, 1492-1700, Molly Warsh spirals outwards from Spain’s early exploitation of Caribbean pearl fisheries to reveal how licit and illicit trade in the jewel gave rise to global networks, connecting the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean to the pearl-producing regions of the Chesapeake and northern Europe. She blends environmental, social, and cultural history to construct microhistories of peoples’ wide-ranging engagement with this deceptively simple jewel.