Department of History

Exciting New Books from Pitt History Profs

This spring sees the publication of three exciting new books by Pitt History faculty.  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 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.  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.