Dr. McDonald is Assistant Professor of History at Penn State. His research focuses on recent American environmental history and environmental studies with a particular focus on the ways interactions between humans and the environment have changed the landscape of political and security challenges facing the United States since the end of World War II. His first book, Food Security, explored how understandings of world food problems shifted during the late twentieth century. He is currently at work on a book project that examines the environmental history of the American food system from 1945 to 2000. He is also the co-editor of two books that examine challenges to human security: Global Environmental Change and Human Security and Landmines and Human Security: International Politics and War’s Hidden Legacy. His articles and reviews have appeared in Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, The Environmental Change and Security Project Report, Global Environmental Politics, Environment, and The Natural Resources Journal among others. He holds a Ph.D. in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine, and an M.A. in Political Science from Virginia Tech and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Unconventional Security Affairs at the University of California, Irvine.
As an environmental historian, my work explores how interactions between humans and the environment have changed the landscape of challenges to the security of nations and people since the end of World War II. I have a particular interest in transnational human security threats, including the origins and implications of the rise of a network of global food systems. My first book, Food Security, explored how understandings of world food problems changed during the late twentieth century. I am also co-editor of two books that examine challenges to human security in greater detail: Global Environmental Change and Human Security and Landmines and Human Security: International Politics and War’s Hidden Legacy.
In previous research, I participated in projects that investigated the origins and effects of new security challenges on people and societies. A strong theme that runs through my research is bringing to bear an environmental history perspective on policy-relevant topics such as urban security, global health concerns, terrorism, and food security (including food terrorism, food safety, and food defense).
I am currently at work on an environmental history of the American food system from 1945 to 1995 that examines the expanding and sometimes contradictory understandings of issues that are key to America’s national security. I am also involved with a project that investigates the nexus between energy, security, and terrorism, especially the ways that new technologies and energy supplies will shift the geopolitical and global security landscape in the coming decades.
McDonald, B. 2010. Food Security. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Matthew, R.A., Barnett, J., McDonald, B.L., O’Brien, K.L., eds. 2009. Global Environmental Change and Human Security. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
McDonald, B., Matthew, R.A., Rutherford, K.R., eds. 2004. Landmines and Human Security: International Politics and War’s Hidden Legacy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
McDonald, B., Shambaugh, G.E., Matthew, R.A., Silver, R.C., Poulin, M., and Blum, S. 2010. “Public Perceptions of Traumatic Events and Policy Preferences during the George W. Bush Administration: A Portrait of America in Turbulent Times.” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 33 (1):55–91.
McDonald, B. 2009. Contributing author. From Conflict to Peacebuilding: The Role of Natural Resources and the Environment. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme.
McDonald, B., Matthew, R.A., Shambaugh, G.E. IV. 2008. “Post–9/11 America: Conventional Wisdom versus Popular Pragmatism.” Democracy & Society 5 (2):1, 20–24.
McDonald, B. and Matthew, R.A. 2006. “Cities under Siege: Urban Planning and the Threat of Infectious Disease.” Journal of the American Planning Association 72 (1):109–117.
McDonald, B. 2011 (forthcoming). “Ensuring Food Security: Meeting Challenges from Malnutrition, Biological Threats and Environmental Change.” In Environmental Security: Frameworks for Analysis, eds. R. Floyd and R. Matthew.
McDonald, B., Matthew, R.A., and Goldsworthy, H.D., eds. 2009. “Environmental Ethics.” In The Ethics of Global Governance, ed. A. Franceschet, 141–158. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.
McDonald, B. and Matthew, R.A. 2009. “Environmental Security: Academic and Policy Debates in North America.” In Facing Global Environmental Change: Environmental, Human, Energy, Food, Health and Water Security Concepts, ed. H.G. Brauch, 791–802. Berlin: Springer–Verlag.
McDonald, B. 2009. “Global Health and Human Security: Addressing Impacts from Globalization and Environmental Change.” In Global Environmental Change and Human Security, eds. R. Matthew, J. Barnett, B.L. McDonald, and K. O’Brien. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.