Skip navigation

Dr Rebecca Wright

Assistant Professor

Department: Humanities

Rebecca is a social and cultural historian of energy, with a particular interest in the growth of American energy consumption in the twentieth century.   


Before to joining the faculty at Northumbria in 2018, Rebecca was a Research Fellow in Future Health at the University of York in the Centre for Global Health Histories. Prior to this she was a Research Fellow in Mass Observation Studies at the University of Sussex (2017) and a Research Fellow on the AHRC collaborative project ‘Material Cultures of Energy,’ Birkbeck College (2014-16). She is currently finishing a book manuscript, Moral Energy in America: From the Progressive Era to the Atomic Bomb which explores the birth of an ‘energy consciousness’ in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century.


Rebecca Wright


Rebecca’s research explores cultural approaches to the history of energy, with a focus on twentieth-century American history. This includes examinations of the cultural meanings and emotions attached to energy, and the role of epistemological models, experts and international organizations in influencing the development of energy systems and energy policy.


Her current research examines how the American body became carbonised over the twentieth century. She explores how the body was used as a way to build, as well as balance, energy systems and energy load. As part of this project, she is particularly interested in the hidden role of health officials and health reformers in the energy industry and energy policy. In broadening understandings of how models of health and well-being were bound into energy networks, her research considers what role health and the medical humanities might have in developing sustainable low-carbon energy futures.


Alongside research in energy, Rebecca is also interested in the application and impacts of digital methods within humanities and historical research.

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • 68 Degrees: New York Heat and Hot Water Code as an Invisible Energy Policy, Wright, R. 1 Oct 2023, In: Environmental History
  • Transforming innovation for decarbonisation? Insights from combining complex systems and social practice perspectives, Labanca, N., Pereira, Â., Watson, M., Krieger, K., Padovan, D., Watts, L., Moezzi, M., Wallenborn, G., Wright, R., Laes, E., Fath, B., Ruzzenenti, F., De Moor, T., Bauwens, T., Mehta, L. 1 Jul 2020, In: Energy Research and Social Science
  • Power, Energy and International Cooperation: A History of the World Energy Council, Wright, R., Shin, H., Trentmann, F. 1 Aug 2019
  • Typewriting Mass Observation Online: Media Imprints on the Digital Archive, Wright, R. 1 Apr 2019, In: History Workshop Journal
  • Mass Observation and the Emotional Energy Consumer, Wright, R. 2018, In: Canadian Journal of History
  • The Economics of Aesthetics at Southern California Edison, Wright, R. 1 Aug 2018, In: Environment, Space, Place
  • The Social Life of Energy Futures: Experts, Consumers, and Demand in the Golden Age of Modernisation, Wright, R., Trentmann, F. 4 Oct 2018, Work in Progress, Munich, Oekom Verlag
  • Connecting Past, Present and Future, Wright, R., Pooley, C. Apr 2017, In: Interactions
  • Curls: Theorizing the Contemporary, Wright, R. 19 Dec 2017, In: Cultural Anthropology
  • Sunspots and Sync, Wright, R. 23 Jul 2015, Energy in Literature, Oxford, TrueHeart Press

  • Humanities PhD December 30 2015
  • MA July 01 2010
  • BA (Hons) October 30 2009

a sign in front of a crowd

Northumbria Open Days

Open Days are a great way for you to get a feel of the University, the city of Newcastle upon Tyne and the course(s) you are interested in.

Research at Northumbria

Research at Northumbria

Research is the life blood of a University and at Northumbria University we pride ourselves on research that makes a difference; research that has application and affects people's lives.

NU World

Explore NU World

Find out what life here is all about. From studying to socialising, term time to downtime, we’ve got it covered.

Latest News and Features

Act Now, Common Sense Policy Group
Nigel Coates Business Clinic
THE Impact rankings
Architecture Apprenticeship Handbook cover
Pictured from left to right are Northumbria University academics Dr Qiang Wu, Dr Juna Sathian, Professor Zabih Ghassemlooy, Dr Yongtao Qu and Dr Xicong Li.
gettyimages/Kobus Louw
More news
More events

Upcoming events

REVEAL: Architecture
REVEAL: Industrial Design
REVEAL: Graphic Design

Back to top