• Faculty
  • Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
  • Arts and Humanities
Accolades & Honors

Ruth Mostern publishes new book

Ruth Mostern smiling with black and white shirt and necklace

Ruth Mostern, associate professor in the University of Pittsburgh Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Department of History and director of Pitt’s World History Center, has published her new book titled “The Yellow River: A Natural and Unnatural History.”

Using the Yellow River as the backdrop, Mostern traces China’s history from the Neolithic times to the present day, illustrating the long-term effects of interactions between humans and the natural landscape.

To provide a more comprehensive accounting of what transpired throughout China’s history, Mostern developed geographical information system maps and databases that allowed her to pinpoint down to the decade where settlements occurred and when they pushed onto the fragile parts of the grassland, causing major erosion. The maps and databases also allowed Mostern to examine the relationship between the erosion that was happening upstream and the flooding taking place downstream as well as the effects that infrastructure had on the landscape.