Department of History

World History

World History has arisen as a logical yet exciting expansion of historical studies into wider relations in space, time, topics, and scale. At Pitt, the World History Center links the varied elements of world history through its involvement in research, advanced study, and teaching. The graduate theme treats world history as a distinctive historical literature in the core seminar, as an entry to cross-disciplinary studies in the course on theory and methodology, and as a guide to multiple perspectives on the past through a course on macrohistories. Other courses (including directed readings) address specific issues in global context, with particular attention to empires as a factor in world history. Faculty members mentor students in defining and executing world historical research projects, linking documentary specificity with global connections. Within the world history theme, students may develop specializations in social, cultural, or economic issues, explored over short or long periods of time. In addition, students choose a regional specialization and satisfy its requirements; they also develop further expertise in languages. Thus, studies in world history draw on the richness of Pitt’s transnational themes, emphasizing the interplay of regional and local histories with global patterns. Meanwhile, the program has taken the lead in creating a world-historical dataset and in building collaborative ties across disciplines at Pitt, with the Global Studies Center, and among world historians worldwide. Many department members have expressed interest in ensuring that all graduate students gain formal training in this expanding field.