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

  • Alissa Klots (PhD Rutgers University, 2017): 20th century Russian and Soviet history, gender history, history of sexuality, labor history, social history, history of aging. 
  • 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.
  • Jan Musekamp (PhD European University Viadrina, 2010): 19th and 20th century Central and Eastern European history, with a special focus on borderlands, mobility, migration, and transnational history.
  • 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.

Current Graduate Students

  • Justin Classen, “The Rational International: Scientific Management and National Development in Greater Romania, 1918-1940."
  • Ann Fleming
  • Ana Fumurescu, “It Takes a Village: Raising Patriots in Nineteenth-Century Romania”
  • Stephanie Makin, "An Unexpected Alliance: Catholics, the Cold War, and the Creation of the West."
  • Ali Yildiz


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.


Alissa Klots
Assistant Professor
Irina Livezeanu
Associate Professor
Jan Musekamp
DAAD Associate Professor
James Pickett
Assistant Professor
Gregor Thum
Associate Professor