Department of History

Matthew Plishka

  • Graduate Student

Before starting at Pitt in the fall of 2017, I earned my M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago (2016). For my M.A. thesis, I examined disgruntled Jamaican sugar planters’ calls for annexation to the United States in the first decade of the twentieth century. Prior to that, I received my B.A. from Lafayette College (2015), where I double majored in History and Government/Law. My Honors Thesis examined the birth of Jamaica’s banana industry in the late nineteenth century. I will be continuing my research into the Jamaican banana industry at the University of Pittsburgh, examining how the relationships between labor, the environment, and empires contributed to the industry’s development.

Advisors: Lara Putnam and Molly Warsh


Latin America
Labor History
Environmental History

Conferences and Presentations:

October 2014
“Cottonseed, Oil, and the Environmental Entanglements of a Global Gilded Age Industry,” Green Capitalism?: Exploring the Crossroads of Environmental and Business History, Wilmington, DE, co-presented with Benjamin Cohen.