Miller Center

Stephen Macekura

History, University of Virginia

Of Limits and Growth: Environmentalism and the Rise of 'Sustainable Development' in the Twentieth Century

Macekura photo

Stephen Macekura is Assistant Professor of International Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. He received a Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia in 2013, and then was a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute, where he continues to serve as the associate director of the Program on Culture, Capitalism, and Global Change.

Macekura's scholarly work explores the history of the United States in the world, global environmental history, and the history of political economy. Other interests include the history of international development, civil society, and human rights.

Macekura is currently at work on two book-length projects. The first is a book manuscript entitled Of Limits and Growth: Global Environmentalism and the Rise of ‘Sustainable Development’ in the Twentieth Century under contract with Cambridge University Press. The book chronicles the tensions between economic growth, modernization, and environmental protection worldwide from the late 1940s through the early 1990s. In particular, it charts the rise and evolution of international environmentalism as environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) struggled to implement environmental protection measures in the developing world in the 1950s and 1960s and then critiqued and reformed the development approaches of the U.S. government, World Bank, and UN system in the 1970s and 1980s. The second is a book-length project that explores various critiques of “economic growth” since the 1960s by revealing how reformers have challenged and sought to rethink the ways in which the concept of “growth” has been measured.
His writing has been published by Cold War History, The Journal of Policy History, Political Science Quarterly, and The Hedgehog Review.

Fellowship year: 2013

Mentor: John McNeill, Georgetown University

Selected Recent Publications

“Development and Economic Growth: An Intellectual History,” in Iris Borowy and Matthias Schmelzer, eds. History of the Future of Economic Growth: Historical Roots of Current Debates on Sustainable Degrowth (London: Routledge, forthcoming 2017).
“Crisis and Opportunity: Environmental NGOs, Debt-for-Nature Swaps, and the Rise of ‘People-Centered’ Conservation,” Environment and History, Vol. 22, No. 1 (February 2016), 49-74.

Of Limits and Growth: Global Environmentalism and the Rise of ‘Sustainable Development’ in the Twentieth Century (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015). 

Our Mis-Leading Indicators.PublicBooks, September 15, 2014.

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