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McKay Jenkins

Cornelius Tilghman Professor of English
114 Memorial Hall
 

Biography

McKay Jenkins is a writer, professor, restoration ecologist and urban farmer. He has published nine books and many articles and essays about the natural world and social justice. His forthcoming book The Maryland Naturalist (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2024) is a collection of natural history essays that will serve as the primary text for the Maryland State Master Naturalist Certification Program. His book The Delaware Naturalist Handbook (University of Delaware Press, 2020, co-edited with Susan Barton), serves as the primary text for the Delaware State Master Naturalist Certification Program.

Jenkins other books include Food Fight: GMOs and the Future of the American Diet (Avery, 2017); Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA (co-authored with Evaggelos Vallianatos) (Bloomsbury, 2014); and ContamiNation: My Quest to Survive in a Toxic World (Avery, 2016), originally published as What’s Gotten Into Us: Staying Healthy in a Toxic World (Random House, 2011), which chronicled his investigation into the myriad synthetic chemicals we encounter in our daily lives, and the growing body of evidence about the harm these chemicals do to our bodies and the environment.

Earlier books include Bloody Falls of the Coppermine: Madness and Murder in the Arctic Barren Lands (Random House, 2005); The Last Ridge: The Epic Story of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division and the Assault on Hitler’s Europe (Random House, 2003); The White Death: Tragedy and Heroism in an Avalanche Zone (Random House, 2000); The South in Black and White: Race, Sex, and Literature in the 1940s (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1999); and The Peter Matthiessen Reader (Vintage, 2000).

Jenkins holds degrees from Amherst, Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, and Princeton, where he received a PhD in English. A former staff writer for the Atlanta Constitution, he has also written for Outside, Orion, The New Republic, and many other publications. Jenkins is currently the Cornelius Tilghman Professor of English, Journalism and Environmental Humanities at UD, where he has won the University Excellence in Teaching Award and both the Excellence in Teaching Award and the Outstanding Scholarship Award from the College of Arts and Sciences. He oversees the Rock Rose Food Justice Project, an urban farm in Baltimore, where he lives with his family.

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