Department of History

Early Modern World(s)

Pitt’s Department of History offers a rare cluster of dynamic junior and senior faculty specializing in the early modern British, North American, French, Iberian, Dutch, Baltic, and Scandinavian worlds. Our faculty and students form a vibrant core within the university's interdisciplinary Early Modern Worlds initiative. Emphasizing trans-national, comparative, and world historical approaches, we practice early modern European history as an integral part of Pitt’s distinctive graduate program, with a particular strength in Atlantic History. We collaborate with early modernists in other fields and departments.




Core Faculty in Early Modern Worlds(s)

  • Niklas Frykman (PhD Pittsburgh, 2010): North Atlantic history during the age of revolution, with a special interest in maritime and transnational radicalism.
  • Holger Hoock (DPhil Oxford, 2001): Britain and the British Empire in the “long” eighteenth century, with an emphasis on cultural histories of state-formation, empire, warfare, knowledge production and collecting, memory and commemoration. British Atlantic; British India.
  • Marcus Rediker (PhD Pennyslvania, 1982): Early American/Atlantic history, 1600-1850, with an emphasis on seafaring, slavery, abolition, and labor.
  • Pernille Røge (PhD Cambridge, 2010): European, French, and French imperial history in the “long” eighteenth century, with a focus on the connections between ideas, policymaking, and reform in the French Atlantic World. Baltic and Franco-British rivalry.
  • Molly Warsh (PhD Johns Hopkins, 2009): Iberian and British worlds in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with particular interests in global patterns in the shifting relationship between subjects and the emerging state in the early modern era.

Recent Publications

  • Clare Anderson, Niklas Frykman, Lex Heerma van Voss, and Marcus Rediker, eds, International Review of Social History 58, Special Issue S21 (Mutiny and Maritime Radicalism in the Age of Revolution: A Global Survey) (2013).
  • Hoock, H., Empires of the Imagination: Politics, War, and the Arts in the British World, 1750-1850 (2010).
  • Niklas Frykman,“Pirates and Smugglers: Political Economy in the Red Atlantic,” in Mercantilism Reimagined: Political Economy in Early Modern Britain and its Empire, edited by Carl Wennerlind and Philip Stern, 218-239. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Rediker, M.,Outlaws of the Atlantic: Sailors, Pirates, and Motley Crews in the Age of Sail (Boston: Beacon Press, 2014).
  • Røge, P., “‘La Clef de Commerce’—The Changing Role of Africa in France’s Atlantic Empire c. 1760-1797,” History of European Ideas, 32 (Dec. 2008), 431–43.
  • Warsh, M., “Enslaved Pearl Divers in the Sixteenth Century Caribbean.” Slavery & Abolition, 31:3 (2010), 345–62.

A Vibrant Research Context

The department regularly hosts post-docs with early modern interests. Pitt also features early modernist faculty across the departments of Communication Studies, History of Art and Architecture, History and Philosophy of Science, Jewish Studies, as well as the European languages and literatures (English, French, German, Italian).

We collaborate with various University Research Centers and Programs: European Studies Center, Center of Russian and Eastern European Studies, World History Center, Global Studies Center, Humanities Center, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and Eighteenth-Century Studies.

We regularly host distinguished guest speakers who often also lead graduate seminars and workshops. Recent and forthcoming visitors include Professors Dena Goodman (Michigan), Marcy Norton (GWU), Dan Edelstein (Stanford).

International Networks

We participate actively in numerous international societies concerned with early modern Atlantic, British, French, Luso-Iberian, and Ottoman studies, as well as the Forum for European Expansion and Global Initiative and the World History Association. We enjoy links with the Center for History and Economics, Cambridge, UK. The Journal of British Studies (CUP) is based at Pitt under the editorship of Professor Holger Hoock.


Niklas Frykman
Assistant Professor
Holger Hoock
Amundson Chair of British History and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research
James Pickett
Assistant Professor
Marcus Rediker
Distinguished Professor
Pernille Røge
Assistant Professor
Amir Syed
Visiting Assistant Professor
Molly Warsh
Associate Professor