Cara Daggett

Cara Daggett

Senior Fellow

cara [dot] daggett [at] rifs-potsdam [dot] de

Cara New Daggett is a writer and scholar with an interest in the politics of energy and the environment, feminist approaches to science and technology, and histories of empire. Since 2017, she has been a faculty member of the Department of Political Science at Virginia Tech, where she is now an associate professor.

Her book, The Birth of Energy: Fossil Fuels, Thermodynamics, and the Politics of Work (Duke, 2019), was awarded the Clay Morgan Award for best book in environmental political theory and the Yale H. Ferguson Book Award from the International Association Northeast and has been translated into multiple languages.

Her work has been published in journals including Environmental Politics, Energy Research & Social Science, Millennium: Journal of International Studies and the International Feminist Journal of Politics. She has also enjoyed public-facing writing, podcasting, and engagements with artists and architects around questions of energy - especially how human and nonhuman activities are organized and valued as energy.

  • 2023: Research fellow, Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS), Potsdam
  • 2017-current: Associate professor, Department of Political Science, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia; Faculty Affiliate of the Department of Science, Technology and Society and the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought (ASPECT) Ph.D. program
  • 2016-2017 Provost Postdoctoral Scholar University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida


  • Ph.D. in political science, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, 2016
  • MSc in international relations, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK, 2005
  • AB in biochemical sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 2002
  • cultural and political dimensions of solar and wind energy
  • degrowth and cultural attachments to energy intensive ways of life
  • ecofeminist approaches to the history of extraction and empire

Publications prior to joining the RIFS


  • 2023. Petro-masculinité. Trans. Clément Amézieux. Marseille, France: Éditions Wildproject.
  • 2019. The Birth of Energy: Fossil Fuels, Thermodynamics and the Politics of Work. Duke University Press.


  • 2023. Sovacool, B., S. Bell, C. Daggett, J. Firestone, L. Naylor, M. Lennon, J. Klinger, C. Labuski, and K. Leonard. "Pluralizing Energy Justice: Incorporating Feminist, Anti-Racist, Indigenous, and Postcolonial Perspectives." Energy Research & Social Science.
  • 2020. "Energy and Domination: Contesting the Fossil Myth of Fuel Expansion." Environmental Politics 30.4: 644-662.
  • 2020. "Toward Feminist Energy Systems: Why Adding Women and Solar Panels is Not Enough." Co-authored with Shannon Elizabeth Bell and Christine Labuski. Energy Research & Social Science 68 (October).
  • 2018. "Petro-masculinity: Fossil Fuels and Authoritarian Desire." Millennium: Journal of International Studies 47.1: 25-44.


  • forthcoming. "A Politics of Solar Abundance." In Solarities: Inflections and Refractions. Eds. Jeff Diamanti, Cymene Howe, and Amelia Moore. Punctum Press.
  • 2020. "Earthborn: Maternity and Natality on a Hurting Planet." In Troubling Motherhood: Maternity in Global Politics. Eds. Laura Shepherd, Anna Weissman and Lucy Hall, Oxford University Press.
  • 2020. "Thermodynamics." In A Lexicon for an Anthropocene Yet Unseen. Eds. Cymene Howe and Anand Pandian. Punctum Press.
  • 2019. "World-Viewing as World-Making: Feminist technoscience and the aesthetics of the Anthropocene." In Science, Technology and Art in International Relations. Eds. Madeline Carr, Renee Marlin-Bennett and Jatinder P. Singh. New York: Routledge.


  • 2022. "Green-ing masculinity?" Autonomy, July 12, available at
  • 2022. "Petro-masculinity and the politics of climate refusal." Autonomy, May 1, available at
  • 2020. "The Melodrama of Climate Change Denial," interview in Green European Journal, March 11, available at
  • 2019. "Fight or switch? How the low-carbon transition is disrupting fossil fuel politics," The Conversation, Nov 22. [Over 11,000 readers, picked up by various news outlets including San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and Houston Chronicle.]


  • 2023. "Desiring Energy: Toxic Fantasies of Fuel, Freedom, and Work." Post-work ecologies. Queen Mary University, London. June 8.
  • 2022. "Renewable Masculinities." Petrocultures Annual Conference, Stavanger, Norway, August 25-27.
  • 2022. "Renewable Masculinities." Energy and Climate Transformations: 3rd International Conference on Energy Research & Social Science, Manchester, UK, June 20-23.
  • 2020. "Energy: A Geo-Theology of Work." Towards a new eco-social imagination: Narratives and transitions in the face of the crisis of civilization. MACBA Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain, March 5.
  • 2019. "Genre Trouble on a Warming Planet: Countering Far Right Melodrama." Political Ecologies of the Far Right. Lund University, Lund, Sweden, November 15-17.
  • 2021. Allan Schnaiberg Outstanding Publication Award for "Toward Feminist Energy Systems," co-authored with Shannon E. Bell and Christine Labuski, presented by the Environmental Sociology Section of the American Sociology Association
  • 2021. Albert Lee Sturm Award for Faculty Excellence in Research, presented by the Mu of Virginia Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at Virginia Tech
  • 2020-2021. Excellence in Research and Creative Scholarship Award from the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
  • 2020. Yale H. Ferguson Book Award presented by the International Studies Association-Northeast, for "the book that most advances the vibrancy of international studies as a pluralist discipline"
  • 2020. Clay Morgan Book Award for the Best Book in Environmental Political Theory, presented by the Environmental Political Theory Section of the Western Political Science Association
  • 2017. A. Leroy Bennett Award, for the best paper presented at the 2016 ISA Northeast Regional Conference by a scholar who holds a PhD