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Cara Daggett

Dr. Daggett, Associate Professor

Cara Daggett
Dr. Daggett, Associate Professor

Department of Political Science 
531 Major Williams Hall (0130)
220 Stanger Street 
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Cara Daggett is an associate professor of political science in the Department of Political Science at Virginia Tech.

Her research explores the politics of energy and the environment in an era of planetary disruption. She is interested in questions that lie at the nexus of human well-being, science, technology, and the more-than-human world. Her work often draws upon feminist approaches to power in order to understand how global warming emerged, as well as how it might be mitigated.

Daggett’s 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. The Birth of Energy traces the genealogy of energy back to the nineteenth-century science of thermodynamics to challenge the underlying logic that informs today’s uses of energy. The book argues that only by transforming the politics of work — most notably, the veneration of waged work — will we be able to confront the Anthropocene's energy problem.

Daggett has also published several academic articles and book chapters, including in Environmental Politics, Energy Research & Social Science, Millennium: Journal of International Studies and in the International Feminist Journal of Politics, for which she won the journal’s 2015 Enloe Award. She has presented her work at many national and international conferences, and was awarded the 2017 A. Leroy Bennett Award for the best paper presented by a faculty member at the 2016 ISA Northeast conference.

Daggett holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemical sciences from Harvard University, a master’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a doctorate in political science from Johns Hopkins University.

  • Energy Studies
  • Political Ecology
  • Environmental Politics
  • Feminist Political Thought
  • Global Studies/ International Relations
  • PhD, Political Science, Johns Hopkins University, 2016
  • MSc, International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science, 2005
  • AB, Biochemical Sciences, Harvard University, 1998
  • Climate Committee, Western Political Science Association
  • Member, International Studies Association
  • Governing Council member, International Studies Association Northeast
  • Clay Morgan Award for Best Book in Environmental Political Theory, for The Birth of Energy (Duke 2019)
  • A. Leroy Bennett Award, for the best paper presented at the 2016 ISA Northeast Regional Conference by a scholar who holds a PhD
  • Enloe Award, International Feminist Journal of Politics, 2015
  • Dean’s Teaching Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University, 2015
  • Paul McCoy Award for the Most Distinguished Graduate Political Science Paper, Johns Hopkins University Department of Political Science, 2009


  • The Birth of Energy: Fossil Fuels, Thermodynamics and the Politics of Work (Duke University Press, 2019).

Journal Articles

  • “Energy and Domination: Contesting the Fossil Myth of Fuel Expansion.” Environmental Politics (online first, August 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 2020).
  •  “Petro-masculinity: Fossil Fuels and Authoritarian Desire.” Millennium: Journal of International Studies 47.1 (2018): 25-44.
  • “Drone Disorientations: How ‘Unmanned’ Weapons Queer the Experience of Killing in War.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 17.3 (2016): 361-379.

Book Chapters

  • “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, 2020).
  • “World-Viewing as World-Making: Feminist technoscience and the aesthetics of the Anthropocene.” In Worldviews in Science, Technology and Art in International Relations, eds. Madeline Carr, Renee Marlin-Bennett and Jatinder P. Singh. (Routledge, 2019).

Other Publications


  • “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, 2020.
  • “Genre Trouble on a Warming Planet: Countering Far Right Melodrama,” Keynote for Political Ecologies of the Far Right, Lund University, Sweden, November 15-17, 2019.
  • “Energy and Climate Change,” Advancing the Human Condition Symposium, Global Climate Change Section, Virginia Tech, November 28, 2018.
  • “Petro-masculinity: Fossil Fuels and Authoritarian Desires,” Virginia Tech Women’s and Gender Studies research dinner, October 11, 2018.
  • “Energy at Work: Thermodynamics and Fossil Ethics in the Anthropocene,” Virginia Tech Department of Science and Technology in Society seminar series, November 10, 2017.
  • “Fossil Knowledges: Evolution, Energy and Empire in the Nineteenth Century,” Johns Hopkins University Department of Political Science Colloquium, March 6, 2015.


  • Energy and Global Politics
  • International Relations
  • Global Security


  • Politics of Future Life
  • Capitalism from the Margins
  • Consumption

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