Gretchen Anna Bakke

Visiting Scholar (Jun 2019-Jun 2023)

Gretchen Bakke holds a PhD from the University of Chicago in Cultural Anthropology. Her work focuses on the chaos and creativity that emerge during social, cultural, and technological transitions. After a decade of researching and writing about the energy transition in the United States, she is currently conducting research for a cultural history of the end of fossil fuels. Bakke is a former fellow in Wesleyan University’s Science in Society Program, a former Fulbright fellow, and is currently visiting Research at Humboldt University, Berlin and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam. Edited volumes (together with Marina Peterson) include Between Matter and Method: Encounters in Anthropology and Art (2017) and Anthropology and the Arts: A Reader (2017). Her ebullient ethnography The Likeness: Semblance and Self in Slovene Society was published on University of California Press in 2020. Her first monograph The Grid was selected by Bill Gates as one of his top five reads of 2016. Born in Portland, Oregon, Bakke lives in Berlin.


A Cultural History of the End of Fossil Fuels


Epistemic Configurations: The Formation of Anthropocene Knowledge


IV. Anthropocene Formations


Material Practices: The Anthropocene Earth in Formation


No projects were found for this scholar.

Selected Publications

Bakke, Gretchen Anna (2022). “When Utility Providers Fall Short. Review of: Blunt, Katherine: California Burning: The Fall of Pacific Gas & Electric — And What It Means for America’s Power Grid. New York: Penguin 2022.” Science 377 (6609): 933…

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Bakke, Gretchen Anna (2021). “Pivoting Toward Energy Transition 2.0: Learning from Electricity.” In Research Handbook on Energy and Society: Elgar Handbooks in Energy, the Environment and Climate Change, ed. J. Webb, F. Wade, and M. Tingey, 97–110…

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Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

"Small things Forgotten (about the history and future of electrical outlets)"

Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)/Institute of Design (ID), Lucas J. Daniel Lecture in Sustainable Systems
"Ethical Writing for Qualitative Social Scientists"

Graduate School Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Zürich

"What does Anthropology have to Offer the Anthropocene (and Vice-Versa)"

Institute of European Ethnology, Humboldt University, Berlin

“Fixing the Grid: Our Relationship with Electricity”

Podcast: How do We Fix It?

“'The Grid' Author On How Texas Crisis Highlights A Fragile U.S. Infrastructure”

NPR All Things Considered

Nachrichten & Presse

Gretchen Bakke spricht in Bloomberg Quicktake über Energieversorgung und das "Supergrid"


Visiting Scholar Gretchen Anna Bakke zum Thema erneuerbare Energien im How to Save a Planet-Podcast


MPIWG-Gastwissenschaftlerin Gretchen Anna Bakke in der Washington Post über den Stromausfall in Texas