Carnegie Mellon University

Faculty Thematic Strengths

African, African American, and African Diaspora

The African, African American, and African Diaspora cluster brings together faculty whose research explores the history and culture of black people. In addition to locating African peoples within the larger context of regional, national, and global change, our scholarship examines intra-racial as well as inter-racial dimensions of the black experience. Based upon empirical case studies of particular time periods and regions, the principal topics and themes of our research include migration, urban life, work, technological change, class formation, gender relations, institutions, community-building processes, culture and identity formation, politics, and movements for social justice. This cluster also addresses problems in theories, methodologies, and approaches to research and writing on people of African descent. We not only encourage graduate students to prepare their own primary research on the subject, but to use this research to craft their own specialized courses in the field. Faculty include: Edda Fields-Black, Nico Slate, and Joe William Trotter, Jr.

Culture and Power

This cluster of historians and anthropologists investigates how classes, ethnicities, nationalities, races, religions, states, and other collectivities take form, persist and transform. History and anthropology being sciences of the particular, we study specific communities and events, generally at the intersection of the local, national and global. Understanding power and culture as hardly separable, we examine how individuals in social formations—more or less consciously—use and contest power; seek moral order and legitimacy; repurpose visual symbols and language; and remake subjectivities (identities) and a collective past. More abstractly, we uncover relationships among modes of production, exchange, communication, knowledge, and value. Engaging classical and contemporary theories to varying degrees, members of the cluster work over a span of several centuries and four continents, conducting documentary, archival and field research. Faculty in this area are: Allyson Creasman, Paul K. Eiss, Emanuela Grama, Ricky Law, Scott Sandage, and Benno Weiner.

Labor, Politics, and Social Movements

Faculty members cover a wide range of national and transnational fields. All share a strong commitment to the histories of working people as an important basis for understanding developments in politics and society. We conceptualize labor broadly to include waged workers, household labor, peasants, slaves, and dispossessed peoples. Faculty research spans the globe, including the United States, Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Russia. Several faculty members explore the relationship between labor and politics, researching social movements, state policies, nationalism, and resistance. Others focus on race, labor under socialism, women’s work in and outside the household, and the environment. The cluster aims to acquaint graduate students with a new, global labor history broadly conceived that includes workers within a variety of social formations, including communalism, capitalism, and socialism, with particular attention to the complex interplay of class, politics, gender, race, and ecology. Faculty teaching courses in this cluster include: Paul K. Eiss, Edda Fields-Black, Wendy Z. Goldman, John Soluri, Nico Slate, and Joe William Trotter, Jr.

Technology, Environment, Science, and Health

TESH faculty share an interest in understanding the historical, political, and social dimensions of science, technology, the environment, and health. Faculty strengths lie in drug policy and public health; biotechnologies and the law; technological innovation; and urban and rural environmental history. Our research and teaching engages these topics using interdisciplinary methodologies in a wide range of settings both within and beyond the United States. TESH faculty are committed to engaging contemporary policy issues and have forged productive links to government, business, the law, and civil society, and include Jay Aronson, Christopher Phillips, John Soluri, and Joel Tarr.

Women, Gender, and the Family

A core of five faculty members conducts research on gender, women's history, and the family. Faculty members approach these topics from various perspectives such as social history, policy history, cultural analysis, and demography. Areas of research include the social history of the family, family policy, population history, women’s waged labor, concepts of masculinity, race and gender, women’s rights, feminism and social protest, sexuality and reproductive rights. Regions and periods of research include the United States, early modern and modern Western Europe, Communist Eastern Europe, and Russia. Faculty include: Wendy Goldman, who focuses on family policy, the sexual division of labor in the workforce, the relationship between Stalinist repression and family ties, and women’s labor during World War II in the Soviet Union; Donna Harsch, who studies the social history of the family, women at work, reproduction and sexuality, and women as consumers; her research focuses on modern Germany. Katherine A. Lynch, who has worked on European family history and historical population trends as well as gender, is now studying charity and welfare institutions in the European past — especially France — and their links with the family. Lisa Tetrault specializes in the history of feminism, gender and social protest, and memory; her research focuses on nineteenth-century America.