About Me

I was born in Tours, France, in 1982. During the course of my undergraduate career in American and British Studies at the Université François-Rabelais, I studied abroad twice, both times in the United States. I spent my junior year at Davidson College, NC, where I discovered the benefits of a learner-centered education. After graduation, I took part in another one-year exchange program, this time at the University of Pittsburgh. At the end of my exchange, I chose to stay in Pittsburgh and enrolled in the MA/PhD program in history. My MA thesis explored the failure of prohibition enforcement in Pittsburgh over the course of the 1920s and early 1930s. It was published in the Spring 2010 issue of Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies. My dissertation examined the international response to syphilis before the advent of penicillin in the 1940s. I focused on Argentina and the United States and within these two countries on New York and Buenos Aires. In my spare time, I like to listen to music, watch movies and TV shows, cook, travel, watch the Yankees, and do CrossFit.

Contact Details

Julien Comte
A&S Advising Center
201 Thackeray Hall
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

(412) 624-6373
juc15@pitt.edu

Education

MA in History April 2008

Thesis: "'Let the Federal Men Raid': Bootlegging and Prohibition in Pittsburgh"

Université François-Rabelais

Master 1, with Mention Bien (magna cum laude) June 2005

Licence, with Mention Assez Bien (cum laude) June 2004

DEUG, with Mention Assez Bien (cum laude) June 2003

Major: American and British Studies
Minor: Linguistics

Teaching Experience

University of Pittsburgh

As instructor

  • ARTSC 0120 - First Experiences in Research (Spring 2014)
  • HIST 0501 - Modern Latin America (Fall 2011)
  • HIST 0601 - United States since the Civil War (Summer 2011)
  • FR 0003 - Intermediate French I (Fall 2005, Spring 2006)
  • FR 0058 - Advanced French Conversation (Spring 2006)

As teaching assistant

  • HIST 0100 - Western Civilization I (Prof. Bernard Hagerty) (Spring 2013)
  • HIST 0700 - World History (Prof. Diego Holstein) (Spring 2012)
  • HIST 1083 - History of Sports (Prof. Rob Ruck) (Spring 2009) (grader)
  • HIST 0600 - United States to 1877 (Prof. Richard Oestreicher) (Fall 2008)
  • HIST 0601 - United States since the Civil War (Prof. Rob Ruck) (Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2012)
  • HIST 0600 - United States to 1877 (Prof. Van Beck Hall) (Spring 2007)
  • HIST 0100 - Western Civilization I (Prof. Bruce L. Venarde) (Fall 2006)

Presentations and Publications

  • Abstinence, Sex Education, and Sublimation in the United States, 1900-1930, American Association for the History of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, May 2013
  • Atlantic Crisscrossings: Syphilis in New York and Buenos Aires, 1870-1945, American Historical Association, Chicago, IL, January 2012
  • Atlantic Crisscrossings: Syphilis in New York, Paris, and Buenos Aires, American Association for the History of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, May 2011
  • Globalization and Syphilis in Buenos Aires, Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies, Pittsburgh, PA, March 2011
  • Syphilis and Sodomy in Argentina and the United States, Women’s Studies Program Lecture Series, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, February 23, 2011
  • "'Let the Federal Men Raid': Bootlegging and Prohibition Enforcement in Pittsburgh," Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 77, no. 2 (Spring 2010): 166-92
  • “The Lesson of Prohibition,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 3, 2008
  • "Czars of their Wards": Bootlegging and Prohibition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Historical Association, State College, PA, October 2007

Honors and Awards

  • Robert G. Crist Pennsylvania History Prize for the best article published by a graduate student in Pennsylvania History during 2009-2010, October 2011
  • Hays Summer Research Grant, History Department, University of Pittsburgh, March 2009 and March 2011
  • Bordin-Gillette Researcher Travel Fellowship, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, November 2010
  • International Studies Fund, University Center for International Studies, University of Pittsburgh, April 2009 and April 2010
  • Summer Dissertation Research Award, European Union Center of Excellence/European Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh, April 2010
  • World History Predoctoral Fellowship, History Department, University of Pittsburgh, March 2010
  • Wood Institute Travel Grant, College of Physicians of Philadelphia, March 2010
  • Student Research Fund, Women’s Studies Program, University of Pittsburgh, June 2009 and February 2010
  • Carolyn Chambers Memorial Fellowship, History Department, University of Pittsburgh, September 2009
  • Clarke Chambers Travel Fellowship, Social Welfare History Archives, University of Minnesota, May 2009
  • Arts & Sciences Summer Fellowship, History Department, University of Pittsburgh, March 2009
  • Graduate Student Field Research Grant, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Pittsburgh, February 2009
  • Trans-Atlantic Summer Institute Fellowship, Center for German & European Studies, University of Minnesota, June 2008
  • Summer Research Fellowship, History Department, University of Pittsburgh, April 2007

Professional Service

  • Search committee member, Dietrich School Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pittsburgh (2013)
  • Panel organizer, 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association (2011)
  • External reviewer, Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies (2010)
  • TA Mentor, History Department, University of Pittsburgh (2009-2010)
  • Graduate Student Member, Arts & Sciences Graduate Council, University of Pittsburgh (2008-2010)
  • Vice-President, History Graduate Student Organization, University of Pittsburgh (2008-2009)
  • History Department Representative, Arts & Sciences Graduate Student Organization, University of Pittsburgh (2007-2008)

Research Experience

Languages

  • French (native), English (near-native fluency), Spanish (intermediate)

Syphilis and Sex: Transatlantic Medicine and Public Health
in Argentina and the United States, 1880-1940

The election of Barack Obama in 2008 reignited the debate over healthcare in the United States. Would the country overhaul its largely private and employer-based healthcare system? As the debate heated up, cross-national comparisons became central to the arguments of both sides. Opponents of universal healthcare cited Canada and the United Kingdom to illustrate the adverse aspects of a nationalized system: longer lines and rationed care. Meanwhile, supporters of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (informally known as “Obamacare”) and supporters of a single-payer system pointed out that the United States had the unfortunate distinction of being the only industrialized nation without a universal healthcare system. Invoking cross-national comparisons in healthcare debates has a long history. The development of public health, medicine, and science has depended on the ongoing spread of knowledge across territorial boundaries. Yet this spread has also been a crucial driver in the creation of boundaries: boundaries among people living within the same society, along lines of race, class, and gender, virtue or danger; but also boundaries between societies, from physical or legal borders to jingoistic contrasts. My dissertation sheds light on the impact of these connections and comparisons by exploring the international response to syphilis before the advent of penicillin in the 1940s. I focus on Argentina and the United States and within these two countries on New York and Buenos Aires. Since Paris, like New York and Buenos Aires, was an important node in a transatlantic system of scientific and policy exchange, I investigate first and foremost the connections between historical actors in France, Argentina, and the United States. In so doing, I emphasize the importance of transnational connections, comparisons, and mutual learning in public policy making.