J. R. McNeill
John Robert McNeill (born October 6, 1954) is an American environmental historian, author, and professor at Georgetown University. He is best known for authoring Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-century World.
Life and career
McNeill was born in Chicago, Illinois. His father is the noted University of Chicago historian William H. McNeill, with whom he co-authored the book, The Human Web: A Bird's-eye View of World History (New York: Norton, 2003).
J. R. McNeill received his BA from Swarthmore College in 1975, then went on to Duke University where he completed his MA (1977) and PhD (1981). In 1985 he became a faculty member at Georgetown University, where he serves in both the History Department and the Walsh School of Foreign Service. From 2003 to 2006, he held the Cinco Hermanos Chair in Environmental History and International Affairs, until his appointment as University Professor. He has held two Fulbright Awards, a Guggenheim fellowship, a MacArthur Grant, and a fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson Center. He was president of the American Society for Environmental History (2011–13) and headed the Research Division of the American Historical Association, as one of its three Vice-Presidents (2012–15).
McNeill has published more than 50 scholarly articles in professional and scientific journals. McNeill's most well-known work is Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-century World, which documents the dramatic ways humankind has changed the Earth. The book won the 2000 World History Association Book Prize, the Forest Society book prize, among other awards, and has been translated into nine languages.
His other books include The Atlantic Empires of France and Spain, 1700-1765 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985); Atlantic American Societies from Columbus through Abolition (co-edited, London: Routledge, 1992); The Mountains of the Mediterranean World: An Environmental History (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992); The Environmental History of the Pacific World (edited, London: Variorum, 2001); the Encyclopedia of World Environmental History (co-edited, New York: Routledge, 2003); The Human Web: A Bird's-eye View of World History (New York: Norton, 2003), which he co-authored with his father William H. McNeill; Rethinking Environmental History: World System History and Global Environmental Change (co-edited, AltaMira Press, 2007), Environmental Histories of the Cold War (co-edited, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010); The Cambridge World History vol 7a: Structures, Spaces, and Boundary-making (Cambridge University Press, 2015, co-edited with Ken Pomeranz); and The Cambridge World History vol 7b: Shared Transformations (Cambridge University Press 2015, co-edited with Ken Pomeranz).
McNeill's latest book is Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1620-1914 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010). He is working on an environmental history of the Industrial Revolution.
- With Peter Engelke: The Great Acceleration: An Environmental History of the Anthropocene since 1945. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2016, ISBN 978-0-674-54503-8.
- Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1640-1914. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010, ISBN 978-0-521-45910-5.
- With William Hardy McNeill: The Human Web: A Bird’s-eye View of World History. New York: Norton, 2003, ISBN 978-0-393-92568-5.
- Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the 20th-Century World. New York: Norton, 2000, ISBN 978-0-140-29509-2.
- The Mountains of the Mediterranean World: An Environmental History. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992, ISBN 978-0-521-52288-5.
- The Atlantic Empires of France and Spain: Louisbourg and Havana, 1700-1763. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1985, ISBN 978-0-807-86567-5.
Selected publications in peer-reviewed journals
- Colin N. Waters et al.:The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene. In: Science 351, No. 6269 (2016) doi:10.1126/science.aad2622.
- Will Steffen, Paul J. Crutzen, John R. McNeill, The Anthropocene: Are Humans Now Overwhelming the Great Forces of Nature. In: AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 36, Issue 8, (2007), 614-621, doi:10.1579/0044-7447(2007)36[614:TAAHNO]2.0.CO;2.
- John R. McNeill, Verena Winiwarter, Breaking the Sod: Humankind, History, and Soil. In: Science 304, No. 5677 (2004), 1627-1629, doi:10.1126/science.1099893.
- John R. McNeill, Observations on the Nature and Culture of Environmental History. In: History and Theory 42, Issue 4, (2003), 5-43, doi:10.1046/j.1468-2303.2003.00255.x.
Awards and honors
- 2001: World History Association Book Prize, Something New Under The Sun
- 2001: Forest Society Book Prize, Something New Under The Sun
- 2010: Toynbee Prize, "academic and public contributions to humanity."
- 2010: Beveridge Award of the American Historical Association, Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1620-1914
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- J. R. McNeill (2010-10-18). "Malarial mosquitoes helped defeat British in battle that ended Revolutionary War". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-10-18.