Title The Birth of Energy
Subtitle Fossil Fuels, Thermodynamics, and the Politics of Work
Author Cara New Daggett
ISBN 9781478006329
List price GBP 21.99
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 280
Book size 153 x 229 mm
Publishing year 2019
Original publisher Duke University Press (Combined Academic Publishers)
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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“Cara New Daggett’s The Birth of Energy is a landmark work in the emergent field of energy humanities. In it, Daggett offers a brilliant genealogy of our modern conception of energy, explaining how Victorian empire, evolutionary theory, Presbyterianism, and thermodynamics helped to refashion the Aristotelian idea of energy as ‘dynamic virtue’ into a phenomenon having to do with the movement of matter and, above all, labor. Now facing a world warmed by burning fossil fuels, Daggett gives us a roadmap to thinking energy beyond the Protestant ethic of perpetual work.”

Dominic Boyer, author of Energopolitics: Wind and Power in the Anthropocene


“This complex, ambitious book represents a significant contribution to energy studies, offering an innovative history that situates the scientific discovery of energy within nineteenth-century cultures of imperialism, industrialization, and the governance of work. Cara New Daggett helps reframe the Anthropocene as the most recent realization of our profoundly misguided understanding of energy.”

Stephanie LeMenager, author of Living Oil: Petroleum Culture in the American Century


In The Birth of Energy Cara New Daggett traces the genealogy of contemporary notions of energy back to the nineteenth-century science of thermodynamics to challenge the underlying logic that informs today’s uses of energy. These early resource-based concepts of power first emerged during the Industrial Revolution and were tightly bound to Western capitalist domination and the politics of industrialized work. As Daggett shows, thermodynamics was deployed as an imperial science to govern fossil fuel use, labor, and colonial expansion, in part through a hierarchical ordering of humans and nonhumans. By systematically excavating the historical connection between energy and work, Daggett 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. Substituting one source of energy for another will not ensure a habitable planet; rather, the concepts of energy and work themselves must be decoupled.



Introduction. Putting the World to Work


Part I. The Birth of Energy

Chapter 1. The Novelty of Energy

Chapter 2. A Steampunk Production

Chapter 3. A Geo-Theology of Energy

Chapter 4. Work Becomes Energetic


Part II. Energy, Race, and Empire

Chapter 5. Energopolitics

Chapter 6. The Imperial Organism at Work

Chapter 7. Education for Empire


Conclusion. A Post-Work Energy Politics




About the Author:

Cara New Daggett is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Virginia Tech.

Target Audience:

People interested in environment studies, political science & geneology of energy.


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