Personal profile


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.


Research interests


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.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

Education/Academic qualification

Humanities, PhD, Birkbeck University of London

30 Jun 201531 Dec 2099

Award Date: 30 Dec 2015

MA, Courtauld Institute of Art

Award Date: 1 Jul 2010

BA (Hons), Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Award Date: 30 Oct 2009


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