Department of History

Central and Eastern Europe

The University of Pittsburgh’s Department of History includes a rich cluster of faculty specializing in the 19th and 20th century history of Central and Eastern Europe. While we study different sub-regions and topics, we share an interest in the revolutions and geopolitical, demographic, and cultural reconfigurations that convulsed this part of Europe. In particular, our research is driven by  questions about  how  modern technological advances, industrialization, urbanization, imperialism, the rise of ethnic nationalism, and the experience of mass violence and war shaped the politics, societies, and cultures of Central and Eastern Europe. 

Prospective Graduate Students

We are happy to hear from prospective applicants with interests in any of our areas of individual and collective expertise.

Core Faculty

  • William Chase (PhD Boston College, 1979):  19th and 20th century Russian, Soviet, and European history; interwar social and political history of USSR; international communist and revolutionary movements; international urbanism and urban planning.  Methodological interests include textual analysis, micro-history, group behavior in political contexts.
  • Irina Livezeanu (PhD University of Michigan, 1986): 20th century Romanian and East Central European history focusing on nationalism, gender, cultural institutions, intellectual history, minority populations, and the politics of memory.
  • James Pickett (PhD Princeton University, 2015): 18th through 20th century Eurasian history, with emphasis on the Perso-Islamic borderlands of the Russian Empire; Islam, imperialism, and transregional social groups.
  • Gregor Thum (PhD European University Viadrina, 2002): 19th and 20th century German and East Central European history, with a focus on Polish-German relations; imperialism, nationalism and forced migration; the symbolic meaning of architecture and urban planning; and uses of the past.
  • Katja Wezel (PhD Heidelberg University, 2011): 19th and 20th century Baltic history and transnational, comparative approaches to the study of memory politics, transitional justice and cultural conflicts in Central and Eastern Europe. 

Current Graduate Students

  • Barry Bookheimer, “The Ukrainian diaspora in West Germany and Canada during the Cold War.”
  • Adam Brode, "Pride of Place: The Struggle for Control of Riga's Cathedral Church 1923-1931."
  • Justin Classen, “The Rational International: Scientific Management and National Development in Greater Romania, 1918-1940."
  • Artan Hoxha, "A Tale of Two Villages: Socio-cultural Transformations in Rural Albania During the Short 20th Century."
  • Stephanie Makin, "An Unexpected Alliance: Catholics, the Cold War, and the Creation of the West."
  • Jonathan Sherry, “Moscow Trials in Barcelona? Stalinism, the Spanish Civil War, and the Repression of the P.O.U.M. in the Cold War Mind.”
  • Ali Yildiz

Recent Graduates

Research Context at the University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh is known for its strengths in Central and East European history, politics, and culture. Our research cluster draws on Pitt’s Center for Russian and East European Studies (CREES), and the European Studies Center.

We cooperate with numerous graduate faculty across the departments of Anthropology (Robert Hayden), German (Amy Colin, Sabine von Dirke, Randall Halle, John Lyon), History of Art and Architecture (Drew Armstrong, Barbara McCloskey), Music (Adriana Helbig), Political Science (Jonathan Harris, Ronald Linden), Slavic Languages & Literature (Nancy Condee, Vladimir Padunov, Jonathan Platt, Oscar Swan, Martin Votruba), and Sociology (John Markoff). The University of Pittsburgh Press’s renowned series in Russian and East European Studies further underlines the importance of this field for the identity of this university. So too does CREES’s publication of The Carl Beck Papers in Russian and East European Studies, the country’s longest running peer-reviewed occasional papers series.  Pitt is also the host institution of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, the world’s leading academic organization in this field.

Apart from building on Pitt’s strengths in Central and East European studies, we draw on the expertise of faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, among them Andreea Deciu Ritivoi, Wendy Goldman, Emanuela Grama, Kai Gutschow, Donna Harsch, and Stephen Brockmann. Our graduate students are welcome to take courses with them or seek their advice on research projects. In addition, regular graduate workshops bring together history graduate students at our institutions.

Faculty

William Chase
Professor
412-648-7470
Irina Livezeanu
Associate Professor
412-648-7466
James Pickett
Assistant Professor
412-648-7487
Patryk Reid
Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Russian and East European Studies
Gregor Thum
Associate Professor
Katja Wezel
DAAD Visiting Assistant Professor
412-648-7476