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Bryan McDonald

Bryan McDonald

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


I am a historian of modern America with research and teaching interests in food, environment and security. I am currently working on a book project exploring food as a security issue in modern American history. 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 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).  I have published more than 25 articles, book chapters and reviews as well as numerous commentaries and policy documents.

Selected Publications:

"Learning from Failure: Postwar Efforts to Establish a World Food Reserve." Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 8, no. 4 (2018): 1-15.

  • Recipient of International Award for Excellence for Volume 8 of Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal. 

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

"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:

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

Member, Sustainable Food Systems Program Steering Committee, 2018-present

Sherwin Early Career Professor in the Rock Ethics Institute, Pennsylvania State University, 2016-2018

Faculty Excellence in Sustainability Award, College of the Liberal Arts, The Pennsylvania State University, 2017

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

Recent Courses:

HIST 021 - American Civilization Since 1877

HIST 110 - Nature and History

HIST 111 -  Introduction to U.S. Food History

HIST 302 - Undergraduate Seminar

HIST 453 - American Environmental History

HIST 597 - Graduate Research Seminar in American Environmental History

Research Interests:

Food History, Environmental History, Recent American History

Areas of Specialization:

Twentieth Century U.S.: