Europe has played a significant role in world history. It is critical to our understanding of both the modern nation state and the most successful supranational integration; of a wide range of religious traditions; of representative democracy and the rule of law; of multinational and global empires; of industrialization, the scientific revolution, and Enlightenment; of liberal democracy, socialism, and fascism and some of the most destructive political behavior in world history.
Our European faculty bridge the premodern, early modern, and modern periods; our breadth of coverage of early modern empires is particularly unusual. Among early Europeanists the predominant interest is Western Europe, while most of the modernists focus on Central and Eastern Europe. Areas of strength include the British Isles, the Iberian Peninsula, France, Germany and Central Europe, Romania and Southeastern Europe, Russia and the USSR, and Eurasia. The faculty pays particular attention not only to internal European connections and comparisons but also to changing boundaries and evolving relationships beyond, including imperial systems and their legacies. Exploring the mental maps and material means through which Europeans have attempted to position themselves within the wider world are an important part of any reflection on European history.
Thus, our graduate field highlights the global contexts and impact of European ideas, culture, political institutions and ideologies, economic shifts, and social movements. Given the global reach of European history, many members of other regional groups have complementary European research interests and vice versa. While historians of Western Europe pay as much attention to the Atlantic as to the wider European contexts of their regional field, the Central and Eastern Europeanists think beyond the traditional East-West divide of European history and take the wider Eurasian context of the area into consideration.
The program draws on existing relationships with and resources of Pitt's Russian and East European Studies Center and Center for European Studies. Both of these UCIS centers have received federal grants in the last several competitions; the University of Pittsburgh is also one of 10 European Union Centers in the United States. Funds are available for graduate fellowships, conferences, travel, and research. History graduate students and faculty are frequent recipients of UCIS grants.
Alongside these institutional resourses, students and faculty participate in the European reading group which serves to facilitate discussions of our own research in coversation with recent historiographical and methodological trends..