Rebecca Wright

Rebecca Wright


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Personal profile


Rebecca Wright is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Future Health. Based in the Centre for Global Health Histories her current project Powering Health: Energy and Wellbeing in the UK and U.S, 1900-1970, explores the intersections between the histories of energy and health in the twentieth century.

Before arriving at York, Rebecca was a Research Fellow in Mass Observation Studies at the University of Sussex and on the AHRC collaborative project "Material Cultures of Energy: Transitions, Disruptions and Everyday Life in the Twentieth Century,” Birkbeck College. 

She completed her PhD at Birkbeck College in 2016, and has held fellowships at the Library of Congress, and the Huntington Library in California. She has taught American history and cultural studies at Birkbeck College.

Research interests

Rebecca’s research examines the cultural and social factors that surround energy systems and shape demand. This ranges from the meanings and emotions attached to energy practices, to the role of experts, epistemological models and international organizations in structuring energy systems and policy.

Her current project looks at the intersections between the histories of energy and health. It considers how new models of health shaped energy demand in the twentieth century, as well as how health was used by the energy sector to expand systems, build competitive advantage, and fix demand. By uncovering how and why health became “carbonized” in the twentieth century, her research asks what role our bodies have in developing sustainable low carbon societies in the future.  

Rebecca has published and forthcoming articles in journals including Interactions, and Environment, Space and Place, as well as in edited collections. A book, co-authored with Hiroki Shin and Frank Trentmann, Power, Energy and International Cooperation: A History of the World Energy Council, 1923-2018, is forthcoming with Oekom Press next year. She is also working on another book project, Moral Energy in America: From the Progressive Era to the Atomic Bomb.