Carnegie Mellon University

Barbara Litt

Barbara Litt

Senior Lecturer of Japanese Studies

Education: Certificate in Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language, University of Pittsburgh, MS University of California Berkeley, Energy and Resources, MS Cornell University, Physics, BA Reed College, Physics.


I have been teaching Japanese language and culture at Carnegie Mellon since 2007. My path here was a winding one, starting in physics; I then worked for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and began learning Japanese as a hobby as a continuing education student at Princeton University. Next, I researched energy efficiency in US and Japanese housing for Lawrence Berkeley Lab's Energy Analysis Program. I benefitted from a summer intensive program in technical Japanese at MIT, and after living in Tsukuba, Japan with my family during my husband's sabbatical, I retrained to become a Japanese teacher. Besides teaching at Carnegie Mellon, I formerly taught in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. I translate technical research papers from Japanese to English, and I hold a 6th degree black belt in Kokikai Aikido and operate a small dojo in Pittsburgh. I am happy to pursue what began as a hobby as my profession and to be able to bring my whole self to my classroom.

  • Japanese language pedagogy and content-based instruction
  • Modern Japanese culture
  • Japanese technology, energy and environmental issues, and society
  • Technical translation for Japanese to English.
  • Introduction to Japanese Language and Culture
  • Issues in Japanese Technology and Society (formerly Technical Japanese)
  • Elementary Japanese
  • Intermediate Japanese
  • Board Member, Pittsburgh Sakura Project 
  • Board Member, Aikido Kokikai Federation USA
  • Founder and Head Instructor Aikido Kokikai Pittsburgh
  • Co-chair, Green Sanctuary Team, First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh

Yasufumi Iwasaki and Barbara R. Litt. (2013). "Teaching Japanese Culture in the Technical Japanese Course", in the 24th Annual Conference of the Central Association of Teachers of Japanese (CATJ24) Proceedings, October 5-6, 2013. 

Hidetoshi Nakagami and Barbara Litt. (1997). "Appliance standards in Japan, Energy and Buildings", Volume 26, Issue 1, Pages 69-79, ISSN 0378-7788


Department Member Since 2007