WHC Graduate Student Assistants

The World History Center funds a three-term Graduate Student Assistant (GSA) position in Public History each academic year.  The program is open to any Pitt graduate student in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences with an interest in world history and creating a public-facing project. The goal of the GSA program is to communicate with a non-academic audience about a topic in the transregional or global past. We take the term public history broadly.  We require only that projects target audiences that extend beyond undergraduate majors or scholars in one particular discipline or field.

Current and past GSA research projects are featured below.  For information on upcoming GSA calls for proposals, please visit our News page, sign up for our mailing list, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  The next call for proposals will be announced in mid-February.  


Summer 2019 GSA - Katie Loney

Katie Loney, from the Department of History of Art and Architecture, is the WHC Graduate Student Assistant for the 2019 Summer I session. Her project focuses on a set of furnishings produced by Lockwood de Forest and the Ahmedabad Wood Carving Company that were purchased in the late-nineteenth century by the heiress, philanthropist, and suffragette Mary Garrett for one of her Baltimore estates. With the help of de Forest, she later incorporated these pieces into the Deanery at Bryn Mawr College, where Garrett and her partner M. Carey Thomas (the then president of Bryn Mawr College) lived and worked in the early twentieth century. Reexamining these objects and their position in Orientalist interiors in the context of period photographs, correspondence, inventory reports, and other archival materials, Katie’s project tracks the movement of these furnishings from Ahmedabad, India to Bryn Mawr, PA. A digital exhibition and public event will visualize the now non-existent spaces through with these objects moved; their position as objects of skilled craftsmanship, commodities, and exotic luxury furnishings; and the ways in which turn-of-the-century Indians and Americans used them to navigate their identity and social relationships in an increasingly interconnected world.

Spring 2019 GSAs Bethany Wade and Sarah Kennedy

Bethany Wade, from the Department of History, and Sarah Kennedy, from the Department of Anthropology, are serving concurrent appointments as Graduate Student Assistants in Public History for the Spring 2019 term.  Bethany's project explores the practice of exhuming and relocating bodies in the Caribbean and the United States by focusing on the experience of migrant and immigrant communities. Sarah's project explores the social dynamics of historic mining camps in Peru and the United States by focusing on periods of conflict related to unfair labor practices.  Please visit each student's project page to learn more (below) and check back to this website at the conclusion of the term to view their results. 

Summer 2018 GSA Andréa Hanna

Andréa Hanna, from the Department of Communications and Rhetoric, served as the WHC Graduate Student Assistant during the Summer I session in 2018.  Her project, "A Transmutation of St. Anthony's Relic-Reliquaries and the Troy Hill Community", explored how European Catholic relics, imported to America, helped reconstruct the identity of Pittsburgh's Germanic immigrant community in Troy Hill during the 19th century.  Through interviews with community members and church leadership, the project put the many thousands of Catholic relics in St Anthony’s chapel into dialogue with Troy Hill residents as they shared their memories and relationships with these transregional objects.    

Andréa delivered a public lecture on her research on August 27th, 2018 at St. Anthony's Chapel.  The event was very well attended and brought together Troy Hill community members, church leaders, and faculty members from several different departments at Pitt. Additional information about Andréa's research and a video of her public lecture are available by request.   

Spring 2018 GSAs Alex Mountain and Cory Brazile

Two graduate students from the Department of History served as the first GSAs in Public History for the WHC in the Spring of 2018.  After submitting a joint proposal, Alex Mountain and Cory Brazile were selected to work on an oral history project about the impact of the increasingly global nature of sports on youth sports in Pittsburgh over the last fifty years. Alex examined the transformation of ice hockey from a regional sport, popular only in the northern enclaves of North America, to a global, commercial network of teams and players.  Cory investigated the impact of the global trends of professionalization in sport on local youth soccer programs.

At the conclusion of their research, Alex and Cory created the website City of Champyinz. The site hosts video compilations of the interviews they conducted throughout the term.    

In addition to the website, Alex and Cory secured a partnership with the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Heinz History Center.  Some of their work has been integrated into the Museum's exhibition on sports in Pittsburgh. Specifically, the interviews they conducted contribute to the current collection of oral histories and were featured on the Heinz "Making History Blog".