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Bryan McDonald

Sherwin Early Career Professor in the Rock Ethics Institute

Associate Professor of History

402 Weaver Building

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. PhD, University of California, Irvine, 2008
  2. MA, Virginia Tech, 1999
  3. BA, Virginia Tech, 1997


My research focuses on the intersection of environment and security around food in American history since the end of World War II. My most recent book, Food Power: The Rise and Fall of the Postwar American Food System(Oxford University Press, 2017), explores how food was deployed in the first decades of the Cold War to promote American national security and national interests. My next book project uses history and ethics to examine American ideas of good food during the twentieth century and considers the political and social implications of food values like local, safe, and natural. My first book, Food Security (Polity Press, 2010), investigated the late twentieth century origins of contemporary food security challenges. I am also the co-editor of two books that examine challenges to human security: Global Environmental Change and Human Security (MIT Press, 2009) and Landmines and Human Security: International Politics and War’s Hidden Legacy (SUNY Press, 2004). My articles and reviews have appeared in Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs, Global Environmental PoliticsJournal of Agricultural and Environmental EthicsStudies in Conflict and TerrorismEnvironment, The Environmental Change and Security Project Report, Global Environmental Politics, and The Natural Resources Journal, among others.

Recent Publications:

Food Power: The Rise and Fall of the Postwar American Food System. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.

“What to Eat After an Atomic Bomb: Food and Security in Early Cold War America.” Journal of Cold War Studies(accepted for publication).

“Food as a Key Resource for Security and Stability: Implications of Changes in the Global Food System 1950-2000.” Journal of Law and International Affairs 3, no. 2 (2015): 42-55.

Food Security. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2010.

Co-editor with Richard A. Matthew, Jon Barnett, and Karen L. O'Brien. Global Environmental Change and Human Security. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2009.

Awards and Service:

Chair, College of the Liberal Arts Green Steering Committee, 2015 - present

Co-Investigator with Lara Fowler (Principal Investigator), Chris Forest, Jonathan Marks, Sarah Clark Miller, Tom Richard, Anna Sewell, Nancy Tuana and Petra Tschakert. “Climate Change and Conflict Management,” Penn State Sustainability Institute, Penn State University

Residential Fellowship, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, The Pennsylvania State University, 2013-2014

Postdoctoral Scholar, Center for Unconventional Security Affairs, University of California, Irvine, 2008-2010

Recent Courses:

HIST 021 - American Civilization Since 1877
HIST 110 - Nature and History
HIST 111 - American Food System: History, Technology, and Culture
HIST 302M - Undergraduate Seminar
HIST 453 - American Environmental History

Research Interests:

Environmental History, Food History, Recent American History

Areas of Specialization:

Twentieth Century U.S.: