Meet John McNeill, PhD

John McNeill

John McNeill was born and raised in Chicago and remains passionately devoted to the professional sports teams of the Windy City. He earned, or at any rate was awarded, a B.A. from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. from Duke University. Since 1985 he has cheerfully served two masters, as a faculty member of the School of Foreign Service and History Department at Georgetown. From 2003 until 2006 he held the Cinco Hermanos Chair in Environmental and International Affairs, until his appointment as University Professor. He teaches world history, environmental history, and international history at Georgetown; and writes books, and directs Ph.D. students, mainly in environmental history. He has served as president of both the American Society for Environmental History (2011-13) and the American Historical Association (2019), and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academia Europaea.

Featured media, scholarship, and events

Sea and Land An Environmental History of the Caribbean cover

Sea and Land: An Environmental History of the Caribbean

May 13th, 2022

This book, co-authored by John McNeill, Philip J. Morgan, Matthew Mulcahy, and Stuart B. Schwartz, delves into the environment and ecology of the Caribbean, exploring issues concerning natural resources, conservation, epidemiology, and climate.…

Yersinia Pestis (plague) bacteria

John McNeill Was a Guest Speaker at MIT’s “Plants and Plagues” Session

November 13th, 2020

John McNeill was a guest speaker at the MIT’s “Plants and Plagues” session, which was part of the History of Now: Plagues and Pandemic free webinar course. This course focused on the history of infectious disease, looking transnationally and across disciplines at how plagues and pandemics have made an impact on human and non-human history.…

Brochure of the AHA 2020 Annual Meeting Presidential Address

“Peak Document and the Future of History”

February 3rd, 2020

“Peak Document and the Future of History” was John McNeill’s 2019 presidential address at the AHA annual meeting. In his address, McNeill talked about the use of historical sources that do not come in the written form, but from the natural sciences and archaeology.…

Natascha De Vasconcellos Otoya and John McNeill

Natascha de Vasconcellos Otoya Interviewed Professor John McNeill

November 29th, 2017

Natascha De Vasconcellos Otoya, History PhD student and one of our 2021-2022 Research Fellowships recipients, interviewed Professor John McNeill about his work on global environmental history, the trajectory of the field, and the practical challenges of writing history on a global scale.…