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Georgetown Professor Elected President of the American Historical Association

July 21, 2017 – University Professor John R. McNeill, a prominent environmental historian at Georgetown, has been elected president of the American Historical Association.

McNeill, best known for his book, Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the 20th-Century World (W.W. Norton, 2000), will serve in the position from January 2019 to January 2020, but will be heavily involved in AHA matters as president elect.

McNeill has previous experience with the Association, having headed the research division as one of three vice-presidents between 2012 and 2015.

“I am pleased by the trust AHA voters placed in me and look forward to doing my best for historians across the country,” McNeill said.

The American Historical Association is the largest professional organization serving historians in all fields and professions, including academia.

The professor also served as president of the American Society for Environmental History (2011-2013).

McNeill is the author or co-author of six books, most recently The Great Acceleration: An Environmental History of the Anthropocene since 1945 (Harvard University Press, 2016), with Peter Engelke, and has edited or co-edited more than 15 other books.

His current book project is a global environmental history of the Industrial Revolution. 

“I will emphasize the long-distance linkages between the manufacturing centers of the 19th century and the ecological tumult in zones of raw material supply – the cotton fields and copper mines of the world,” McNeill explains.

The professor has held two Fulbright Awards, a Guggenheim fellowship, a MacArthur Grant and a fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

Between 2003 until 2006, he held the Cinco Hermanos Chair in Environmental and International Affairs at Georgetown, where he has appointments in both the history department and the School of Foreign Service. 

"We congratulate Professor John McNeill, who is an ideal choice to be named President-elect of the American Historical Association,” says Georgetown Provost Robert Groves. “His leadership and scholarship in the area of environmental history have earned him the respect of colleagues across the country."